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Mad Men creator reflects on negotiations, salary demands and AMC

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Fans of Mad Men should know by now that the protracted renegotiation over the show’s future on AMC had nothing to do with the drama’s delayed premiere — but creator Matthew Weiner said the perception still remains that he was, in part, to blame.

In an online interview, Weiner talks about how it was always the plan to debut the fifth season in 2012 but rumors were circulated during the protracted talks that suggested otherwise. “What was interesting in the middle of it, as a tactic, they [AMC] told the public the show was going to be delayed  through the non-cast negotiations and that was not true,” Weiner tells his sister and freelancer journalist Allison Hope Weiner. “I was trying to get the show on. And I said it wasn’t true. They have since said it wasn’t true. It was irreversible.”

Weiner also addressed allegations that his negotiations with AMC resulted in problems with Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, which in turn kicked off a spate of stories questioning Weiner’s salary demands. (Even Kurt Sutter weighed in with tweets blaming Weiner for “holding the network hostage.”) “They were trying to make me look greedy so I’m denying the show to people, which is the exact opposite,” Weiner says. “It was a free for all. I didn’t volunteer to defend myself. I was prepared to lose it and to fight for what I believed in and to not take a financial temptation which is hard, because working on the show all those years, you sort of hope in success that you will be rewarded, especially when it is successful.

“They [AMC] are using it to their advantage that they are a corporation with a bunch of faceless people and you are an individual. America has a hatred of labor. They don’t have a problem with businesses making huge amounts of money …. There is a feeling that the person who is actually of value, who is doing the work, because they are an individual (they) are only entitled to so much. How dare they ask for it because …. I’m lucky to be writing for a living. It’s not a real job.”