‘Mad Men’ gets ‘Breaking Bad’ treatment: Final season will be split and air in two different years

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Hoping to boost viewership in the home stretch — a la “Breaking Bad” — AMC announced Tuesday that the seventh and final season of “Mad Men” will be broken into two parts airing in 2014 and 2015.

The cable network’s critically-acclaimed series, set at a Madison Avenue advertising agency in the tumultuous ’60s, typically has 13 episodes a season. AMC ordered an extra episode for the swan song season. The final 14 will be divided evenly so that seven air next spring (“The Beginning”) and the last batch of seven air the following spring (“The End of an Era”) in 2015.

“This approach has worked well for many programs across multiple networks, and, most recently for us with ‘Breaking Bad’ which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second half premiere than had watched any previous episode,” said AMC President Charlie Collier in a written statement. “We are determined to bring ‘Mad Men’ a similar showcase. In an era where high-end content is savored and analyzed, and catch-up time is used well to drive back to live events, we believe this is the best way to release the now 14 episodes than remain of this iconic series.”

Bonus reasoning: That’s one more chance for Jon Hamm to win that elusive Emmy.

Personally, I don’t mind the idea of spreading out the final season on “Mad Men” over two years. It’s a show I enjoy in smaller doses. But judging by my Twitter feed, the news ticked off many a fan:

AMC’s statement included remarks from series creator Matthew Weiner: “We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience. The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”

The series premiered in 2007 and has gone on to glean six Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Drama Series and four wins in the prestigious category.

The show stars Jon Hamm, January Jones, Vincent Karthheiser, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, Robert Morse, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Pare and Kevin Rahm.

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