Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Tonight’s event honoring AMC’s Mad Men at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences headquarters in North Hollywood – organized by AMC and designed to generate some Emmy season heat for a drama perceived to be past its awards prime – was perhaps most noteworthy for who wasn’t in attendance rather than who was. First, the list of those castmates who couldn’t make it: Jon Hamm (shooting a movie in India), Alison Brie (shooting a film in Toronto), Vincent Kartheiser (rehearsing a play in Minnesota), Christina Hendricks (shooting a movie in Detroit), John Slattery (prepping a film in New York), Aaron Staton (shooting a film “out of town”) and Rich Sommer (featured in a play in New York). While they still have air travel in every area where the seven no-shows were stationed, it’s perhaps understandable that they wouldn’t rush back to stump for more Emmy attention.
While the series famously won four trophies in succession for top drama series, none of the show’s performers has yet been so honored. There have been 25 nominations of Mad Men actors (for lead actor/actress, supporting actor/actress and guest actor/actress) during its first five years of Emmy eligibility – and 0 wins. That said, nine of the show’s regulars were on hand this evening: Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, Robert Morse, Jessica Pare, Kevin Rahm, Harry Hamlin, Linda Cardellini, Kiernan Shipka and Jay Ferguson. And of course, so was Mad Men’s irrepressible creator, showrunner and head cheerleader, Matthew Weiner, who even introduced the screened episode (number 11 this season) before a panel discussion.
Following the screening and panel, Weiner was asked where things stand for the show’s announced seventh and final season in terms of the writing. And the answer is: nowhere. “Not a word of it is written right now,” he said. “I’ll be back at work in mid-July. The writers come in the beginning of August. And then we start shooting in October.” By this time in 2014, Mad Men will be preparing for the end of the run. The speculation over how it will all end has been wild and unceasing, though of course Weiner would never divulge a thing. He said that he’s known how the series will end since season three, and that conclusion hasn’t changed. “The truth is that I honestly feel that I kind of wanted to hold stuff off for the end (this season),” Weiner admitted, “and they were like, no, you cannot do this. You can’t change the way you’ve done the show in the past. So when you see the finale of this season, like the finale of every season, it could easily be the end of the show.” He added that there is “no plan right now” to extend the series run into an eighth season, Weiner concluded.