AMC's signature drama Mad Men is following the trend set by Breaking Bad and will split its final season into two chunks. The network announced on Tuesday (September 17, 2013) that instead of a final season originally planned for next Spring, Mad Men would be divided into two - pushing back the finale for another year.

Mad Men

AMC is following the strategy it took with Breaking Bad in a dividing up a planned season into two entirely separate ones over an entire year. 

The first seven shows of Mad Men's final season will be shown next spring under the title 'The Beginning. The second group - according to Variety - will be shown in 2015 and will be called The End Of An Era. 

Interestingly, AMC has strengthened its backroom staff for the final season, hiring Oscar-winner Robert Towne as a consulting producer. Towne won the Academy Award for original screenplay for Roman Polanski's Chinatown, about a woman who hires a private investigator (played by Jack Nicholson) to perform surveillance on her husband. He also penned the script for Mission Impossible and the sequel.

In a statement, Mr. Weiner said, "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."

Jon Hamm Mad MenJon Hamm [R] and Jessica Pare [L] In Mad Men

As is usually case with split series, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner will shoot all the episodes in one production cycle, so AMC is essentially saving seven episodes for a year.

The decision appears to underline the network's concern at losing two of its original blockbuster hits in the space of a year. Breaking Bad - which most critics agree is one of the finest television dramas of all time - ends in two weeks.

In the original plan, AMC would be left with only The Walking Dead as a true hit, with Hell on Wheels and Low Winter Sun in support. The network cancelled The Killing for the second time earlier this month.

Jon Hamm Don DraperJon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men

The Mad Men split season is just one measure AMC executives are taking to regroup. Earlier this month, it announced plans for the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, focusing on the criminal lawyer Saul Goodman portrayed by Bob Odenkirk.

A Walking Dead spin-off has also been given the green-light, though details remain under wraps.