"Mad Men" has a date with destiny: its own. The first of the final seven episodes of the AMC hit drama will air on Sunday, April 5 at 10 p.m., the network announced Saturday. This means — unless AMC gives the series a week's rest after the April 5 launch — "Mad Men" will come to a conclusion on May 17. ("Mad Men" began as a summer series on July 19, 2007, in case you were wondering.)

Showrunner and creator Matthew Weiner said in a statement: “What an incredible journey this has been. I take great pride in what the entire ‘Mad Men’ team was able to create episode after episode, season after season. We sincerely thank the fans for joining us on this ride and hope it has meant as much to them as it has to us.”

AMC President Charlie Collier also said: “‘Mad Men’ is the show that put AMC on the map. Period. It is impossible to overstate the impact it has had on AMC, and I would argue, this era of television. We are honored to forever be the birthplace and home of this iconic series and we can’t wait to share its artful conclusion with the fans."

To say that it's the end of a television era is hardly an overstatement, but let's certainly hope "Mad Men's" exit doesn't mark the end of an era when smart, thoughtful, compelling television with multiple layers of meaning and a true outsized ambition to create something that will last is not coming to an end. (Not to worry, it is not. Hint: "Game of Thrones.")

"Mad Men" did set the bar high, as did other great series like "The Sopranos" or "Deadwood," and it is indeed a major reason why we now so confidently speak of this long moment as the true "golden age" of television.

Meanwhile, expect a few other exciting projects in advance of this final run. AMC has also commissioned a "Mad Men" documentary — with lots of online components and extensions — that will air in advance of the finale.