Mad Men takes a pass on TV

Mad Men is breaking with convention and will bypass traditional broadcasters in Canada in favor of an exclusive online deal with Apple.

Season three of the award-winning series will be available for download on iTunes Canada following a deal with distributor Maple Pictures, making it one of the most prominent shows to forgo a conventional broadcaster in favor of the Internet.

The series will, however, continue to run on its home broadcaster, AMC, which is carried here by certain cable and satellite systems.

Season three begins on the U.S. cable channel this Sunday. The deal, expected to be formally announced on Monday, will make episodes available for download at midnight after each airing, playable on computers and mobile devices. Each will cost $2.49 in standard definition and $3.49 in high def.

Previously, the series was carried here by CTV, which bought season one amid much hoopla in 2008. Season two aired on its secondary A network. There was no immediate comment from CTV on Mad Men‘s departure from its airwaves. The network says seasons one and two will continue to be streamed on its website.

This is the latest deal for iTunes Canada, which in recent months has acquired shows including both Sex and the City and The Wire from HBO, and Dr. Who from the BBC.