First, the good news! AMC said today that "Mad Men," the most celebrated drama on TV since "The Sopranos," will definitely be back, allaying any fears -- unfounded though they may have been -- that the fourth season would be its last.
Now, the bad: "Mad Men" won't be back on the air until next year. That's not a surprise either. Word of a 2012 launch began to make its way around during the winter TV Critic's Association tour. There were those omnipresent "contractual details" that had yet to be worked out, and they did in fact seem serious. Deadline.com reported this morning that a deal would be done, and that the creator Matthew Weiner would make $30 million over the next two seasons -- the 5th and 6th. But Lionsgate and AMC wanted something in return -- two additional commercial minutes per episode, and Weiner's assurance that he'd cut two key players. (AMC also wants deeper product placement -- not, I would imagine, too big of a deal since product placement has been on the show in recent seasons.) Weiner apparently said no to all three demands, which has pushed "Mad Men" to next year.
A big problem? Hard to see why -- except for the actors who probably expected to be back at work by now.