The rights to AMC’s award-winning television series Mad Men have been sold to several platforms as part of a “complex, bumper deal,” Variety reported earlier today. The entire series will be available to stream free on Amazon’s IMDb TV service on July 15.
Perhaps most exciting about this decision is that IMDb TV is a free ad-supported service, meaning all seven seasons of the series will be free to watch for all viewers.
That said, those who have Amazon Prime Video subscriptions will be able to watch the show without commercials, thanks to Amazon acquiring the international rights from Lionsgate Television, the company that produced the show.
AMC will also be able to stream the entire series in the fall across its SVOD services and networks. Starzplay has secured streaming rights for the show in Japan, Latin America, and Europe, where it will be available to watch starting on October 1.
The Jon Hamm-led series was recently removed from Netflix, which paid a hefty amount for its streaming rights in 2011. Variety reported that the streaming service paid approximately $1 million each for all 92 episodes. Netflix has opted not to renew its deal, so Lionsgate “had spent the past few months shopping the rights to the Emmy-littered show around.”
Also of note is that Mad Men will keep an episode containing blackface intact, but will preface the hour with a warning. This decision goes against the grain of other popular shows with producers that have chosen to remove entire episodes featuring blackface.
Sitcoms like 30 Rock, Scrubs, and even Golden Girls have all had any scenes showing characters in blackface scrubbed entirely from streaming services. While often criticized, blackface portrayals in media have been under heightened scrutiny as of late in light of the Black Lives Matter protests taking place around the world.
The Mad Men episode in question is titled “My Old Kentucky Home,” and is part of the show’s third season. Roger Sterling (played by John Slattery) wears blackface to a party.
“My Old Kentucky Home” will be available on streaming platforms, but air with “a title card in front of it to ‘provide context for the blackface scene,’” per Variety.
According to the outlet, the title card will say that the “episode contains disturbing images related to race in America.”
It will explain that Roger wearing blackface was indicative of the prevalence of racism in the country in the 1960s.
The title card will also note that the Mad Men producers felt it was essential to keep the episode in place to expose “the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day so we can examine even the most painful parts of our history in order to reflect on who we are today and who we want to become.”
As the outlet noted, the decision is similar to HBO opting to continue streaming Gone with the Wind with a new disclaimer by Black scholar Jacqueline Stewart.