Don Draper, meet the digital age.
AMC's Mad Men will conclude its so far stellar run with a series finale at the end of the seventh season that will take place in the present day.
That's according to show mastermind Matthew Weiner, who recently dropped some tantalizing clues as to how he plans to wrap up the '60s retro hit, which has garnered him four straight Emmy wins for Oustanding Drama series.
Here's what he had to say...
"I do know how the whole show ends," he told Grantland.com in an interview. "It came to me in the middle of last season. I always felt like it would be the experience of human life. And human life has a destination. It doesn't mean Don's gonna die."
The fifth season of Mad Men is scheduled to premiere in March, delayed by difficult and protracted negotiations Weiner had with the cable network over a new deal and AMC's desire to trim the budgets of several of its prime-time vehicles (with The Walking Dead's creator Frank Darabont apparently being a casualty of that battle).
Now that the Mad Men showrunner has secured himself three more years, for a total of seven seasons, Weiner is brainstorming how to end Draper's journey on a satisfying note that can connect he and his ad men with today.
"What I'm looking for, and how I hope to end the show, is like...it's 2011," he said. "Don Draper would be 84 right now. I want to leave the show in a place where you have an idea of what it meant and how it's related to you."
No word whether Don will have quit smoking by then.
Some habits are indeed hard to break, though, as viewership for season four of Mad Men has remained steady, averaging 2.3 million. However, after an extended wait for season five—which is now set to premiere in March 2012—Weiner's starting to think about tying up all the story threads in a manner he and his team are happy with (and ideally doesn't alienate fans the way his show The Sopranos infuriated some with its controversial finale).
For Weiner, that means looking appropriately enough to the Beatles for inspiration.
"It's a very tall order, but I always talk about Abbey Road," he told the website, regarding the legendary rock band's final album recorded together. "What's the song at the end of Abbey Road? It's called 'The End.' There is a culmination of an experience of people working at their highest level."
Of course, the last album the Beatles actually released was Let It Be, words of wisdom Weiner and longtime Mad Men devotees may one day take to heart.