Do you remember when AMC used to show award-winning dramas? Those were good times.

The network has finally reached a deal for the fifth season of the Emmy-winning series Mad Men, which ended season 4 in the fall, but audiences won’t get to see it until early 2012. Typically the show has always premiered in the summer, but this new extension means fans will have to suffer through a 15-month break.

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Sadly, this comes at a time when nearly all of AMCs shows are going off the air for extended hiatuses. The network has slowly been building up its original programming department, but with all of these delays, it’s hard to see any momentum.

Breaking Bad, which ended at the start of last summer, won’t return until this summer. The Walking Dead, which had a brief, six-episode first season, won’t return until much later this year as well. And Rubicon, another new series from the network, was a failure and canceled after a single season.

The biggest impact may come at this year’s Emmy Awards. Mad Men and Breaking Bad have dominated the show in recent years, with Mad Men winning four straight years for Outstanding Drama Series while Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston has taken home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor for the past three years. These delays mean that neither show will be eligible for this year’s awards, opening up the field to everyone else.

The only saving grace is AMC’s new drama, The Killing, a murder mystery series premiering Sunday at 9pm. Hopefully the network will have another successful series on its hands, but if not, AMC is rapidly losing all of the momentum and goodwill its built up.

I’ll certainly watch Mad Men when it finally returns, but these long delays are never good for the average viewer who will have forgotten most of what happened to Don Draper and the rest of his advertising buddies at the end of the last season.

In fact, do you even remember that Don got engaged to his secretary? If you didn’t, then having to wait almost a whole year from now for season 5 might be too long.

(Image courtesy of AMC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.