As the battle between Mad Men creator/ showrunner Mathew Weiner and AMC continues—AMC wants Weiner to agree to “integrating product placement into the series, cutting 2 minutes from each episode’s running time in favor of more commercials and eliminating/reducing two regular cast members to save money,” according to Deadline, while Weiner is taking the opposite, ‘why don’t you pay me $30 million over the next two years to make creative/ business decisions that ensure the show doesn’t suck,’ stance—AMC is skipping over Weiner by exercising a contractual option with Lionsgate TV to launch season five of the series in early 2012.

It’s an incredibly frustrating situation for fans of the show—on one hand, viewers want the show back ASAP (it was supposed to be renewed for the fall season, and on the other, who wants to see it with more commercials, more product placement, and less of the regular cast members?

Here is the full statement from AMC:

“AMC has officially authorized production of season 5 of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate.  While we are getting a later start than in years past due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations, Mad Men will be back for a fifth season in early 2012.”

Translation:

“Hey, guys.  As you know, Mad Men is an amazing television show. So amazing, we’d like to milk it dry while we still can, before it reaches its conclusion because the creator won’t let us just keep renewing it season after season.  Plus, despite the fact that it makes a ton of money, garners even more awards, and has essentially helped put AMC on the map in terms of excellent original programming, what’s wrong with Don Draper giving a monologue extolling the virtues of Mountain Dew, Apple products, and Nike?  Sure, the show is set in the 1960s, but hey, Weiner’s an egghead, he’ll figure a time-travel storyline out, or something.  Now please excuse us, we need to go roll around in a bed covered in money.  Thank you.  Ch-ching!”

What do you think of AMC forcing Mad Men to being season five?