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'Mad Men' to air final season over two years

Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Stanton), Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser)

Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Stanton), Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) and Trudy Campbell (Alison Brie) in "Mad Men" Season 5. Credit: AMC

"Mad Men" is making like a banana split -- the final season will be cut down the middle, with seven episodes airing next year and seven in 2015.

Don't be sad, fans. It'll just take a little longer to watch those Draper sideburns grow out.

AMC has even tagged both seasons with names. The seven airing in spring of 2014 are “The Beginning” and the final seven, “The End of an Era,” are airing in the spring of 2015.

“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,” said Matthew Weiner, creator and executive producer of "Mad Men." “The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”

Clearly, fans will be of two minds on this move as well. One mind: Oh, great! "Men" will be around a lot longer! Second mind: Damn, we're going to have to wait a year to find out how all this wraps!

I suspect the second mind is getting a louder airing right about now, even though this split season strategy is the way of the world in cable these days. "The Walking Dead" is routinely split in half now, same with "Breaking Bad." It doesn't hurt the show -- just the fan who is for, all good reason, anxious to get on with it.  Plus there's a silver lining here -- the final season was expanded to 14 episodes, representing (I believe) a boost of two episodes.  

But still, a long time to wait.

The AMC excuse, err statement: “This approach has worked well for many programs across multiple networks, and, most recently for us with 'Breaking Bad' which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second-half premiere than had watched any previous episode,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “We are determined to bring 'Mad Men' a similar showcase. In an era where high-end content is savored and analyzed, and catch-up time is used well to drive back to live events, we believe this is the best way to release the now 14 episodes that remain of this iconic series.”

"Mad Men" fans, weigh in: Are you happy the final season will be split in half? Or is it a bad idea? Tell us in the poll and comments below.

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