Jon Hamm, without whom "Mad Men" would be "M** M*n," finally got his bacon for a third year on the series. Which means: He won't somehow, oddly, be leaving at the end of two seasons from now which was a distinct possibility. Showrunner and creator Matthew Weiner finally got his three-year contract in order in late winter, which is the reason "Mad Men" probably won't be on the air again until spring 2012.
So with Hamm, the key cast-member now in line, there will almost certainly -- word used advisedly -- no more delays in cable's most prestigious program going forward. If AMC is happy with the 2012 numbers, then the season following that will be early 2013, and "Mad Men" will wrap for good in 2014. (Weiner has confirmed that the series will go no longer than seven seasons.)
Hamm had earlier signed for two more years, but per trade reports, further detailed in "Deadline," he renegotiated salary on those two years as a condition of getting the third.
There is no exact word on how much Hamm signed for although "Deadline" says "eight figures." That could of course mean anything, but a likely figure is probably around $1.2 million to $3 million per episode. AMC will likely lose money on this, at least in the first run and not counting revenue from the future DVD window, but Hamm's deal will likely carve out a piece of that, too.