Will the Emmy Go to “Mad Men”?
André Jacquemetton ’89
Published: September 14, 2012
André Jacquemetton ’89 is a co-executive producer of “Mad Men,” which is nominated for a 2012 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. The Emmy awards will be broadcast on Sunday evening, Sept. 23. Jacquemetton also received a nomination as a writer for the episode “Commissions and Fees.” The show has won 15 Emmy awards, and Jacquemetton shared three of them, for Outstanding Drama Series in 2008, 2009 and 2011. He received a bachelor's degree in English as a student at LMU. Jacquemetton was interviewed by Fred Puza.
“Mad Men” is admired for its representation of the ad agency culture in the 1960s from excessive alcohol use to power relationships between executives and secretaries. How do you achieve authenticity when writing a period piece?
We have amazing writers and advertising consultants that fill up the writer’s room. Bob Levenson, a consultant, actually was in advertising in the ’60s. He worked for BBDO, and his influence is invaluable. We also have people who do research for us. We essentially look through all sorts of periodicals, books and novels to figure out what was going on at the time. We try not to leave any stone unturned.
If “Mad Men” took place in the present, would its general themes be different?
Not at all. The same workplace issues are very relevant today. The same family issues we all go through are also very relevant. I think that’s why our audience can identify with the show so well.
“Mad Men” has been criticized for its absence of people of color on the show and not dealing with race issues during a time when the struggle for racial equality was prevalent in the country. Was this a conscious decision?
We’re trying to be true to history. Unfortunately, we looked back and discovered that there was really only one black executive in the industry at that time. There were really just no people of color in these agencies. That was the case up until about 1967, which corresponds with the end of last season.
Who’s your favorite character to write for?
I’ve always sort of liked the secondary characters, believe it or not, like Freddy Rumsen and Duck Phillips. You can toy around with them a bit more.
Is there a show you admire so much you wish you had written it?
I grew up in France, but I mostly watched English television. Programs like “The Saint” and “The Avengers” are the shows I really loved and that became my inspiration.
If you get the Emmy, how will you celebrate?
I’m just living in the moment right now. I’m going to be with my wife, some family members and our staff and crew, the people that we’ve been working with for the past six seasons. These are the people we’d be sharing it with.
Have you and your wife already written an acceptance speech?
We try not to go there. Maria [Jacquemetton’s wife and co-executive producer and co-writer] and I will figure it out at some point. We just got a notice from the academy that only one of us is going to be allowed to speak. We’ve also been told we only have 45 seconds so we’re sort of wrestling over who is going to speak. We’re probably going to end up tossing a coin.