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Mad Money

Wm.™ Steven Humphrey lets readers in on his secrets to negotiation in light of the recent Mad Men contract delays.


Guess what, bottom-effers? Today marks my employer's most hated time of year, also known as "contract renegotiation day"! For me, it's like Christmas, Halloween, and Mardi Gras all rolled up into one. For my boss, it's more like 9/11, leukemia, and tofu wrapped in a poop tortilla. True, I've often been labeled a "difficult negotiator" - but I always get results! (Dear employer: spoiler alert ahead! Can you please excuse yourself, so I can reveal my most cunning negotiation secrets? THANKS.)

Negotiation Secret #1: Always appear like you're asking for a small amount of money, when actually it's an enormous amount of money. Example: I'll ask to be paid only three cents per television column - BUT! In addition, I must also be paid $97 per letter (including spaces). That roughly comes out to $485,000.03 per column, which makes my boss freak out and say, "OMG!! I can't afford $485,000.03!" "Okay," I say calmly. "Then how about half that much, which is $300 per column?" (Which is, of course, not even close to correct, but that's the point: He'll be so confused, he'll give me the $300 I ask for, just to avoid a brain seizure.)

Negotiation Secret #2: Always include a "rider." You know... like the stuff rock stars demand in their dressing rooms? For example, my rider includes finding the following on my desk every morning: one thong with "Home of the Whopper" hand-stitched on the crotch. Three tubes of airplane glue. Five boxes of Totino's Pizza Rolls. One hamster named "Karen." One pair of "nude" nylons. One High School Musical - brand hand sanitizer. Tissues! And a loaded revolver... just in case.

Negotiation Secret #3: Agree to your employer's crazy demands - but only in exchange for $30 million. As you may have read, negotiations for season five of AMC's Mad Men almost ground to a halt. The network promised to pay creator/runner Matthew Weiner a whopping $30 million - IF he added "product placements" within the show (he refused), cut two minutes per episode for commercials (he mostly agreed), and eliminate two characters (refused, but agreed to limit the cast budget). As you can see, Weiner came very close to telling AMC to cram it up their baloney holes (my phrasing, not his), but by agreeing to a smidge of their demands, he got his $30 mill and we'll get our season five of Mad Men - probably by spring 2012.

Me? I would have done things a bit differently. Such as, CAVING IN TO ALL THEIR DEMANDS AND TAKING THE MONEY! For $30 million, I would happily mention Hormel Chili in each and every column. For $30 million, I would ecstatically cut 200 words, just to make room for more Hormel Chili ads. For $30 million, I would cheerfully cut two regular "characters" from my column (perhaps the phrases "baloney hole" and "diaper gravy"). And YES - if asked, for $30 million I would happily murder you in your sleep. Yes, you read that correctly: I would sneak into your house while you blissfully snored in bed and strangle you with my nylons (see rider for details).

Oops, here comes my boss to renegotiate my contract. Let's hope you haven't pissed him off lately.

I'll take my $30 million now, please.

thursday 7

8:00 CW VAMPIRE DIARIES Matt can't convince the sheriff that a vampire killed his sister. Hasn't this guy seen Twilight??

11:00 SHO GIGOLOS Debut! A new reality series about men who sell their bodies in Las Vegas! (Sadly, I'm not involved.)

friday 8

9:00 HBO THE RICKY GERVAIS SHOW Ricky, Stephen, and Karl discuss "art" - and how Karl knows absolutely nothing about it.

saturday 9

9:00 SYFY FEROCIOUS PLANET - Movie (2011) When their experiment malfunctions, scientists are transported to the "ass-eating beast" dimension.

10:00 TLC LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX What do today's teens think about sex? If they can stop f**king for a second, maybe we'll find out.

sunday 10

9:00 COM THE COMEDY AWARDS A new awards show celebrating the best in pants-wetting comedy, featuring Tina Fey, Andy Samberg, and more!

10:00 AMC THE KILLING Police think a teen's murder may be connected to something in a high school basement called, "The Cage." Umm... ew!

monday 11

8:00 FOX HOUSE It's the 150th episode, and the gang celebrates by holding a "spud gun competition." Was that splash the sound of a shark jumping?

8:00 AMC DELIVERANCE - Movie (1972) My fave deadly hillbilly movie featuring half-naked Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty squealing like a pig.

tuesday 12

8:00 ABC JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION Jamie "food revolution" is blocked by the L.A. school district. (Told ya they'd do a background check!)

10:30 COM SPORTS SHOW WITH NORM MACDONALD Debut! The very funny comedian takes on the world of sports. (Finally! A reason for sports to exist!)

wednesday 13

9:00 ABC MODERN FAMILY Cameron gets a smidge too excited about directing Luke and Manny's school musical.

9:30 ABC HAPPY ENDINGS Debut! Can a group of best friends survive the break up of two of their members? Does anybody sincerely care?

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