‘Mad Men’s’ Season 7 Big Hollywood Premiere Buzz: How Does It All End? Why Can’t The Cast Win At Emmys? And Why Does Matt Weiner Welcome HBO’s ‘True Detective’ To Drama Series Race?
AMC threw a Hollywood premiere Wednesday night to kick off what was termed “the beginning of the end.” AMC president Charlie Collier, Mad Men creator Matt Weiner and cast and crew were at the Arclight Theatre for the “Time Zones” episode that begins the first half of Season 7 premiering April 13th. The season marks the final go-round of the landmark four-time Emmy-winning Best Drama Series. The protracted goodbye will be split between seven episodes this spring and the final final episodes in spring 2015.
It was all very bittersweet last night as production actually was just beginning on those even as the premiere was kicking off. In fact, executive producer Scott Hornbacher, who directed the “Time Zones” episode, was late to this party as he is also directing the first of those backend episodes. He told me later at the Chateau Marmont afterparty that it’s going to be tough to end it, pointing to several people in the room he described as “family,” people he saw every day. That was the general consensus I got from so many cast members and AMC execs who have been with this since Day 1. One exec told me he was 24 when he first saw the pilot script. He’s 35 now. Life goes on. And so does Mad Men – at least to the conclusion for this iconic group of characters. CAA’s Bryan Lourd was seated next to me (he reps Weiner) and told me he wouldn’t have missed this event — even though CAA is having its retreat this weekend at La Costa near San Diego and he had to postpone a run-thru there to 11 PM so he could make it down the 405 freeway after the screening.
SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of last night’s Season 4 finale of The Walking Dead.
Don’t let anyone tell you that AMC’s The Walking Dead doesn’t pack a hell of a lot more than zombies into the series — as last night’s bloody and emotionally charged Season 4 finale proved. Besides the ever-present undead, the fourth season saw a big change in leadership among Sheriff Rick Grimes and the survivors, the outbreak of a raging influenza virus in their converted prison home, the exile of one major character, the graphic decapitation of another, the death of a major foe, some revealing backstories, and the scattering of the remaining members of the series in search of a new home and new hope. It also saw Walking Dead shattering cable ratings records again, and a couple of times it beat the usually unbeatable Sunday Night Football on NBC and topped that network’s Winter Olympics coverage three weeks in a row in the key adults 18-49 demo. There’s a good chance that when last night’s ratings come in later today, we’ll see another record. Walking Dead executive producer Scott Gimple, who just completed his first full season as showrunner, talked with me about last night’s finale as well as what fans can expect in Season 5 this fall and some changes behind the scenes.
AMC’s new Revolutionary War drama series Turn received a glowing presidential endorsement tonight as former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and his wife former first lady Barbara Bush hosted a private Houston, TX screening of the new show with the cast, executive producers Barry Josephson and Craig Silverstein and several AMC executives including president and general manager Charlie Collier in attendance. Turn, which debuts on Sunday, April 6 at 9pm ET, follows the story of Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a Long Island farmer who is integral in the creation of a spy ring that assists George Washington during the Revolutionary War. As the former head of the CIA, Bush was elated with Turn, exclaiming to the audience after the screening, “AMC put together a brilliant show, a fantastic cast, there’s one problem however, and that’s waiting till the next episode.”
AMC Greenlights First Comedy Pilot, Sets Projects From Chris Carter, Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg And Kevin Smith, Adds Dave Erickson To ‘The Walking Dead’ Spinoff
As part of its upfront, AMC as usual is making a slew of programming announcements. They include an increased focus on comedy development, including a first pilot green light to a half-hour project, We Hate Paul Revere, written, executive produced and starring Ethan Sandler and Adrian Wenner, and several comedy projects in development including one from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (This is the End) and half-hours toplined/written by John Leguizamo and Wyatt Cenac. On the drama side, AMC’s development slate includes projects from Chris Carter, Amy Lippman and Josh Applebaum, André Nemec, Scott Rosenberg & Jeff Pinkner and producer Aaron Kaplan.
AMC also announced the renewal of Kevin Smith’s unscripted series Comic Book Men for a fourth season.The network is expanding its relationship with Smith to include the development of a late-night project, Hollywood Babble-On, starring Smith and his co-host of their popular podcast, Ralph Garman, to be produced by Wilshire Studios and executive produced by Smith, Ralph Garman and Gary Auerbach. Additionally, AMC is also working with Smith on the development of a docu-series featuring super-collector and Comic Book Men regular Robert Bruce. Produced by Original Media and Smith’s Smodcast Pictures, and exec produced by Dan Laikind, Charlie Corwin, Elyse Seiden and Smith, Bruce and his fellow experts scour the country searching real estate sales, auction houses and flea markets on a quest to find rare items that will feed the needs of his demanding clients and add to Bruce’s own colossal collection.
AMC also has made an overall deal with Dave Erickson (Sons Of Anarchy), who will co-write, along with Robert Kirkman, and serve as an executive producer on the unnamed The Walking Dead companion series. “AMC is introducing more hours of original programming and the most robust, diverse development slate in our network’s history,” said AMC president Charlie Collier. Unwavering is our commitment to the eclectic, quality dramatic series that have come to define our brand and to the unconventional unscripted worlds we love to explore. And today we also happily dive head-first into our first-ever scripted comedy pilot.” Here is AMC’s full slate, which includes drama, comedy and unscripted projects as well as two books optioned for series:
EXCLUSIVE: After establishing footprint in drama and reality programming, AMC is focusing on expanding into comedy next. The network’s upfront slate, which will be announced later today, is expected to feature a number of half-hour projects, including two starring, written and executive produced by John Leguizamo and former The Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac.
Drawing inspiration from Leguizamo’s real-life three best friends, the untitled John Leguizamo project follows a group of men in Queens, The Bronx and upper Manhattan wrestling with careers, relationships, family, ambition, and getting older. In addition to starring, Leguizamo is co-writing the script with Sal Stabile (Revenge). The two executive produce with Jeff Golenberg and Sam Maydew of Silver Lining Entertainment, which reps Leguizamo alongside UTA and Sloane, Offer. Recently seen in Ride Along, Leguizamo is attached to play Pablo Escobar in the Relativity feature and has his 5th HBO special, Ghetto Klown, coming up.
PaleyFest: ‘Mad Men’ Cast Muses About Season 6, Wonders About Season 7 And Bemoans The Inevitable End
It was quite clear heading into Friday night’s Mad Men panel at the PaleyFest that the audience would come away knowing more about Star Wars: Episode VII than Mad Men Season 7. Star Wars wasn’t discussed, but in traditional fashion, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner not only revealed zero clues about the next season of the AMC series, which returns April 13, but he remained largely tight-lipped about his next act when the show concludes in 2015. “I love the audience not knowing how the new season is going to start,” Weiner told Deadline, “We ended [Season 6] in the fall of 1968, and we’ll begin right after that.” One reveal: “A week from today, we start shooting the final seven episodes,” star Jon Hamm during the Q&A, which followed a screening of Season 6 finale “In Care Of.” In that episode, Hamm’s complex protagonist, ad man Don Draper, suffers a layoff from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and divulges his past to his co-workers and children. “I don’t think any of us have any idea what the tone or look will be,” Hamm said of how the cast remains in the dark about the ultimate finale.
The seventh and final season of AMC’s Mad Men premieres April 13, and AMC has dropped a teaser today to whet the appetite. Remember, the seventh-season order has been upped from 13 to 14 episodes — seven to air in spring (“The Beginning”) and the final seven (“The End …
Next Games and AMC today said the Finnish games company is in production of a mobile game based on The Walking Dead. The game’s worldwide launch will coincide with the Season 5 launch of the series that, for a second year, is No. 1-ranked in the demo in the U.S. “We chose to team up with Next Games because of their outstanding creative and technical talent, as well as a willingness to re-imagine the unique and compelling world of The Walking Dead, which has built a significant and passionate global fan community,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president.