LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The ad agency drama "Mad Men," which was due to begin its fifth season in the summer, will not return until early 2012 because of stalled contract talks with its creator, cable channel AMC said on Tuesday.
The network is reportedly close to signing a deal worth $30 million with Matt Weiner, but he is fighting demands involving product placement, cast changes and a reduced running time, according to news Web site Deadline Hollywood.
A spokeswoman for AMC, a unit of Cablevision Systems Corp, declined to comment beyond the company's statement.
"While we are getting a later start than in years past due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations, 'Mad Men' will be back for a fifth season in early 2012," AMC said in the statement.
AMC said it triggered an option with the show's producer, the television arm of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, to begin work on a fifth season, despite the impasse.
The contract talks are expected to be resolved before production resumes for next season, a source with knowledge of the situation said.
Weiner, a former writer for "The Sopranos," is intricately involved with every detail of every episode.
"Mad Men," revolving around the martini-swilling staff at a Madison Avenue agency in the turbulent 1960s, draws tiny ratings for AMC. But it is one of the most acclaimed shows on television, winning the best drama Emmy for three consecutive years. Its fourth season, which ended in October, will be eligible for the Emmy Awards in September.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Dean Goodman)