We noted yesterday that even though the second season of Lionsgate’s critically acclaimed, award-winning series Mad Men ended on Sunday, creator and exec producer Matthew Weiner still isn’t locked in for a third season. Now, Nikki Finke is hearing rumours that Lionsgate is looking for a new man to run production on Mad Men because Weiner’s agents are asking for too much money.
Deadline Hollywood Daily: Lionsgate execs are calling Hollywood agencies looking for a showrunner to replace Matthew Weiner, the brilliant creator of Mad Men. The reason is that they think Weiner’s agents at CAA are asking for too much money for him. I hear CAA wants a multi-year deal that pays Weiner $10 million a year. Plus he wants control over promotion and advertising. Now that’s consistent with a big hit on pay cable and what Darren Star or David Chase made on HBO. But it’s way, way rich for a Lionsgate show on AMC, and execs are telling CAA it can’t pay that.
“The ‘ask’ was insanity,” one insider tells me. “It’s preposterous. AMC is a basic cable network. The economics don’t support this. It’s why Lionsgate is throwing their arms up in the air. And, remember, they got a two-year pickup for the show with or without Matt Weiner.”
Ah, the pitfalls of making a pay-TV calibre show—and coming from a pay-TV background (Weiner used to work on The Sopranos)—on basic cable.
Lionsgate, for its part, claims that it’s still hashing things out with Weiner.
When I asked a Lionsgate source about this situation, I was told, “We’re negotiating with Matthew Weiner. But we want him back…”
Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly did a bit of digging and confirmed that other talent agencies had in fact fielded calls from Lionsgate about potential showrunners to replace Matthew Weiner, if the studio fails to reach a deal with him.
EW: Sources at several talent agencies have confirmed that they have received calls from Lionsgate, inquiring about the availability of other showrunners should the studio fail to reach an agreement with Weiner. His pact expired at the end of Mad Men‘s second season, on Oct. 26. AMC has already exercised its option to order a third season of Mad Men, which attracted 1.75 million viewers for its second-season finale — a sizable leap from its season 1 ender (926,000). Even before he took home the gold for Mad Men in September, Weiner had reportedly met with several other studios to explore his options outside of Lionsgate. In fact, one studio source told EW.com that Weiner is seeking a $2 million-per-year development pact — though this same source was hesitant about even considering the deal because “[Weiner] will never leave Mad Men.
Before, we pleaded with Lionsgate to give Weiner whatever he wanted, but we think the problem here might be AMC. Frankly, we don’t know enough about the cable TV business to assess whether AMC can afford $10 million a year, but with Mad Men‘s growing ratings, we think they can probably give him at least a bit of a raise.
And if AMC is keeping Weiner away, Lionsgate, may we suggest pulling a Harvey Weinstein and taking the show to another network?
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