AMC's Television Critics Association press tour session got a bit of a drag when Jon Hamm leaked a few days ago that Mad Men's fifth season would launch Sunday, March 25. But the network still gets to drop a few tidbits on the reporters here, as it announced the season premiere would be two hours long, and the third episode (airing April 1) will be directed by Hamm himself. (Or is that Hamm himmself?) The show will remain at 10 p.m. Eastern, though the two-hour season premiere will begin at 9 p.m. Eastern. (Update: This article originally listed Mad Men's air-time as 9 p.m. Eastern.) Mad Men's been off the air since October of 2010, making this one of the longest absences for a premium cable drama since the heyday of The Sopranos, which would routinely slouch off to hibernate for a few decades.
AMC also announced the return of a show no one was particularly clamoring to see again, when it said The Killing will return for the second season of trying to maybe think about pursuing various leads in the death of Rosie Larsen before the central detectives instead stand around and stare out at the rain. The second season will air with Mad Men, beginning April 1, with a two-hour premiere. That premiere will air from 8-10 p.m. that night, before shifting to the 9 p.m. slot for the weeks to follow. (Update: This article originally listed The Killing's air-time as 10 p.m. Eastern.) The network, which had originally scheduled a session for the show at press tour, then pulled it shortly before the revelation that the show's central mystery won't be resolved until the end of season two. The network also neglected to hold an executive session, meaning critics still filled with righteous anger about the finale were forced to rocket around the Los Angeles area, screaming indiscriminately at billboards and anything else that made them think of how stupid the series got after a great pilot.
Also announced: The Walking Dead's previously announced third season will be 16 episodes long, and when the show returns on Feb. 12 for the rest of its second season, it will be paired with the new Kevin Smith-produced reality show Comic Book Men, which is about employees at Smith's comic book store in New Jersey. Walking Dead will air at 9 p.m. Eastern again, while Comic Book Men will air at 10 p.m.
Finally, Sundance Channel, which is also owned by AMC Networks, announced the start of production on a new miniseries, Top Of The Lake, from director Jane Campion (The Piano and Bright Star, among others). The seven-hour-long project, which will star Elisabeth Moss, begins filming in New Zealand in February. The network also announced it has picked up its first ever wholly-owned, original scripted series, Rectify, from Oscar winner Ray McKinnon. The legal drama will run six episodes and examine a wrongful conviction.
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