Last week, it seemed like the endless Mad Men contract talks were close to being done, if not in time to get the fifth season ready to air this summer. This morning, things are not looking so cheerful! Both Deadline and The Daily are reporting that the talks have stalled over a couple of issues. According to Deadline, AMC and Matt Weiner are haggling about product integration, cutting two minutes from Mad Men's run time to air more commercials, and the real doozy: "eliminating/reducing two regular cast members to save money." Obviously, there is a big difference between "eliminating" and "reducing," so we're trying not to get panicky thinking about being without Joan Holloway. Mad Men has a fairly big cast, and if we only saw Ken Cosgrove for eight of twelve episodes, we could probably live with that (we might not even notice). But anything more drastic than that — let alone elimination — would dramatically affect the show and Weiner's vision for it. On the very tiny bright side, it would be interesting to watch the first-ever "save our character" campaign go down: Who's down to start sending copies of The Atlantic to AMC if Cosgrove's job really is in jeopardy? UPDATE: AMC has officially greenlit the fifth season Mad Men even though they don't yet have a deal with Weiner. AMC says the show will air in early 2012. More here. [Deadline]
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