Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Two weeks before the premiere of Mad Men’s delayed fifth season, series creator Matthew Weiner is already looking ahead to the series’ seventh and likely final season. “I think the plan is for (Mad Men to run for) seven years,” Weiner said tonight at a PaleyFest panel. “Seven years sounds like the right amount…My whole thing is, I don’t want to overstay our welcome. And it’s really hard.” Weiner used his experience working on HBO’s acclaimed series The Sopranos as an example of what he doesn’t want to happen on Mad Men. “I was with The Sopranos the last three seasons of the show, and what happens is you just start running into the places where you’ve been over and over again and it just becomes impossible,” he said. While he confessed that he hasn’t mapped out the remaining seasons of the show because he isn’t sure what they will be about, Weiner confirmed that he knows “exactly how everything’s going to end.” He didn’t elaborate but had been quoted previously saying that he wants to wrap the series in present day with Don Draper as an old man.
The PaleyFest event featured a healthy collection of Mad Men cast members, headed by star Jon Hamm and also including January Jones, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Robert Morse and others, who became the object of jabs by Weiner. (Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks were unable to attend.) While complimenting them, singling out Hamm’s work for praise, Weiner quipped, “I mean, acting, it’s not the hardest job in the world. It’s not writing.” He also denied that financial considerations play a role in the dismissal of cast members. Noted Weiner, in jest (sort of): “I’ve never made a decision about someone being in the show based on money. It’s always based on the fact I’m tired of them and I don’t like them.”