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April 8, 2014

'Mad Men' end in sight for Weiner with new season

(Continued)

Pretty much the rest is meant to stay hush-hush.

But secrecy is not simply an obsession for Weiner. It's a marketing strategy that serves "Mad Men" well.

"This was a decision I made at the show's pilot stage," he says. He pointed to January Jones, who plays Don's ex and at the show's inception was still his wife. "She was not part of any of the press material for the first season, because I didn't want anyone who watched the pilot to know until its final moments that Don was married."

Weiner laughs, recalling the first table read for this obscure new series on an also-ran network as he demanded confidentiality from his cast.

"Everybody looked at me like we'd be LUCKY" if spoilers were a problem for this show. "They were thinking, 'You REALLY want us to keep things a secret?'

"Not all entertainment has to be this way," Weiner acknowledges, "but I thought that the surprise of our storytelling would be a smart marketing decision. Luckily, AMC agreed, right from the beginning." And as Weiner hoped, it helped get the show noticed — and still does.

Now the end is in sight. How to pull it off in a way that does justice to the series and its fans? And to viewers who have yet to discover it, and won't until all the cats are out of the bag?

"If 'Mad Men' continues to be watched after its ending airs, whoever approaches it will know how it ends," Weiner muses almost wistfully. "However we end the show, there won't be any more secrets. That's kind of weird." He means to leave a show behind that will satisfy latecomers, too.

But that's all ahead.

"Before then," he declares, "we've got a lot of ground to cover."

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier

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Online:

http://www.amctv.com

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