By Darren Franich
Updated April 01, 2011 at 08:52 PM EDT

Now that the protracted Mad Men negotiations are finally over, the show’s creator is looking ahead to the show’s future — and, surprisingly, already seems to have a conclusion in mind. Exec producer Matthew Weiner tells TV Guide that he only sees the show lasting for another three seasons: “I think that’s how long the story is…I want the show to end before the machinery has worn out.” It’s unclear if Weiner has run this plan by his network: AMC had no comment on the three-season plan. Weiner’s reps wouldn’t respond to EW’s calls for confirmation, but the 7th season cut-off seems to make sense. Weiner and the cast are currently only signed through season 6, but given that everyone involved with Mad Men has made their career off the show, it seems logical that everyone would be onboard for another season. (Although we can likely expect some fun season 7 contract negotiations.)

So now we have to start asking the deeper questions: Is seven seasons too few for a show this good? Or is it too many? Should the show go out earlier, before the flab starts settling in? And are you ready for the invasion of the ’70s mustaches?

On that last point: Let’s do some simple arithmetic. The first episode of Mad Men took place in March, 1960; the fourth season finale ended in October 1965. That’s a little under six years, or roughly 18 months per season. Assuming the next few seasons continue the show’s general trend of skipping forward in time between seasons, the show will probably end in early 1970. (Wonder if Richard Nixon will hire Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to run PR for his 1968 campaign?) When you factor in that Don now has a younger, less restrained wife, it’s entirely possible that he’ll loosen up his gray flannel suit just long enough to grow some period-appropriate facial hair in the final season. Which means that mustaches will be cool again sometime around 2014.

Putting aside fashion trends, seven seasons of Mad Men seems like just the right amount. I happen to believe that even the best TV shows stick around too long for their own good, but season 7 is a nice medium point between “didn’t last long enough” and “should’ve ended earlier.” But I’m interested to hear what you think, readers. Are you sad to hear that there is only a limited supply of Mad Men episodes left? Or do you think the show is running the risk of lasting a little bit too long? Seriously, does this mean that the ’70s are going to be cool again? Because that would be a very bad thing.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Episode Recaps

Thanks to costume designer Janie Bryant , Hamm's '60s ad man single-handedly revived an interest in the classic two-button suit.

Mad Men

Jon Hamm stars as Don Draper in the Emmy-winning ’60s-set drama

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