MONDAY 12:30PM UPDATE : I’ve learned that writer’s assistant-turned-staff writer, Robin Veith, quit Mad Men before she could be let go by Matthew Weiner.
A source tells me: “It was at the very worst mutual. She needed to move on and see how she would do after leaving the nest. Matt is a genius, and he gave lots of people an opportunity, but never let’s anyone forget it. I’m sure he’d never tell anyone she quit, because that is a rejection of him. Anyway, they are friends and made a mutual decision.”
A show insider replies, “There are staffing changes every season. It is the nature of television shows to fine tune. Why is it news this season?” Because the show won two best drama Emmy’s in a row, and with success comes attention. Deal with it.
UPDATE: A prominent female writer (she asked not to be identified) knows both Kater Gordon and Matthew Weiner and sets the record straight for me: “As a female writer who has worked with many strong showrunners, I have to say that any ‘Letterman’ talk on today’s thread about Kater Gordon really disgusts me. The same kind of talk followed me and my success. So you see, you can’t win. If you’re young and female, you’ll always be suspect. Success or failure, it can’t be because you’ve actually got the goods. I feel compelled to come to both Kater and Matt’s defense on this one. Kater was a fantastic writer’s assistant, the best. She totally got the show and deserved the break she got. There was NOTHING illicit in her relationship with Matt. I believe Kater will go on to great success, if she so desires, and their parting of the ways was amicable.”
EXCLUSIVE: Well, this is a big surprise. As recently as September 20th, Kater Gordon won the drama-writing Emmy with Matthew Weiner for the Mad Men episode “Meditations In An Emergency”. Now that Season 3 has wrapped, Gordon is off the Lionsgate show that airs on AMC. Here’s what I’ve learned: Matt originally hired Kater as his personal assistant. She was soon promoted to be his writer’s assistant, and by the end of that same season, Matt offered her the opportunity to co-write the season finale — a particularly important show for him as Weiner also directs the final episode of each season. Then, without requiring Kater to generate any other spec material on her own (usually required for a writer’s advancement), Matt promoted her to be a full-time staff writer for this past season. (Mad Men has a predominantly female writing staff…)
So what happened? A show insider emails me this explanation: “One of the great things about Mad Men is the tradition that Matt has established of offering higher-level opportunities to staff, writers and artists in all of the various departments. From the beginning, Matt has fought to get people approved by the studio which almost always lobbied for him to hire more experienced people instead. In every season thus far, relatively new actors have been cast for significant roles, aspiring writers have been given opportunities to write scripts, and first-time directors have been offered their first chance to direct.
“We think [Kater’s] done a great job, particularly for someone whose career has progressed so quickly. Now, however, Matt has reluctantly decided that their relationship has reached its full potential. She’ll be missed, but the series has consistently benefited from the influx of new writer talent, and there’s absolutely no doubt that Kater will continue to have unprecedented success in her career as she spreads her wings. She leaves Mad Men with our love and respect and a well-deserved Emmy.”