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Comedies From Jenji Kohan, Gail Lerner Find Broadcast Homes

By | Monday October 31, 2011 @ 5:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

A comedy from Weeds creator/executive producer Jenji Kohan and the Showtime series’ writer David Holstein has been sold to CBS, while a half-hour from Happy Endings co-executive producer Gail Lerner and producer Warren Littlefield has landed at ABC.

The Kohan/Holstein project, which Holstein will write and Kohan will supervise, hails from Lionsgate TV, where Kohan is under an overall deal. It is described as “Sliding Doors meets Seinfeld.” Kohan and Holstein are with CAA.
Lerner’s project at ABC is based on Dr. Brandy Dunn and David Rensin’s upcoming memoir The Men On My Couch: True Stories Of Sex, Love and Psychotherapy. It centers on a young female therapist with an exclusively male client list who discovers that having too much information about what makes men tick can be complicated when she steps outside the office. Lerner, repped by Scott Schwartz, is writing and executive producing with Littlefield for ABC Studios. Lerner’s series credits also include Will & Grace, Worst Week, Back To You and Ugly Betty. The book and Littlefield are with CAA.

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Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ Series Sells To FX For Summer 2012 Premiere

By | Thursday October 27, 2011 @ 3:17pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ Wraps Series Of Pitch Meetings; Who’s Interested?

Charlie Sheen Anger Management FXCharlie Sheen’s new sitcom Anger Management has landed at FX with an initial order for 10 episodes for a summer 2012 launch. If successful, that will be followed by a 90-episode order by FX as well as broadcast syndication launch by distributor Debmar-Mercury in fall 2014. After a marathon of pitches to broadcast and cable networks earlier this month followed by a short window of intense negotiations, the direct-to-series project has found a home at the cable network that already carries reruns of Sheen’s previous series, Two And A Half Men, to great ratings success. The cable network also owns the TV rights to the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management — about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson) – on which the series is loosely based. Sheen plays a version of Nicholson’s character on the show, produced by Lionsgate TV and distributed by sibling Debmar-Mercury. Joe Roth, who produced the movie, is producing the series with Sheen, who retains a significant ownership stake, and The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford, who serves as writer/showrunner. Production is slated to begin in early 2012. Read More »

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Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ Wraps Series Of Pitch Meetings; Who’s Interested?

By | Tuesday October 18, 2011 @ 10:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: As the traditional broadcast pitch season is winding down, one of the most talked-about projects has hit the broadcast/cable marketplace. Star-producer Charlie Sheen has been out in full force pitching his new series Anger Management along with producer Lionsgate TV and distributor Debmar-Mercury over the past two weeks. There has been a healthy level of interest in the project, with a number of networks taking the pitch. I’ve learned that the list included broadcasters NBC, Fox and ABC as well as cable networks FX, USA Network, Comedy Central and TV Land and streaming company Netflix. I hear Sheen was present at all the meetings, which were held on both the East and West coasts. “It was a great pitch, very polished,” a person who has seen the presentation said, with Sheen described as “very buttoned up and passionate.” What is being pitched is a series version of the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson), with Sheen playing a version of Nicholson’s character and The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford writing/executive producing.

Word is cable networks FX, USA, Comedy Central or sibling TV Land are a possibility, along with Netflix. Getting meetings with broadcast networks was a coup for the producers, but they were always considered a long shot because of the type of deal Debmar-Mercury is seeking for the series: a trial 10-episode run that, if ratings guarantees are met, triggers a 90-episode pickup. (According to sources, the sizes of the orders in the two stages are not set in stone and Debmar-Mercury may be open to tweaking them, but the commitment is expected to remain very significant, especially for a broadcast network.) There had been talk about Fox possibly teaming with FX and NBC with sibling USA for such an arrangement, but that appears highly unlikely. The only pairing that seems possible is one between Comedy Central and TV Land, both part of MTV Networks Entertainment Group headed by Doug Herzog. Comedy Central, of course, has an in with Sheen as it did the Roast Of Charlie Sheen last month. Given its success, Comedy Central seems like a natural home for Anger Management — though, according to an industry source, Herzog had been joking privately that he wants the bad Charlie Sheen, not the nice one, a reference to Sheen’s recent image rehabilitation as he dropped the rants of warlocks and tiger blood, adopted a conciliatory tone towards his former employers at Two And A Half Men and settled his $100 million lawsuit against them. But while bad boy Charlie Sheen has entertainment value, even cleaned-up Charlie Sheen is probably difficult to insure, and the off-the-rails one last spring is certainly impossible to. Read More »

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Lionsgate TV Signs Three-Year Deal With Reality Producer Roy Bank

By | Thursday October 13, 2011 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

SANTA MONICA, CA, (October 13, 2011) – Continuing its expansion into non-scripted programming, LIONSGATE has entered into a three-year joint television venture with Banca Studio, the company recently formed by Roy Bank, an accomplished reality producer (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?) and former President of Television for Merv Griffin Entertainment.  As part of the launch of this new venture, Lionsgate has also made a deal with Merv Griffin Entertainment to purchase the slate of production and development originated under Bank’s recent tenure there, including this summer’s NBC game show Its Worth What?, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, Bloomberg Television’s The Mentor, and the upcoming Million Dollar Mind Game premiering October 23 on ABC. The announcement was made today by Lionsgate Television Group President Kevin Beggs.

Read More »

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Starz Renews New Series ‘Boss’ For Second Season Before Premiere

By | Tuesday September 27, 2011 @ 11:15am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Starz has ordered a second 10-episode season of upcoming drama Boss ahead of the series’ October 21 premiere. A couple of years ago, the network did the same with its flagship series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Boss, from Lionsgate TV, stars Kelsey Grammer as a ruthless Chicago mayor who has a secret that threatens to topple him. Boss was created by feature writer Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto), with Gus Van Sant making his TV debut directing the first episode. Production on Season 2 is slated to begin in early 2012. Starz originally picked up Boss straight-to-series by Starz last year. “The first time we read Farhad’s script, we knew we had to make Boss,” the pay cable network’s president and CEO Chris Albrecht said. “With each episode, the story grew richer, and the cast continues to turn in breakthrough performances.” There has been buzz about former Frasier star Grammer’s performance, which has been compared to those of other sitcom leading men who have transitioned to playing dark characters on cable dramas like Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston and The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis. Co-starring opposite Grammer on Boss are Connie Nielsen, Jeff Hephner, Hannah Ware, Kathleen Robertson and Troy Garity. “It’s nice to get this vote of confidence,” Grammer said. “Good thinking, I love this show.” Grammer executive produces Boss with Safinia, Van Sant, Brian Sher, Stella Bulochnikov, Richard Levine and Lyn Greene. It is kind of ironic that Hephner is getting a … Read More »

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DONE: Bruce Helford Signs On To Write & Run Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’

Nellie Andreeva

It’s official: The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford will guide Charlie Sheen in his return to series television with Anger Management. I’ve learned that Helford has closed his deal with Lionsgate TV to come on board the project as writer/executive producer/showrunner. Helford, who has created two successful sitcom starring vehicles in the past — ABC’s Drew Carey and George Lopezwas one of several veteran showrunners that Sheen met with and someone the actor connected with right away. Based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson), Anger Management will star Sheen as an updated version of Nicholson’s character. The project is being produced by Lionsgate TV, Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios and Sheen manager Mark Burg’s production company Evolution Management. Read More »

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Wendy Williams Nabs Exclusive Charlie Sheen Interview In Corporate Synergy Move

Nellie Andreeva

Charlie Sheen’s media blitz on Sept. 19, the day of the Two and a Half Men season premiere, continues. In addition to his Comedy Central roast airing that night, Sheen will appear on The Wendy Williams Show earlier that day for an exclusive daytime interview. If you wonder how Williams scooped more established daytime players like Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Phil or the ladies from The View in landing Sheen, the show is produced and distributed by Lionsgate subsidiary Debmar-Mercury, which is also set to distribute Sheen’s Lionsgate TV-produced new sitcom Anger Management.

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Bruce Helford In Negotiations To Write Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ Sitcom

By | Tuesday September 6, 2011 @ 4:53pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Sheen Teaming With ‘Drew Carey’s Bruce Helford On ‘Anger Management’?

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford has entered negotiations to write, executive produce and run Charlie Sheen’s new comedy series Anger Management. Helford was one of several veteran comedy showrunners that met with Lionsgate TV and producer Joe Roth on the project and emerged as a leading candidate for the job about two weeks ago. Helford has been considered a strong choice to create a starring vehicle for Sheen, having done the same in the past for Drew Carey with ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and George Lopez with the comedian’s eponymous ABC sitcom. He will develop Anger Management based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie, with Sheen set to play an updated version of Nicholson’s character, a volatile anger management therapist. Once there is a showrunner on board, Lionsgate is expected to take out the project to networks and station groups in search of a buyer. Read More »

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ABC Family Developing US Version Of Mexican Drama ‘Terminales’

By | Tuesday August 16, 2011 @ 8:24am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: What if Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw was dying of cancer? That in essence is the premise of the Mexican drama series Terminales, which is being adapted by ABC Family. Lionsgate TV and Kapital Entertainment are producing the U.S. version of the Televisa format created and produced by Miguel Angel Fox, which chronicles the life of young and successful publicist April Marquez, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Writer/director/playwright Del Shores (Logo’s Sordid Lives) is writing the script for the project, which is being fast-tracked by ABC Family. Aaron Kaplan and Shores are executive producing; Paul Presburger is overseeing for Televisa. This marks the latest project based on source material for Kapital, whose three upcoming series — Fox’s Terra Nova, ABC’s Good Christina Belles and MTV’s The Inbetweeners – are all based on existing properties (short story for Terra Nova, book for GCB, and a British format for Inbetweeners). In addition to Terminales, the company also has a Miranda Lambert PI series in development at ABC Family.

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‘Playing With Guns’ Not Going Forward At Comedy Central; Can It Cheat Death Again?

Nellie Andreeva

Comedy Central has passed on the pilot Playing With Guns. This is the second time the Varsity Pictures/Lionsgate TV project about two buddies-turned-cops has found itself in that position. Last year, it went to pilot at Spike TV but wasn’t picked up to series. Then early this year, Spike’s sister Viacom network, Comedy Central, greenlighted to pilot a retooled version of the show with Ethan Suplee joining original star Danny Masterson as the second lead. Playing With Guns was one of three pilots in serious consideration at the network, along with The Nick Show Kroll and an untitled series starring MadTV alum Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. The last two were picked up to series last month.

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Lionsgate TV Prez Kevin Beggs Says No Target Net Yet For Charlie Sheen Sitcom, Calls Sheen “Consummate Professional”

By | Tuesday July 19, 2011 @ 1:25pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV Coverage.

UPDATE 1:30 PM: During the HRTS’ State of the Industry panel, Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs was again asked about his company’s decision to develop a series with troubled actor Charlie Sheen. He maintained that being in business with the king of misbehavior is “not as big a risk as you might think. He’s been on a show for eight years, and the (production) model we’re employing compresses the time period way down (from a typical network sitcom production).” Beggs concluded, “There’s risk in everything you do, but we think that we’re going to insulate ourselves as best we can,” after noting earlier, “If Charlie isn’t a good fit with Anger Management, we don’t know what we’re doing.”

PREVIOUS 12:45 PM:Lionsgate TV Group President Kevin Beggs told Deadline a few minutes ago that there is as yet no target network or showrunner in place for the announced Charlie Sheen-attached TV series project based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler feature Anger Management. It’s being produced jointly by Lionsgate TV and Debmar-Mercury, producer of the TBS sitcoms House of Payne and Meet the Browns. Beggs, who serves as HRTS president, confirmed while rushing in to participate on an HRTS Luncheon panel at the Beverly Hilton that the series will “follow the model pioneered by (Debmar-Mercury co-heads) Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein. They’re really the innovators of this.” That likely means a similar format to the pair of TBS sitcoms that calls for an initial short … Read More »

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Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ Sitcom A Go At Lionsgate & Debmar-Mercury

By | Monday July 18, 2011 @ 8:51am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

This is an announcement of the completion of the deal for the project, based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management, which is in early stages and still has no network or writer attached. On the show, Sheen will play an updated version of the Nicholson’s character in the Joe Roth-produced movie, a volatile anger management therapist. “I chose Anger Management because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept,” Sheen quipped. While Lionsgate TV will produce, a key point is the involvement of the company’s subsidiary Debmar-Mercury as a distributor, meaning that the Anger Management sitcom will probably be done under the model created by Debmar-Mercury co-heads Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein and pioneered on the Tyler Perry TBS sitcoms House of Payne and Meet the Browns. The Anger Management series is being co-produced by Roth who previously teamed with Debmar-Mercury on another TBS sitcom under the company’s model that was based on a movie, Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? The model, which so far has only been applied on cable, primarily on TBS, involves a significant ownership stake for the talent, something the release below indicates Sheen is receiving on Anger Management, as well as a short, usually 10-episode, initial network order followed by a massive 90-episode pickup when ratings thresholds are met. (That allows Debmar-Mercury to also launch the series in broadcast syndication.) The question is which network will gamble on a show starring a volatile star like Sheen, who is still embroiled in a $100-million lawsuit with Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre over his firing from Two and a Half Men, and which writer will sign on to develop the series with him. TBS would still be a main target though the cable network would’ve had stronger motivation to gamble on the new series if it still had the the off-network rights to Two and a Half Men, which it surrendered to FX this past fall. But TBS, which is a corporate sibling of Warner Bros. TV, has indicated that it isn’t interested. Here is the release:

Los Angeles, July 18, 2011 — Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen is planning his return to series television in Anger Management, a new sitcom loosely based on Revolution Studios’ 2003 hit comedy feature of the same name. Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, headed by Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, will distribute the series that will be produced by Lionsgate Television, led by Television Group President Kevin Beggs and COO Sandra Stern; Joe Roth and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino; Sheen manager Mark Burg’s production company, Evolution Management; and Robert Maron.

Sheen will retain a significant ownership stake in the series inspired by the film, in which a mild-mannered, non-confrontational man is ordered to attend group anger management sessions led by a therapist who could probably use some anger management himself.

Read More »

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Deadline Poll: Which Showrunner Desperate Enough To Work With Charlie Sheen?

There’s a reason that moviemaker Joe Roth doesn’t produce much TV. Because he comes up with terrible ideas like casting Charlie Sheen in a sitcom version of Anger Management. His plan is to join with Lionsgate TV for a small-tube series based on the 2003 big-screen feature that was one of the few non-stinkers from his Revolution Studios. Now this is a long way from seeing daylight. But, seriously, which showrunner would be so desperate as to work with whack job Sheen? Much less any actor who’s currently embroiled in both a lawsuit and arbitration against the producer and studio who fired him off his last sitcom? I want names…

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UPDATE: Jon Hamm Locks Into ‘Mad Men’ For 3 More Years With Fat 8-Figure Deal

By and | Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 4:16pm PDT

EMMYS: Matt Weiner Lobbies For Jon Hamm

UPDATE: We hear Jon Hamm’s blockbuster new three-year deal is in the eight figures, catapulting him in the top ranks of cable’s leading men. His previous contract for Mad Men was for two more seasons. The new renegotiated deal raises his pay significantly in exchange for adding an extra year to his contract. Its length now aligns it with the one of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who closed a new three-year deal with Lionsgate TV and AMC earlier this year. After locking in Weiner, Hamm was the studio’s top priority, with other key cast members also expected to get bumps in exchange for longer contracts.

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: Great news for fans of one of the best hours of drama on television. We’ve learned that Jon Hamm just inked a three-year Mad Men contract with Lionsgate TV and network AMC in a deal that makes the show’s star one of the highest-paid actors in a cable series. Mad Men returns to AMC in 2012. Hamm is long represented by ICM and his manager is Connie Tavel. Hamm’s signing comes on the heels of Mad Men creator Matt Weiner closing a new $30 million deal for the show following one of the longest and most difficult showrunner re-negotiations in recent TV history. AMC officially renewed Mad Men for two more seasons and Lionsgate TV already locked … Read More »

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Lionsgate EVP Television Barbara Wall Exits

By | Monday May 23, 2011 @ 6:36pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Barbara Wall is stepping down as EVP television for Lionsgate. Wall, who served as head of development and current programming at the indie TV studio, will stay on as a producer until her current contract expires in the fall. The search is underway for her successor. The reasons for Wall’s departure are unclear (some say she felt it was time after six years at Lionsgate), but the timing of the executive changeover coincides with the beginning of the next TV development cycle. Since joining Lionsgate in 2005, Wall has been instrumental in building Lionsgate’s scripted TV slate, which includes AMC’s Mad Men, Showtime’s Weeds, NBC’s anthology series Fear Itself, Starz’s Crash and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. She also shepherded development by Lionsgate-based producers Clyde Phillips and Stanley Tucci & Steve Buscemi. Before Lionsgate, Wall was EVP production and development for Heel and Toe Films, where she helped develop the pilot for Fox’s House. She also has held programming posts at 20th Century Fox TV, TNT and Fox.

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Lynda La Plante Teams With Lionsgate TV For ‘Villains Of All Nations’ Pirate Series

By | Wednesday May 11, 2011 @ 9:02am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Acclaimed British TV writer-producer Lynda La Plante, creator of Prime Suspect, is set to develop Villains of All Nations, a drama series for Lionsgate TV based on historian Marcus Rediker’s book about the “Golden Age” of piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries. The project is described as a “modern, bold and gritty interpretation of the genre,” using Redkier’s book as a springboard. Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs said the company had been looking to work with La Plante for a while. “Not only is she a brilliant writer, she happens to have a longtime love and knowledge of the subject matter, and we believe she can achieve exactly the kind of ‘Deadwood on the high seas’ sensibility we’re looking for,” he said. On Villians of All Nations, La Plante joins executive producers Alexandra Milchan (Street King) and Alessandro Camon (Thank You for Smoking). Redike is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on pirates. In addition to Prime Suspect, which is being adapted by NBC this pilot season, screenwriter and novelist La Plante, repped by UTA, wrote the miniseries Widows, which also was adapted in the U.S. by ABC; Trial & Retribution; The Commander; and The Governor; and most recently the Above Suspicion dramas based on her novels.

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Lionsgate TV Ramps Up Reality Development, Signs Deal With Booty Parlor

By | Wednesday January 26, 2011 @ 7:05am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate TV, the company behind such scripted shows as Mad Men and Weeds, is launching a major push in reality TV and is getting a little naughty with it. In one of the first major deals under its renewed focus on unscripted series, the company has signed a multi-media deal with Booty Parlor, a Los Angeles-based company founded by husband-and-wife Charlie and Dana B. Myers that provides body treats, sexy lingerie and other adult playthings that have become quite popular with celebrities. The first project in development under the deal is a reality TV series featuring Dana Myers as an on-camera sexy lifestyle expert. Read More »

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AMC: There Will Be 5th Season Of ‘Mad Men’

Nellie Andreeva

AMC didn’t hold an executive Q&E session at TCA, just a panel for upcoming drama The Killing. But at the beginning of that panel, the network’s executives addressed the big question: the future of the network’s flagship series Mad Men. There is no deal yet with Lionsgate TV for a fifth season of the Emmy-winning period drama or between Lionsgate and series creator Matthew Weiner for him to continue on the show. Just like two years ago, both are proving to be nail-biters, with a lot of money on the line. The plan is to bring Mad Men back for Season 5, AMC SVP Joel Stillerman told reporters before introducing The Killing panel but was quick to note that he didn’t know when. After the panel, our contributor Ray Richmond asked AMC president and GM Charlie Collier about the state of the Mad Men renewal. “We’re negotiating, don’t know much more than that yet,” he said. “Can’t put a timetable on if.” Last time around, the deals closed in January, shortly after Mad Men had triumphed at the Golden Globes.

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‘Mad Men’ Cast Options Set To Expire Amidst Series Renewal, Matt Weiner Talks

Nellie Andreeva

It looks like we’re in for another round of drawn-out Mad Men negotiations between AMC and Lionsgate TV and between Lionsgate and series creator/showrunner Matthew Weiner. And while talks on both fronts are underway, another deadline is looming – the options on the cast expire at the end of the month. That certainly complicates things as the producing studio may have to make a decision on the cast before the show’s future is certain. But if you can’t imagine Mad Men without Jon Hamm or Elisabeth Moss or January Jones or John Slattery, you don’t have to. While it appears that there may not be a deal for the show’s renewal by the end of the month, I hear Lionsgate fully intends to exercise the actors’ options before the Dec. 31 deadline. That is a good sign that the studio anticipates that Mad Men will be back for a fifth season. Negotiations on Weiner’s previous deal with Lionsgate two years ago dragged well into January and closed days after Mad Men triumphed at the Golden Globes for a third consecutive year as best drama series. This week, the period drama landed 3 Golden Globe nominations: for best drama series, best actor Hamm and best actress Moss, as well as 3 SAG Award nominations: for best drama series cast, best drama actor, Hamm and best drama actress, Moss.

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