I would like to start this off by saying that I would have fully endorsed a more naked Mad Men run — like, maybe not True Blood-status, but at least Girls status or something — primarily because the show stars Jon Hamm. And Christina Hendricks. So, maybe I'm biased. Anyway: In a recent Reddit AMA to promote his upcoming film Are You Here, Matthew Weiner commented that Mad Men could have been way more naked if it had been on HBO, the network it could have aired on, as opposed to AMC.
If you don't know the story: HBO passed up on the pilot back in the day, and it may have had something to do with The Sopranos creator David Chase, whom Weiner had worked with on The Sopranos. This story isn't confirmed, though, and HBO hasn't officially (and likely won't ever) comment on why they passed it up, so I won't go into that. The point is, HBO didn't like it, it went over to AMC, and then, subsequently, won a ton of Emmys and other awards. It could have easily ended up on HBO, though, hence the following question from Reddit user ConuardoShankman:
Serious question: How (if at all) do you think Mad Men would be different had it aired on HBO as initially considered instead of AMC?
HBO has an insatiable appetite for nakedness and violence so there would have been a lot more of that. That may sound like a missed opportunity for some people but I have enjoyed the restrictions of basic cable. I think it has made the show strangely more sexy by implication and it was never going to be violent. The hero takes a nap in the first 15 minutes of the pilot.
So, yes, Mad Men could have been a lot more naked. While it's not fair to say that we missed out, because Mad Men has had a great, near flawless run on AMC and everything worked out for the best, I am kind of sad about this missed opportunity. Would the world as we know it be different with more risqué Don Draper sex scenes?