Nikki Finke reports today that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has fired Kater Gordon, his personal assistant, turned writers assistant, turned Emmy-winning staff writer. But why? Gordon had a metoric rise to the top, peaking with an Emmy win.
Finke offers one explanation from a source in the show...
"One of the great things about Mad Men is the tradition that Matt has established of offering higher-level opportunities to staff, writers and artists in all of the various departments. From the beginning, Matt has fought to get people approved by the studio which almost always lobbied for him to hire more experienced people instead."
"We think [Kater's] done a great job, particularly for someone whose career has progressed so quickly. Now, however, Matt has reluctantly decided that their relationship has reached its full potential. She'll be missed, but the series has consistently benefited from the influx of new writer talent, and there's absolutely no doubt that Kater will continue to have unprecedented success in her career as she spreads her wings. She leaves Mad Men with our love and respect and a well-deserved Emmy."
...that's clearly in Weiner's camp. Maybe this is the truth! Or maybe she might as well have placed an email from the show's flack in exchange for a better scoop later on. But the truth can't be this simple. Finke—who exercises a Machiavellian hand over the comments in her posts—left it to her commenters to speculate. And by speculate, we mean, speak for her. And I imagine someone at AMC is asking Finke why she's not deleting comments like she normally does on issues she wants to control.
Let's look at some of the more interesting theories:
- Matthew Weiner had a strictly unprofessional relationship with her, or as the commenter put it:
- Well, Gordon did have a very quick rise through the rankings of Mad Men. Again: started as Weiner's assistant. Became a writers' assistant. Weiner then let her co-write the last season finale with him, and now, she's a staff writer for the third season. Or was, until she got fired. Staff writing jobs are not easy to come by, obviously. Sure, it's topical. And maybe it's worth noting that this is the first show Weiner's ever been a showrunner on. I somehow doubt this theory. If something inappropriate took place, why would he fire her? Probability: unlikely.
- Jealousy Issues. Another commenter writes:
There was a really weird moment during the acceptance where Matt kind of 'snatched' the Emmy from her...The photo gets at it but I remember it being uncomfortable to watch. I always [sic] trhought they worked with these relatively inexperienced people on this show primarily for financial reasons. Allows them to put as much money as possible up on the screen.
- I'm not sure I buy the "inexperienced writers" line so much as the one above: that Mad Men hires writers with low quotes because they can afford to do so by reputation, and allocate the money elsewhere on the show. Weiner's a notorious control freak, as evidenced by the show, obviously. Hollywood loves a young, hot writer, and Gordon's cute and staffed on a hit show. Maybe this made Weiner uncomfortable. Or maybe Gordon's ego from the win outgrew Weiner's ability to micromanage, which could've been marginally. Even so, another commenter draws a comparison to Peggy and Don Draper's relationship, noting that this could give a certain scene from earlier in the season more significance...
- One just goes balls to the wall:
Anyone who believes this horseshit is completely naïve. Matt Weiner is the lowest of the low in our business. He is a egomaniac and the likelihood is that he was incensed that he had to share credit and let alone an Emmy with her. A lowly former writer's assistant. As far as he is concerned, he is solely responsible for the success of this show and no other writer, producer, director, actor, key grip have done anything to contribute to the show's success. For Pete's sake, he didn't even let Kater Gordon say a word when they got up on stage. It was her moment as well but Weiner made it ALL about him.
- Though egomaniacs are kind of par for the course, no?
- And another one just thinks Matt was unloading unnecessary cargo:
The only episode she wrote by herself was "The Fog" and it was terrible. Looks like Matt got too excited and promoted her too quickly…
Weiner has a predominately female writing staff. He's got control issues. Mad Men's a rollicking hit. We've got our calls in. If you know anything, I'm interested in hearing your pitches.
Update: Finke posted from a writer who supposedly knows by Weiner and Gordon, who insists there was no "Letterman" play involved. "She totally got the show and deserved the break she got. There was NOTHING illicit in her relationship with Matt." 'Figured. But Finke has yet to posit any theories...
[Photo via Mark J. Terrill/AP]