'Mad Men' = Major Money for Jon Hamm
Talk about having all the cards in a negotiation.
Jon Hamm, aka Don Draper of "Mad Men," apparently just closed an eight-figure deal with Lionsgate TV and AMC to come back to his pivotal role as everybody's favorite fraudulent alpha-male ad man for three more years. According to Variety, the new deal will give him up to $250,000 per episode during a 39 episode deal.
Of course, the show was already scheduled to go on, and Matthew Weiner, the show's creator, was already locked down for three more years, but as the show's featured star, Hamm himself needed to be signed on. The network was apparently particularly eager to lock the actor down for season 7, which Weiner has said will be the final season, and avoid any high-stakes chicken as the show really wraps up for good.
It's impossible to estimate the impact that the absence of Don Draper would have had on "Mad Men," but let's just say that it likely would have taken a John Deere riding lawnmower to the leg of the show's ratings.
Besides serving as the key focus in nearly every episode of the show and being slated to direct the new season preimiere episode, Hamm has won three consecutive Emmy nominations, won a Golden Globe and just took home a Best Actor in a Dramatic Series award at the 2011 Critics' Choice Television Awards.
To critics and fans alike, he's clearly the heart and soul of the show, and though we'd love to watch a Peggie or Joan-focused spinoff, "Mad Men" sans Draper would be like "Cheers" with no Norm, like "Parks & Recreation" with no Ron Swanson. Such a thing could exist, but should it?
The new season premiere date has not yet been named, but it will be sometime in 2012. Netflix starts streaming season 3 of the show on July 27th of this year, and will stream the new episodes once season 4 begins again. Speaking of negotiations, Netflix reportedly paid $91 million for the privilege.