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Kurt Sutter Reflects On 'Mad Men' Controversy: Beef Was With AMC, Not Matt Weiner

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Kurt Sutter loves
Kurt Sutter loves "Mad Men," can't say the same for AMC.

"Sons of Anarchy" showrunner Kurt Sutter is making the media rounds to promote his new Discovery docu-series "Outlaw Empires" (premiering Monday, May 14 at 10 p.m. ET). But in the interest of picking at old scabs, HuffPost TV had to ask the outspoken writer to revisit comments he made last year about how AMC's financial stand-off with "Mad Men" was hurting the network's other scripted dramas, like "Breaking Bad" and "Walking Dead" and their respective creators, Vince Gilligan and Frank Darabont.

At the time, Sutter tweeted that, "Why Darabont got fired - Weiner. He held AMC hostage, broke their bank, budgets were slashed, shit rolled down hill onto Gilligan and Frank."

Now, nine months and one Twitter hiatus later, Sutter has clarified his thoughts on the matter. He lavished praise on Weiner's work on "Mad Men," which he said is "right up there on the DVR for me," but doesn't sound eager to work with AMC anytime soon. The network can't tell the full story of what went down, he theorized, because, "Who's going to get into business with a network that's going to do that?"

What shows are you watching on TV this season? Not "Mad Men," I'm guessing?
I love "Mad Men." Look, I think it’s a brilliant fucking show. I watch those episodes and I think each season [Matt Weiner] pushes it a little bit further and his storytelling gets more and more interesting.

I know there’s this perceived beef between Matt and I because of things I said ... and I always tried to qualify that by saying that I don’t know the guy and this is not against him personally. I was making a comment on the process of asking for money [from a network] … it was less about how he was going about things and more about how AMC was going about things that I thought was not necessarily great for the industry itself.

And that got spun into a beef, and Matt’s a diplomatic guy and has never said a bad thing about me. And I tried to qualify by saying, "I don’t know the guy." Somebody had asked me to comment about what was going on, and it was more about process.

And how AMC's financial drama with "Mad Men" was negatively affecting "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead," right?
And to this day, they don't cop to it, but I know what went down. And I think it all came out for the best, and everyone sort of got on board and made the best decision eventually.

I have a pretty good sense of … just when all that stuff went down, and suddenly "Breaking Bad's" episodes were reduced, there was a ripple that happened as a result of that. And can I prove that? Can I give you a source that says that happened? Of course not -- I’m not gonna do that. But it's not brain surgery, and of course they’re not going to cop to that, because who’s going to get into business with a network that’s going to do that?

That was around the same time that Frank Darabont left, or was fired from, "The Walking Dead."
It just got complicated and messy, and quite honestly, I'm sure nothing I said helped anything.

Did you hear from any of those guys? Because you were sticking up for those other shows ...
I got a very nice email from Frank thanking me. And the irony is that one of my best friends took over to run that show, Glen Mazzara. I’m still connected to that show, but Frank getting extracted was very odd and painful and, quite honestly, very sad for me. I knew how hard he worked to get that show up and to be as groundbreaking as it was, and that just did not seem like the best way to play that, no matter how difficult or demanding Frank may have been. There was a better way to handle it, in my opinion.

So you’re saying that AMC behaved like an outlaw organization? They made their problem disappear. Parallels.
There you go, there you go. And then they got held up at gunpoint. At the end of the day, dude, I just try to support the work, and the truth is, what happens on "Mad Men" in terms of the acting and the writing and the directing, it’s superior. And yes, it has tremendous cache and buzz because it’s become iconic, but it also deserves all the kudos and the awards as well, because it's a beautiful show to look at. It ticks all the boxes in terms of production and design, as well as being incredibly creatively fulfilling.

And all those actors, man, every episode they just get a little bit more rooted. I love it this season because it's pushing the boundaries. [Weiner's] not afraid to be a little more absurd -- he’s kind of winking at himself a bit with some of the characters. Definitely, that's right up there on the DVR for me, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for his talent.

Check back here for more of HuffPost TV's interview with Kurt Sutter soon.

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