Story By: By G. H. HARDING
Nile Rodgers

MAD MEN CLOSING OUT --- While binging on the last cycle of AMC’s Mad Men yesterday afternoon, before its premiere of the last seven episodes, we couldn’t help but note yet again just how wonderful they were and how much stronger they were made by the sterling acting of the show’s entire cast.

With most of the episodes crafted by MM creator Matt Weiner; they seemed to approach Shakespearean proportions of theme and mood throughout. Terrifically dazzling.

It has been a great ride and the show is, without a doubt, one of the best things ever on TV . . . network or otherwise.

Hunkered down for the first ep, titled The Severance, it was great albeit a tad confusing since it jumped ahead in time somewhat, with the Sterling Cooper partners now part of a giant conglomerate, yet operating pretty much on their own.

I’ve watched almost every ep at least twice, often getting more out of the second viewing. I think this opening episode clearly falls into that category. It’s going to be a great final ride.

PEAKS UPDATE --- David Lynch – who co-created the original and iconic Twin Peaks TV series, directed the 1992 cult-fave feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and was set to direct the recently-announced upcoming Showtime revival – has left the project, according to an announcement he made via Twitter last night.

The filmmaker also said the project may still be very much alive at the cablenet.

“Dear Twitter Friends, Showtime did not pull the plug on ‘Twin Peaks,'” Lynch wrote in a series of tweets. “After 1 year and 4 months of negotiations, I left because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.”

“This weekend, I started to call actors to let them know I would not be directing,” he went on. “ ‘Twin Peaks’ may still be very much alive at Showtime. I love the world of ‘Twin Peaks’ and wish things could have worked out differently.”

Lynch’s announcement came after reports surfaced this week that the project was dead. Showtime issued a statement on Lynch later on, saying it hopes to still bring back Twin Peaks in all its glory.

“We were saddened to read David Lynch’s statement today since we believed we were working towards solutions with David and his reps on the few remaining deal points,” they said in the statement. “Showtime also loves the world of ‘Twin Peaks’ and we continue to hold out hope that we can bring it back in all its glory with both of its extraordinary creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, at its helm.”

Showtime announced the revival last October. Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost have already penned all nine episodes, and Lynch was originally set to direct them all as well. They also announced in January that Kyle MacLachlan would reprise his role as FBI agent Dale Cooper.

Twin Peaks was set to go into production this year, eyeing a 2016 premiere date.

My take: The additional funds will magically appear, and Lynch will be back in the driver’s seat . . . I mean, how could he not? He is Twin Peaks!

WHAT NILE WANTS --- While the 62-year-old musician/producer Nile Rodgers first found fame in ‘70s disco group Chic - who recently unveiled their new single, “I'll Be There” – he is planning a host of other things on his platter:

While he has collaborated with a whole host of big names throughout his career – penning tracks for the likes of Diana Ross and producing music for David Bowie and Daft Punk among others – there's one artist he'd really like to team up with as of late:

“I've also become the biggest Miley Cyrus fan on the planet. I've watched her sing live twice—my jaw dropped!" he said recently. “Have I ever thought about working with a contemporary rock band? The Strokes are awesome, and I like Arctic Monkeys a lot too. I'd most like to do the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I've always dug them for some reason.”

Madonna is another star Nile has worked with, after lending his expertise to her album Like a Virgin. He'd welcome the chance to collaborate with her again, though he thinks it would be nothing like it was the first time around. (Rumors flew back in the day that when he was approached to produce that breakthrough record in 1984, his advance was a cool million upfront—in cash!)

Nile also shared who he thinks is the funkiest man alive, naming the pop sensation Prince after having a "ridiculous" guitar duo with him recently.

CYNTHIA PASSES --- Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono have posted their thoughts on Cynthia Lennon (John Lennon’s first wife), following her death last week at age 75.

McCartney said, “The news of Cynthia’s passing is very sad. She was a lovely lady who I’ve known since our early days together in Liverpool. She was a good mother to Julian and will be missed by us all, but I will always have great memories of our times together.”

In a statement, Yoko Ono wrote, “I’m very saddened by Cynthia’s death. She was a great person and a wonderful mother to Julian. She had such a strong zest for life and I felt proud how we two women stood firm in the Beatles family. Please join me in sending love and support to Julian at this very sad time.”

Ringo Starr tweeted: Peace and love to Julian Lennon God bless Cynthia love Ringo and Barbaraxx.

Cynthia and Lennon married on August 23, 1962. George Harrison and Paul McCartney attended the service. Beatles manager Brian Epstein was the Best Man at the ceremony.

Their son, John Charles Julian Lennon, was born on April 8, 1963. They divorced on November 8, 1968 and John married Yoko on March 20, 1969.

Cynthia died after a short battle with cancer at her home in Spain, with her son Julian by her side.

CLOSING NOTES --- Micky and lovely wife Donna Dolenz spotted at Saturday’s Johnny Mathis Concert at Disney Concert Hall in L. A. . . . Manager Ken Levy at Traif for Passover dinner Friday night . . .

On April 12, 2015, UPtv presents the exclusive premiere of The Music in Me, starring Debbie Gibson and Gloria Reuben (TV’s ER). The made-for-TV film is an uplifting musical drama about a small-town girl who gave up her dreams of performing, only to rediscover her joy of singing and songwriting as an adult through her work with a failing church choir. Gibson has written and performs the film’s original song, “Promises.” Gloria Reuben’s new album, Perchance to Dream, is out (MCG Records) and is formally launched this Thursday at NYC’s Metropolitan Room . . .

James Spader's character Red Reddington getting shot on last week's The Blacklist? Methinks it all a distraction, as earlier in the show he announced, “It's time to disappear.” The show's away for two weeks, then it returns.