AMC likes Mad Men, viewers and critics like Mad Men, creator Matthew Weiner likes Mad Men—and yet somehow this mutual lovefest has not resulted in an official fifth season, with Weiner telling Entertainment Weekly that he’s yet to even begin working while contract details are still being hammered out between AMC and production company Lionsgate. Although network executives said earlier this month that the plan was to “definitely” bring the show back, Weiner says he still doesn’t have a deal yet, and furthermore has no idea when he will—although he insists that he’s not looking to move on, saying, “I have every intention of making the show when they decide to work out their business with Lionsgate. I can’t wait to come back to work. I have said over and over in public that I want the show to go on and on and on until it has worn out its welcome with viewers and we can’t think of anything more for the characters to do.”
The problem is, of course, money: “They are fighting over a very lucrative property, and who is going to pay for it to get made,” Weiner adds, whose contract is up for renegotiation. “It’s one of the biggest perils of success—everyone wants a piece of it now and they are fighting over who is gonna get the biggest chunk. Then they will come to me because talent is last. It would be heartbreaking for me if they don’t work it out, horrifying really. It would be a shame for fans to never get to see what great stuff we have planned for Don and company.” Indeed. Although we’re pretty sure that no one involved is going to let Mad Men slip away, as the negotiations drag on, it seems less and less likely that the show will return in 2011, and that fans of 1960s-era amorality may have to comfort themselves with knockoffs like Playboy and Magic City, or dive into the seedy world of Mad Men fan fiction (which exists).