jon hamm john slattery mad men s4 'Mad Men' deal is close, but the show's return probably isn't“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, producer Lionsgate and AMC are reportedly close to signing a deal that would give the official go to Season 5 of the show. When Season 5 would air, though? Anyone’s guess.

According to Deadline and Variety, Weiner, the studio and the network are coming to terms on an agreement that would keep Weiner at the helm of the show for the coming season and a sixth year as well. The fact that negotiations have been going until this point, however, makes it less likely that “Mad Men” will have its usual late-summer premiere.

For one thing, once a deal is done, it will take a little while for Weiner, his fellow writers and the show’s crew to get up and running. The bigger question, though, may have to do with AMC’s schedule.

“Breaking Bad,” which has aired in the spring and early summer the past two seasons, is starting in June this year (which made room for AMC’s new series “The Killing,” which debuts April 3). “The Walking Dead” will be back in late October, which means that the Sunday-at-10 spot that AMC has used for most of its original series is locked up for most of the rest of the year.

Assuming “Mad Men” gets rolling in the next month to six weeks, there could be a window in between the end of “Breaking Bad” and the premiere of “The Walking Dead” to launch the show, but that would also A) put the show’s premiere right around the crush of premieres on the broadcast networks and B) create a potentially odd pairing of “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead” later in the fall. Another option would be to push the Season 5 premiere to early 2012, which would keep the show’s Emmy eligibility intact and give AMC longer to promote the return.

Those details will be hammered out in the coming weeks. We’re mostly just glad to hear that a deal is getting done.

Posted by:Rick Porter