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AMC and Lionsgate talking over new Mad Men deal

Mad Men premieres its fourth season this Sunday on AMC, but executives at AMC and Lionsgate (the producing studio) are looking towards the future.

A deal is already in place through season five but Variety reports that execs at the network and studio “are in the early stages of hammering out a deal to extend the contract through a sixth season, and possibly beyond.” More from Variety:

Of course, Lionsgate is looking to maximize the value of “Mad Men” in a new deal with AMC. The show that has claimed the drama series Emmy two years in a row transformed AMC into a player in original series programming. And by basic cable standards, the 1960s period drama is a high-end production with a budget estimated at around $2.5 million per seg, or more in some instances. AMC’s present per-seg license fee for “Mad” is pegged by industry sources at a little more than $2 million per episode.

It’s understood that Lionsgate has the ability to shop the show to other nets for its sixth season, though AMC has the right to match any competing offers. Sources emphasized that the intent on all sides is to work out a deal that keeps “Mad Men” on its original home.

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