With the Lionsgate TV series Mad Men set to make its Season 3 bow in August on AMC, I’m told there’s a big fight leading up to the premiere over, of all things, ads. AMC has told the show’s producers to make allowances for another commercial break each hour — so that’ll be two minutes less of actual programming. That might not sound like such a big deal, but it’s galling given how well the show has done, how carefully it’s put together, and how much money it’s already making AMC and parent company Cablevision which recently announced a $20M 1st-quarter profit, while subsidiary Rainbow Media cited a 7.6% increase in ad sales. Naturally, the suits are blaming the bad economy and saying the show simply doesn’t bring in enough revenue. Producers are raising a big stink, but it looks like AMC isn’t budging. At a time when networks are cutting back on commercial breaks, you’ve got to wonder why AMC is screwing its golden goose. How can Mad Men compete with premium cable when basic cable is squeezing it for every penny?
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