"Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner has signed a deal that will keep him with the show for the next two seasons and likely a third one as well, according to numerous media accounts.
One of the issues Weiner was fighting was keeping the episodes at 47 minutes in length. For all intents and purposes he lost that battle. While he can shoot future episodes to the 47-minute length, they will not be seen on AMC at that length. Except for the premiere and final episode of each season, all episodes on AMC will run 45 minutes. The extra two minutes will be filled with additional commercials. The longer episodes will be available on the DVDs of the show, iTunes and other auxiliary markets.
Weiner did win his battle to keep all his cast members as long as he wants to during the next two seasons at least.
According to Nellie Andreeva’s account of the new Weiner contract at Deadline.com, "The only thing Weiner and AMC couldn’t agree on was the return date for ‘Mad Men.’ Weiner had insisted on a 2011 Season 5 premiere but he said AMC had informed him back in October that, because they have 4 series to accommodate, no premiere before March 2012 would be possible."
The article continues, "While the pickup of ‘Mad Men’ is for 2 more seasons, Weiner’s 3-year deal with Lionsgate makes that essentially a 3-year renewal. ‘These will be the last 3 seasons’ of the period drama, Weiner said. ‘I’m going to take it one year at a time without the distraction to ever have to go through this again,’ he added, referring to the long, tense renegotiations. ‘I’m incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support and overwhelmed that I get to finish telling the stories I want to tell.’ "
A number of the reports said Weiner’s contract calls for him to be paid $10 million per year.