By Jeanine Poggi
AMC is milking "Mad Men" for all it’s got. The cable channel announced on Tuesday that the seventh and final season of the series will run in two parts over two years.
The first half of the final 14 episodes will air in spring 2014, followed by the second half in spring 2015.
AMC took the same approach with "Breaking Bad," which began the first half of its fifth and final season in July 2012, took a lengthy break and returned for the last eight episodes this August.
The real, final last episodes of "Breaking Bad" this year have been attracting nearly double the number of viewers than had watched any other episode. Sunday’s episode drew 6.4 million viewers, making it the series’ most watched episode.
"We are determined to bring Mad Men a similar showcase," said Charlie Collier, AMC president, in a statement. "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 than remain of this iconic series."
Netflix, which releases full seasons of shows like "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" all at once, argues that the era calls for total consumer control and the ability to "binge watch" if they want. Fans of "Breaking Bad" have previously argued that they didn’t deserve to be strung along with a long gap in the middle of the climactic season.
But AMC has been looking for its next breakout show as several other series wrap up. With "Breaking Bad" ending in two weeks, "Hell on Wheels" moved to Saturday nights and "The Killing" killed off, the network is in need of its next generation of original series.
AMC’s new series this summer, "Low Winter Sun," underwhelmed in ratings. The network recently greenlit two new dramas for 2014, "Halt & Catch Fire" and "Turn."
AMC said this week that it will extend both "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad." "The Walking Dead" is getting a spinoff in 2015, while "Breaking Bad" is getting a prequel series tentatively titled "Better Call Saul."