‘Mad Men’ creator “disappointed” that HBO didn’t even read the pilot

The pitch for the show was "snubbed" by the network's president at the time

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has said he was “disappointed” after his pitch for the show was rejected by HBO.

In a new book titled It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, And Future Of HBO by Felix Gillette and John Koblin, Weiner described how new management at the network following the departure of Chris Albrecht led to his pitch for the show to be ignored.

As reported by IndieWire, then-HBO President Carolyn Strauss is said to have “snubbed” Weiner, who thought he was part of the HBO “family” after writing episodes of The Sopranos.

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His pitch for Mad Men was even endorsed by The Sopranos showrunner David Chase, who urged “everyone at the network to give it a look”.

Mad Men
‘Mad Men’ made good use of the time jump. CREDIT: Alamy

Despite his efforts, HBO didn’t even respond to Weiner’s Mad Men pitch. “It was very disappointing to me, as I pushed the rock up the hill, that they did not notice me,” Weiner recalled in the book. “Because I was part of the family.”

Speaking about losing Mad Men, which was eventually picked up by AMC, Strauss said: “That’s been [former HBO CEO] Richard [Plepler]’s bugaboo forever. Tell me a programmer who hasn’t passed on something. If you want to hold that as my grave, original sin, guilty.”

Mad Men is considered one of the shows which helped kickstart TV’s golden age in the early 21st century, alongside Breaking Bad, The Wire and others. The show, about an advertising agency in 1960s New York, spanned seven seasons from 2007 to 2015.

The show made stars of many of its cast members, including Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks and January Jones.

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Moss, who played Peggy Olson in the series, recently revealed she was brought to tears after Hamm improvised a particular scene as Don Draper.

Referring to the scene in which Hamm kisses her hand goodbye, Moss said: “That right there is real. That’s actually real tears, which you know, hate to break it to you, but often we’re faking it.

“He held onto my hand and didn’t let go and then kissed it. None of that was in the script and he did it on my close-up. Like, that right there is the real Jon.”

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