AMC announced Tuesday (Sept. 17) that the seventh and final season of "Mad Men" has been expanded to 14 episodes and will be split into two parts, each consisting of seven episodes to be broadcast over the course of two years.
Deadline reports that the first half of Season 7, dubbed "The Beginning," will air in spring 2014, with the final seven episodes, titled "The End of an Era," airing in spring 2015.
The cable network used the same strategy when it split the final season of "Breaking Bad" into two equal installments. The show will air its series finale later this month on Sunday, Sept. 29.
“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 Charlie Collier, AMC president. “We are determined to bring 'Mad Men' a similar showcase.”
Added "Mad Men" 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.
Variety reported that the writing staff for Season 7 will include Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne ("Chinatown"), who will serve as a consulting producer along with Patricia Resnick ("Nine to Five"). Comedy writer David Iserson ("New Girl") has signed on as a co-producer.
The news comes a day after AMC announced that it is developing a companion series for its most successful drama, "The Walking Dead," and a week after it picked up a spin-off of "Breaking Bad" called "Better Call Saul."
Delaying "Mad Men's" finale gives AMC more time to find another breakout hit. Current dramas "Hell on Wheels" and "Low Winter Sun" have failed to reach the critical or commercial success of "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad" or "Walking Dead," while "The Killing" was cancelled for a second time earlier this month.