UPDATED WITH QUOTES
EXCLUSIVE: Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is returning to television with a high-profile new series. After heated bidding between six entities, we have learned that the project has landed at The Weinstein Company and Amazon to air on the streaming service, in a $70 million commitment for eight-episode straight-to-series order. Series will be co-financed by TWC and Amazon.
All parties just confirmed the deal to Deadline. Said Weiner: “In a time when there are so many options for entertainment, it’s been tremendous to see how Roy Price and Amazon have taken center stage by distinguishing themselves through bold choices. I am truly excited to have this opportunity to work with risk takers like them and Harvey and The Weinstein Company who have a proven, longstanding commitment to creative voices and innovation.”
After re-creating the 1960s in his iconic AMC series Mad Men, Weiner is turning his attention to present day with the untitled series, which we hear is contemporary anthology set in multiple locations worldwide. Weiner is creating, writing and executive producing. He also is expected to direct about half the episodes in the first season, we hear.
There has been a lot of interest in what Weiner would do in TV as a follow-up to Mad Men, one of the most acclaimed series in history with four consecutive Emmy wins for best drama series. The show helped put AMC on the original series map and became a pop culture phenomenon. Amazon no doubt is hoping to conjure some of that with Weiner’s new project. While it has produced two critically praised comedy series in Transparent and Mozart In The Jungle, the streaming service is still looking for a big drama awards contender. (It also has high hopes for the newly launched series Goliath by another Emmy winner, David E. Kelley.)
After a start in sitcoms, Weiner made his mark on HBO’s mob drama The Sopranos where he became a key writer, rising to executive producer and sharing in the series’ two best drama Emmy Awards. HBO (and a host of other networks) famously passed on his Mad Men before the period ad-agency drama found its way to AMC, then known mostly for its repeats of movie Westerns. Weiner has won a total of nine Emmys to date, 2 for The Sopranos and 7 for Mad Men.
Amazon Studios led the charge and brought on The Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein and president/COO David Glasser. For TWC, it’s a further step in establishing its presence in event television. TWC has upcoming Navy SEAL drama series Six on History, the sniper miniseries The Reaper at NBC and its Waco series, about the 1993 Branch Davidian siege, which just landed at Spike TV. Additionally, the company behind the venerable Project Runway reality franchise, has a deal with Elvis Presley estate for a series that has authorization to shoot at Graceland. Also in the works are a series adaptation of Mario Puzo’s Omerta, with Antoine Fuqua and Sylvester Stallone; and an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Breathing Method with Blumhouse, Scott Teems and Scott Derrickson.
Said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein: “We are thrilled to be working with Matthew Weiner on his new project. He is an incredible storyteller whose work on Mad Men elevated television and kick started a new era of innovative programming with compelling and addicting television content. We’re looking forward to creating the next big series with him.”
TWC’s Glasser said the company was “incredibly excited to work with Roy Price and the entire team at Amazon again. Having worked with them on Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne it is clear that they share our passion and commitment to creating revolutionary television and we could not ask for a better partner or platform for this project.
Upcoming from Weiner is the release of his debut novel, dark contemporary fable Heather, The Totality, which will be published in the fall of 2017 by Little, Brown and Company.
Weiner’s deal for the new series was negotiated by CAA and attorney Jeanne Newman.