Will "Mad Men" Have to Cut SIX Characters?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 29 2011 7:54 PM

Will "Mad Men" Have to Cut SIX Characters?

As we've been talkingabout on the blog today , Deadline reportedlast night that, as part of the ongoing contract talks over the fifthseason of Mad Men , AMC and Lionsgate(the producer of the series) have asked showrunner Matthew Weiner to "eliminat[e]/reduc[e]two regular cast members to save money."

That got us wondering: Could central characters like Don orPeggy be on the chopping block? Or are we talking about ensemble members likeTrudy Campbell and Duck Phillips?

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Without naming any specific names, a source close to theshow said that AMC has asked Weiner to cut a particular dollar amount from hiscast budget for each of the next three years an amount that, the sourceexplains, would necessitate cutting (not reducing, but actually eliminating) atleast two regular cast members in each of the next three seasons. When asked toelaborate on what "regular" means in this case, the source said that the actorsin question are those who "would be considered fulltime on the show."

The Business Insider cites a different source, who offers this definition of "fulltime actor":

A source familiar with the ongoing"Mad Men" negotiations says AMC did not ask show creator Matthew Weiner to remove 6characters from the show.

Instead, the network wants Weinerto cut down on glorified-cameocharacters who might speak only a few lines per season -- while enjoying a season-long contract.

TheWrap, meanwhile, seems to have updated itsstory about the supposed six-character bloodbath with the following:

Another person, familiar with AMC'sthinking, told TheWrap that Weiner has been asked to be judicious about signingactors if their characters might have only one or two lines all season. But noedict has been issued to cut entire characters or to fire actors, this personsaid.

We'll keep updating this story as we get new information.But we will say this: All this speculation about our favorite TV ensemble makesus wish we had ourown fainting couch .

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Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.

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