Matthew Weiner is taking his talents to Amazon. The Emmy-winning creator of Mad Men will develop a new show for the streaming service, his first since the story of Don Draper and company ended in 2015.
According to Deadline, Amazon won a “heated” bidding war between six entities, committing $70 million for an eight-episode initial season. So that’s what the money is for (video).
Details about the show are scarce, but Deadline is reporting that it will be a modern anthology series that takes place in multiple locations around the world. In other words, it won’t be anything like Mad Men, which took place almost entirely in Manhattan in the 1960s.
Weiner will create, write, and produce the show, and in true auteur form, is set to direct half of the first season’s episodes. The showrunner has been pretty quiet since Mad Men went off the air last year. He directed an episode of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and has had his head down writing a novel, to be released in 2017.
The move is yet another coup for Amazon, which is rapidly expanding its streaming TV business. The retail giant’s deep pockets and reputation as a very “hands off” content creator has attracted several high-profile writers and directors, including Woody Allen and David Shore. The company also outbid Netflix to land the next show from the popular Top Gear crew.
Transparent, the Amazon series from Jill Soloway starring Jeffrey Tambor as the transgender head of a dysfunctional family, has proven that the company can make “prestige-y,” award-winning television. That was surely a factor for Weiner, who won several Emmys for Mad Men and also has a few from his earlier days as a writer and producer on The Sopranos.
Yet it’s still somewhat surprising given Weiner’s ambivalence about streaming services in the past. In a discussion with novelist A.M. Homes shortly after the Mad Men series finale, Weiner said he preferred when episodes are released weekly, instead of binged all at once. ”I would try to convince them to let me roll them out so at least there was just some shared experience,” he said about working with a company like Netflix. ”I love the waiting; I love the marination.” Still, in the same breath, he said there is something compelling about the idea of just pressing a button and getting the whole show at once.