So just the other day I was feeling reassured that Mad Men season 3 would continue on smoothly as I read Alan Sepinwall's interview with Matthew Weiner. I had such a confident feeling about what greatness is still to come. In the interview, the Mad Men mastermind discussed the negotiations for him to stay on as showrunner for the third season and said,"There's no crisis. I have every intention of being part of this show forever. I love doing it and I love the experience and I love working with everybody I work with." But according to Deadline Hollywood Daily, someone over at Lionsgate didn't get that message apparently. So much for all my warm fuzzy misguided feelings of contentment.
Despite the recent Emmy win, the critical buzz and the strong uptick in ratings for the finale (not to mention the surge in popularity of the show's star Jon Hamm, who just charmed the pants off of many a non-fan this past weekend on SNL) the studio is considering replacing Weiner. They think he wants too much money and instead of sitting down to hammer it out in a calm, sensible way, they've started scouting out other people who can replace him -- including checking one Mr. Aaron Sorkin. If they were paying attention to the trades, they'd know that he's busy working on a Facebook movie.
I just can't see Sorkin (though fabulous in his own way) or any one else stepping in to Weiner's shoes. This show has such a slow and purposeful tone to it, and it is so distinctive, so subtle and so detailed. You need the man who had this vision in the first place to see it out. Can you see Sorkin taking it over? Suddenly Peggy and Don would be having walk-and-talks through the hallways of Sterling Cooper and uttering more dialogue in a three-minute scene than during two entire seasons. My head is just spinning at the possibility.
Sure, I get that Weiner wants money, times are tough, ratings are small and Lionsgate can't justify shelling out that much cash, but there's got to be some middle ground here that doesn't involve ruining what makes the show so good in the first place. Who cares if Lionsgate has an order from AMC for the next two seasons? If someone else is in charge and completely changes the unique direction and style of the show, it will lose the limited viewers that they have now. Not to mention all the lingering questions I need answered. If things go poorly and there's a fallout, would Weiner share his outline for the future of these characters with the person stepping in to his shoes? I know I wouldn't.
Which just makes me so very angry, because I love this show. I want to see how it unfolds. I've got bad Deadwood vibes all over again. I don't understand these corporate people who make deals that don't take into consideration at all the people who are devoted to watching their programming.
Your thoughts? Does having Weiner back actually matter? Could the show run smoothly without him? Let us know.
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