03/26/2013 05:23 pm ET

How 'Mary Tyler Moore' Made 'Mad Men' Happen

Six seasons into one of the most successful dramas on TV, "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner admits he didn't take on TV writing blindly. In fact, he had quite a name in his corner.

"I was a terrible student. I had a lot of mentors, teachers who encouraged me, kind of told me whether I believed it or not that I was a late bloomer," Weiner told The Saturday Evening Post. "I gave a speech at my high school graduation and a dad in my class told me that I could be a TV writer. It wasn’t just any dad, it was Allan Burns who created 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.' And so I had that in my hip pocket."

While Weiner was riding off the encouraging words of the popular '70s sitcom mastermind, "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm didn't hear as many kind words in his younger years.

"I was told was after testing for my seventh network in a pilot season ... I was told by the head of the network that I would never be a television star," Hamm revealed to The Hollywood Reporter during an Emmys roundtable interview in June.

Hey, at least Burns was on to something!

Season 6 of "Mad Men" will kick off with a 2-hour season premiere on Sun., April 7 at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.

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