Matthew Weiner On The Unlikely Success Story of 'Mad Men'

As the Mad Men cast embark on their sixth season together, we get to find out more about the show’s creator – Matthew Weiner.

The small, balding, excitable man, looks outwardly nothing like the handsome commanding Don Draper, played by John Hamm, but the two apparently have one thing in common – the need to control their worlds. It’s not surprising then, that Weiner takes quite a hands on approach to the show. He not only writes most of it, but also co-produces it alongside Scott Hornbacher and directs the final episode of each season.

Considering the success of Mad Men now, it’s hard to imagine that Weiner had any trouble pitching the concept in the beginning, and yet, the creator has told the story of his struggles so many times, that by now it sounds almost like the plot of a cult 90s show. “I got a lot of pity for basically moving to the Internet,” a casually dressed Mr. Weiner said earlier this month, sitting in his narrow office at the Los Angeles Center Studios where “Mad Men” is shot. “People would say, ‘Good luck on A&E,’ and I would have to say, ‘It’s AMC.’ I was an executive producer on ‘The Sopranos’ who went to this no-name network that had never produced a show. And the show had no stars in it. It’s like you were valedictorian and then suddenly you’re going for a semester at sea.”

But hey, it certainly paid off didn’t it? Not only for the creator, but also for the network, which took a chance on the fringe concept.

John Hamm, SAG Awards
John Hamm's character on Mad Men is more like Weiner than you'd assume at first sight.


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