Matthew Weiner (born 29 June 1965) is an American writer, director and producer of television drama. He is the creator, executive producer, head writer, and show runner of Mad Men.
He is also noted for his work on the HBO series The Sopranos, on which he served as a writer and producer during the show's fifth and sixth seasons. Weiner has received six Emmy Awards for his work on Mad Men and The Sopranos as well as a Golden Globe award for Mad Men.
Early life and education
Weiner was born in 1965 in Baltimore to a Jewish-American family, attended The Park School of Baltimore and grew up in Los Angeles. He enrolled in the College of Letters at Wesleyan University, studying literature, philosophy, and history and earned an Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television.
Weiner began his screenwriting career as an uncredited joke-writer for the short-lived Fox sitcom Party Girl. He is also credited as a writer on Nixon: the CD-ROM released the same year as Oliver Stone's film on the former president. He was a writer and producer on The Naked Truth and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Weiner wrote the pilot of Mad Men in 2000 as a spec script while working as a staff writer on Becker. The Sopranos creator and executive producer David Chase offered Weiner a job as a staff writer on his show after being impressed by the script.
Weiner served as a writer and producer on The Sopranos during its final three seasons. He wrote or co-wrote a dozen episodes, including the Emmy Award-nominated episodes "Unidentified Black Males" (co-written with Terence Winter) and "Kennedy and Heidi" (co-written with David Chase). He received two Emmy Awards as a producer of The Sopranos — one for the show's fifth season in 2004 and one for the second part of the show's sixth season in 2007.
In addition to writing and producing, he acted in two episodes, "Two Tonys" and "Stage 5" as mafia expert Manny Safier, author of The Wise Guide to Wise Guys, on tv news broadcasts within the show.
Weiner also spent the hiatus between the two seasons teaching at his alma mater, the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, where he taught an undergraduate screenwriting seminar on Rewrites for the Fall 2004 semester.
After The Sopranos had finished its run, Weiner began looking for a network to produce Mad Men. He presented the show to HBO and Showtime; however, both networks passed on it. He eventually pitched the series to AMC which had never produced an original dramatic television series; they picked up the show, ordering a full 13-episode season. Weiner served as show runner, executive producer, and head writer of Mad Men for its first and second season. Weiner is credited with writing or co-writing seven episodes of the first season and ten episodes of the second and directing the first and second season finales, although he had a major role in the writing and directing of every episode.
Mad Men received considerable critical acclaim and won one Golden Globes and six Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. Weiner won the 2008 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the pilot episode, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes". Weiner and his writing staff also won a Writers Guild of America Award for Best New Series and were nominated for the award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2008 ceremony for their work on the season. They were nominated for the WGA award for Best Dramatic Series a second time at the February 2009 ceremony for their work on the second season. Weiner and the writing staff won the WGA Award for Best Drama Series (after being nominated for the third consecutive year) at the February 2010 ceremony for their work on the third season. Weiner was also twice nominated for the WGA award for episodic drama at the February 2010 ceremony for his work on "The Grown Ups" (with co-writer Brett Johnson) and "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" (with Robin Veith).