Nikki Finke is reporting that Kater Gordon, who recently won an Emmy for her writing work on Mad Men, has been let go from the series, as creator Matthew Weiner feels she's "reached her full potential."
"We think [Kater's] done a great job, particularly for someone whose career has progressed so quickly," an "insider" tells Finke, "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."
Gordon apparently rose through the ranks in a fairly Peggy Olson-esque way, moving from a position as Weiner's personal assistant to full-time staff writer, and one would think her Emmy win would secure her position at the show. Of course, we don't know why Gordon was dismissed, and the explanation given is vague at best, but commenters at Finke's site are already making Letterman comparisons, based on nothing but the fact that Gordon worked her way up from a personal assistant position to a full-time writing position. Surely, her promotions couldn't be the result of her, you know, talent, right? I mean, that would just be crazy, no?
The same thing is currently happening to Molly McNearney, a co-head writer at Jimmy Kimmel's show. Kimmel's relationship with McNearney was recently announced, and the "uh-oh, Letterman!" comparisons began, based solely on the fact that McNearney worked her way up the ranks.
"Oh, NO!" writes Elizabeth Snead of the Los Angeles Times, "Has Jimmy Kimmel pulled a David Letterman? Has he also done "terrible, terrible things"? No. Not really. But there are some eerie similarities." The similiarities being, of course, that Kimmel is in a consensual relationship with someone who works for him. Snead then goes on to list a time line of McNearney's promotions, and notes that her final promotion, in May 2008, came right before Kimmel and Silverman broke up in July of that same year, which proves...well, nothing, really.
As for Gordon's firing, the details are still sketchy, though the "insider" who spoke to Finke claims that Weiner often pushes new writers, new actors, and new directors, meaning he just might have pushed Gordon out to give someone else a chance. Until any concrete details come out detailing otherwise, that might just be the best explanation we're going to get, and maybe, despite the "Oh, Letterman!" shadow that now seems to loom over every decision made involving female staffers in television, the only one there actually is.
Update: A fellow writer has written in to Finke's site to shoot down any rumors that might be brewing over Gordon's departure from Mad Men. "As a female writer who has worked with many strong showrunners, I have to say that any 'Letterman' talk on today's thread about Kater Gordon really disgusts me," the anonymous writer says, "The same kind of talk followed me and my success. So you see, you can't win. If you're young and female, you'll always be suspect. Success or failure, it can't be because you've actually got the goods. I feel compelled to come to both Kater and Matt's defense on this one. Kater was a fantastic writer's assistant, the best. She totally got the show and deserved the break she got. There was NOTHING illicit in her relationship with Matt. I believe Kater will go on to great success, if she so desires, and their parting of the ways was amicable."
Did David Letterman's Ratings Inspire Jimmy Kimmel To Date A Staffer? [LA Times]
Mad Men Fires Writer Kater Gordon [EW]
Huh? Recent Emmy Winning Young Female Writer Loses Job On 'Mad Men' [DeadlineHollywood]