It looks like the final season of Mad Men will be extended, not by episodes, but by overall waiting periods. The last season will air in two distinct parts, both set to air one year apart. This will essentially give you two more mini-seasons, instead of just one regular season.
The Los Angeles Times reported the news earlier today, stating that the two-halves of season seven will be called “The Beginning” and “The End of an Era.” The first set will air in spring of 2014, the last will air in spring of 2015. This follows the same route that Breaking Bad (also AMC) took to tease audiences. AMC president Charlie Collier told The Los Angeles Times that it “attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second-half premiere than had watched any previous episode.” He later added that “We are determined to bring Mad Men a similar showcase.”
Matthew Weiner told The Los Angeles Times that “We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience.”
A shorter season gives fans less episodes to watch before the end, two of the episodes are season premieres and season finales, so that leaves only 5 episodes for fans to remember to watch. It’s a way to increase viewership, advertising and other media-related KPIs that work better for the network than the viewers.