It looks like AMC could use a little Don Draper-style negotiation savvy of its own. The cable channel’s highest profile show Mad Men still hasn’t been renewed for a fifth season, but Senior Vice President Joel Stillerman told reports that a return to 1960s Manhattan is being planned.

The hold-up is on multiple fronts: neither production house Lionsgate TV nor showrunner Matthew Weiner have agreed to continue their work on Mad Men. Stillerman told reporters at a TCA panel for The Killing that while AMC plans for the series to continue, he didn’t know when that would happen. When a Deadline Hollywood correspondent asked about the state of Mad Men, AMC president and general manager Charlie Collier said, “We’re negotiating, don’t know much more than that yet.”

AMC has leveraged its breakout success with Mad Men into more original programming, first with Breaking Bad and then The Walking Dead. Both shows will return in 2011 for seasons four and two respectively. In addition to The Killing which premieres in April, the network is currently producing a Reconstruction-era western show called Hell on Wheels. In the four years since Mad Men debuted AMC has become a major player for original cable shows, rivaling more experienced channels like FX and TNT, and even creeping up on premium channels like HBO and Showtime. They’ve come a long way from simply rerunning American Movie Classics, and the Madison Avenue boys are largely to thank for their recent success. Both Mad Men and Breaking Bad are multiple Emmy Award winners.

'Mad Men' cast and crew, cleaning up at the Emmys.

The interested parties found themselves in a similar situation between seasons two and three. In the summer of 2008 AMC announced the show’s renewal before deals had been struck with Lionsgate and Weiner. Both signed on after Mad Men won big at the Golden Globes in January of the following year. The show has been nominated for three Golden Globes this year, including Best Drama.

We previously reported that Matthew Weiner intends for Mad Men to last for six seasons. Between his creative intentions and the large amount of money on the line for both AMC and Lionsgate, I don’t think fans have too much to worry about.

Mad Men will (hopefully) return in July or August on AMC.

Source: Deadline Hollywood