“One of my great frustrations is that they haven’t been recognized more,” said Matthew Weiner, speaking during a question-and-answer session organized by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “None of these actors has ever won an Emmy and they are the gold standard.”
Weiner has been named the 2014 recipient of the International Emmy Founders Award.
“I still feel like their contribution has been unrecognized,” he added.
Weiner said his cast – largely unknown when “Mad Men” first appeared in July of 2007 – “kind of did it on their own.” He cited the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” as a model for his ad-world drama, noting that “Brothers” did not make use of a marquee star and yet still managed to be successful at home and in international markets.
When he was out pitching “Mad Men” to networks and studios, “there was a feeling no one outside the U.S. would be interested in it,” which he called a “real stumbling block,” But “Band of Brothers” demonstrated interest in a period piece without breakout stars, he said.
Weiner said interest in “Mad Men” isn’t necessarily fueled by the fact the series takes place in the milieu of the advertising industry, but rather in the plots about “regular people in a historical situation.” Viewers get to learn about “how success works and what holds people together.”
True to form, the showrunner did not say much about how the series, scheduled to air one last cycle on AMC next year, will end. “It’s a TV show and it will be complete and it will be sad,” he noted.
Weiner has no immediate plans or projects but said he intends to find something new. “I will not stop working,” he said. “I’m just going to figure out what to do now.”