'Mad Men' renewed by AMC for fourth season

LOS ANGELES, Sept 1 Tue Sep 1, 2009 6:36pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The office boozing and hijinks on "Mad Men" will continue for a fourth season on AMC next summer, the cable channel said on Tuesday.

The renewal of the 1960s-set advertising drama is not exactly a shock given that series creator Matthew Weiner earlier this year signed a contract with producer Lionsgate to return for the third and fourth seasons.

Ratings have also improved dramatically for the show that kicked off its third season last month, and Emmy voters recently showered the series with 16 nominations, including best drama.

The first three episodes of the third season averaged 2.1 million viewers, up 40 percent from the same period last year, an AMC spokeswoman said. Still, that's a drop in the bucket compared to leading shows on the broadcast and cable networks.

Three "Mad Men" stars will vie for Emmys on Sept. 20, including Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss for their respective lead roles as a mysterious Madison Avenue executive and ambitious copywriter, and John Slattery for his supporting turn as the office's libidinous partner.

"Mad Men" also received 16 nominations last year, and won six categories including best drama, the first time the coveted prize ever went to a basic-cable program.

AMC is a unit of Cablevision Systems Corp's (CVC.N) Rainbow Media Holdings LLC. Lionsgate is a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp (LGF.N).

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