Many have long talked about the impending turning point for AMC with two of its three flagship series—Breaking Bad and Mad Men—coming to a close by 2014, but now the network is implementing a plan that will keep one of them on the air for an extra year. The upcoming seventh and final season of Mad Men will be split into two halves of seven episodes each, airing in 2014 and 2015. The network already made a similar move with Breaking Bad, as the fifth and final season of Vince Gilligan’s stellar series was split into two halves as well (airing in 2012 and 2013). The first half of Mad Men’s season five will be dubbed “The Beginning” and will air in spring 2014, and the second half of the season will be titled “The End of an Era” and is slated to air in spring 2015.
Hit the jump for more, including showrunner/creator Matthew Weiner’s thoughts on the move.
Speaking with the LA Times, Matthew Weiner seemed enthusiastic about the dual approach to ending his critical favorite series:
“We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience,” he said. “The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”
Despite Weiner’s optimism about the split, this really just smells like AMC trying to squeeze even more ad revenue out of Mad Men and delaying its need to develop new, strong original content. Season five will have a total of 14 episodes, which is only one more than each of the previous seasons had; splitting the 14 in half just seems wholly unnecessary.
There are only two episodes of Breaking Bad left before that series ends and AMC recently canceled (for the second time) the ratings-troubled drama series The Killing after three seasons, so clearly the network is looking for ways to stay relevant after its veteran shows conclude. It is already developing spinoff series for both Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and obviously TWD still stands as the highest rated series on cable TV, but keeping Mad Men on the air for one more year gives AMC a bit more wiggle room to build a more stable slate. Low Winter Sun sure as hell isn’t catching on.
What do you think, Mad Men fans? Are you fine with splitting the final season of the series into two or would you rather have on cohesive story told straight through? Sound off in the comments below.