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AMC: 'Mad Men' Won't Return Until Early 2012

AMC said Tuesday it has greenlit season five of Mad Men,but the series won't return to the air until early 2012 because of a contract dispute with series creator Matthew Weiner.

"AMC has officially authorized production of season 5 of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate (Mad Men‘s production company)," the network said in a 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."

The network would like Weiner to return to the show, but at this stage in the negotiations, is ready to move forward on production with or without him, according to a source. Weiner has reportedly been offered a contract worth about $30 million, which would make him one of the highest-paid producers in cable television, but as of yet, a deal has not been reached.

Reports have also said Weiner has objected to requests by AMC to cut several minutes from each episode in order to add more commercial time and eliminate two cast members to save money.

Mad Men has had a summer premiere for the past four seasons, but the recently ongoing contract dispute had made a summer return in 2011 seem unlikely.