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Lionsgate Searching for New Mad Men Showrunner?

It seems like a joke, no?  Why would Lionsgate be looking for a new showrunner on a series which just had its best ratings ever (while admittedly still low) and became the first basic cable show to ever win an emmy for best drama?  But, apparently that’s exactly what the studio is doing.  According to Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily, Lionsgate execs are calling around various Hollywood agencies looking for a showrunner to replace Mathew Weiner, the creator of AMC’s Mad Men.  The reasoning, according to Finke’s sources, is that they think Weiner’s agents are asking too much money for him.  CAA, the agency that represents Weiner, is reportedly asking for Weiner to be paid $10 million a year.  He also wants control over promotion and advertising.

While that type of money is common place for hit shows on premium cable, the economics almost never make sense to pay some one that much for a basic cable television show and Lionsgate is balking at the asking price.  From DHD:

“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.”

When asked by a Lionsgate source about this situation, Finke was told, “We’re negotiating with Matthew Weiner. But we want him back…”  If that’s the case, then it seems very odd for them to go out and look for a new showrunner just in case.

As I prefaced earlier, Mad Men just concluded its best season.  Sunday’s finale drew 1.75 million total viewers, an improvement of 89% over the first-season finale (926,000).  Compared to season one, season two saw an increase of 63% among total viewers (1.5 million vs. 925,000) as well as gains among the key demos adults 18-49 (+109%–705,000 vs. 338,000) and adults 25-54 (+81%–780,000 vs. 430,000).

Source: Deadline Hollywood Daily

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