"Mad Men" has been renewed for at least two more seasons after creator Matthew Weiner struck a reported $30 million deal with the AMC cable network and the Lionsgate production studio.
The fourth season finale of the 1960s-era drama series aired in October 2010. The fifth season will premiere in March 2012 and production is set to begin in July of this year, the Hollywood Reporter said, calling the hiatus a "necessity of AMC's packed slate."
"Mad Men" stars Jon Hamm as suave ad firm partner Don Draper and also features January Jones as his ex-wife, Elisabeth Moss as executive Peggy Olson and Christina Hendricks as voluptuous office manager Joan Harris.
"AMC and Lionsgate today announced the return of the iconic series "Mad Men" for seasons five and six with series creator Matthew Weiner back on board as show runner," AMC said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com.
"Concurrently, it was announced that Weiner has signed a new long-term deal with Lionsgate, extending into a possible seventh season," the statement said.
If the show does in fact see a seventh season, it could be its final one.
Weiner told Deadline.com regarding his new deal: "These will be the last three seasons" of "Mad Men." He was quoted by the Hollywood Reporter as saying that "seven seasons seems like the right length for the life of the show and I'm very excited knowing that I have that canvas to paint on."
It was reported earlier this week that the fifth season would be postponed to early 2012 due to "ongoing, key non-cast negotiations." AMC and Lionsgate have not released details of its recent deal with Weiner.
Under the agreement, Weiner will be paid $30 million and agreed to shorten each "Mad Men" episode by two minutes with the exception of the premiere and finale of the upcoming fifth season, the Hollywood Reporter said.
AMC also agreed to introduce product placement "only when deemed organic to the story, with Weiner having complete creative control," Deadline.com reported, quoting Weiner as saying no changes would be made to the show's existing policy and there have only been three instances of product placement on the program.
The sides also discussed possible cuts of regular cast members from the show, whose episodes reportedly cost $2.5 million to produce, Deadline.com said, adding that it was agreed that no one would be axed but quoted Weiner as saying he reserves the right to cut actors 'on creative basis.'
Meanwhile, many "Mad Men" cast members have been busy with other projects.
Hamm is currently shooting the film "Friends With Kids" with Megan Fox and appears in the new fantasy-action movie "Sucker Punch." Last year, he starred in Ben Affleck's Oscar-nominated movie "The Town."
Hendricks recently filmed the movies "Drive" with Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling and "Detachment" with Adrien Brody, who was once linked to Jones, although the two have not confirmed a relationship.
Over the past year, Hendricks has also become somewhat of a fashion icon, starring in campaigns for collections by Vivienne Westwood and London Fog.