mattweinerCount Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan among the long list of people who believe that this is a golden age for television. “If Dickens were alive today he’d probably be a showrunner,” the AMC chief said in a panel at The Cable Show. Weiner credits HBO’s The Sopranos, where he was a writer, for helping to establish television as a home for art as well as commerce. “There’s not one thing [in the show] that would pass a focus group, and it’s a billion dollar business.” That helped to interest AMC in Weiner’s Mad Men. “The word ‘Sopranos‘ was bigger on our first poster than anything else,” he says. Weiner wrote the pilot 14 years ago and the experience since then “has been life altering in every way….I got to grow up as [lead character Don Draper] has grown up.” Weiner praised AMC for taking a risk on his show, and others. “Breaking Bad and Mad Men have nothing in common. Why are they doing them? Because they’re both good. That’s an interesting strategy.”