“Mad Men” won’t be taking everyone along for the ride as the show heads into its fourth season.
Bryan Batt, who played Sterling Cooper art director Salvatore Romano on AMC’s Emmy-winning series, apparently won’t be returning as a regular for season 4. He was AWOL from the final episodes of last season as well, after Sal rebuffed the advances of a big client, who then demanded he be fired.
“I was supposed to be notified by December 31” — the date his contract expired — “and nothing,” Batt tells TV Guide. He also told GQ, though, that if he did get the call to return to the show, “I’m dropping everything.” (An AMC rep couldn’t be reached for comment.)
Batt had artfully and sometimes heartbreakingly portrayed the struggles of a closeted gay man in the early 1960s, and “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner says Sal’s departure “was a tough moment for the show.”
“But that’s where we are,” Weiner tells the magazine. “I know how people felt about Bryan. I obviously love working with him, and he has been an indelible character since the pilot. But I felt it was an expression of the times that he couldn’t work there anymore. It’s the ultimate case of sexual harassment.”
Fans of Batt and his character have taken up his cause, creating a “Bring Sal Back” Facebook group. It’s attracted more than 1,000 fans in its first couple days of existence.
“Mad Men” is set to begin filming its fourth season in March and will be back on the air in late summer.
Photo credit: AMC