US cable channel AMC has confirmed that the seventh and final season of its period drama Mad Men will be split into two parts.

The Jon Hamm-starring show's last hurrah will be expanded to 14 episodes and spread across two years. Seven episodes will air in the US in the spring of 2014, while the final seven instalments will follow a full year later.

AMC is repeating a pattern it implemented on Breaking Bad for its final season, in which eight episodes aired in 2012, with the final eight beginning last month.

"This approach has worked well for many programmes across multiple networks, and most recently for us with Breaking Bad, which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second half premiere than had watched any previous episode," said AMC President Charlie Collier.

"We are determined to bring Mad Men a similar showcase. In an era where high-end content is savoured and analysed, and catch-up time is used well to drive back to live events, we believe this is the best way to release the now 14 episodes that remain of this iconic series."

Mad Men creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner added: "We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience.

"The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience."

Mad Men season six continues on Tuesday nights on RTÉ Two.