'Breaking Bad' shopped to other networks as fifth (and final?) season renewal talks continue


Image Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Breaking Bad, coming soon to HBO! Or not.

With renewal talks dragging out between Breaking Bad studio Sony Pictures Television and AMC, the acclaimed drama has been shopped to a few other networks, sources confirmed.

AMC firmly wants to bring the show back for a fifth season — that’s the good news. Breaking Bad recently returned to 2.6 million viewers — a series high. But shows get more expensive as they age, and AMC is looking for ways to reach a financially effective deal. The network proposed a shortened fifth season (six or eight episodes instead of the usual 13) which producers rejected (thankfully).

Now, the actual odds of Breaking Bad actually jumping networks? Very slim. Often studios will shop a show around to get some leverage on the network they’re haggling with, but committing to a divorce is a nuclear option that seldom gets detonated.

The bigger legitimate question is whether season five will be the last for Breaking Bad. Creator Vince Gilligan has said he wants to end the show after the next season, but AMC executives indicated to me last week they’d prefer to keep it around a little longer if possible.

“There’s nothing definitive on that show,” says senior VP of programming Joel Stillerman when asked about Gilligan’s statement. “We need to make a decision on season 5 and then we’ll decide with Vince with Sony if that’s it or if it can be ongoing after that. The kind of demo delivery gains seen in season 4 are potentially unprecedented. We’re thrilled.”

Read more:
‘Breaking Bad’ returns to biggest ratings ever
EW’s ‘Breaking Bad’ recaps
InsideTV Podcast: Aaron Paul on whether ‘Breaking Bad’ will end after season 5 (‘It makes me really sad’)

Comments (40 total) Add your comment
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  • Lisa

    Wait, if AMC wants to keep it on “as long as possible” then why ask for a shorten season?

    Honestly, I would be fine with next season being the last( as long as they get 13 episodes). This is not a show that needs to drag out too long, and 5 seasons would be perfect.

  • Ace

    First Mad Men, now Breaking Bad ? What the hell is wrong with AMC trying to shaft their best shows ? People only watch AMC for those shows (yes now Walking Dead blah blah blah) but still. Cutting the last season of the best show on tv short would be the worst possible thing you could do.

    • Barkley

      AMC how stupid can you be? Nobody watches anything else on your channel except the top 3: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Walking Dead. (the Killing would have been in that group except you allowed an idiot to run the show.) When did you win any awards before? Now is not the time to pull your cheap act and try to cut budgets or episodes. Try to look at the big picture . . . . . If you can’t handle it, no doubt HBO would be glad to take it from you.

    • Mike

      OR it could be just the media making a bigger deal out of normal negotiations that ALWAYS happen with any television show going into the later seasons. Rest assured, Breaking Bad will be back.

      • Xander

        Thanks for the “Inside Scoop” Mike!

  • John

    If the show does go on, I beg that Gillian is SURE he can do another. Please don’t kill this nearly perfect show with making it run on…

  • steve

    I love this show but I hope that it does not become the next “Nip/Tuck”. If Gilligan can keep writing quality scripts, I would love for this show to go on for 10 years. However, if he is forced to come up with absurd plot scenarios (like “Nip/Tuck” in the later seasons), then please do us a favor and end the show after five seasons.

  • Frank from NYC

    Hey, AMC: commit to canceling The Killing as soon as season 2 is over; rollover the savings and beg Gilligan to do AT LEAST one more full season of Breaking Bad.

  • Nirveeze

    I love Breaking Bad and would miss it when its gone, but I’d love to see the show end on its own terms. If that’s the way the show ends, with the showrunner calling it quits at a definite point, I’m cool.

    • AB

      Exactly. Shawn Ryan did that with the Shield and it was a perfect ending. Not a “happy” ending at all but a perfect one for the characters.
      For me, Breaking Bad is as good a show as the Shield was, and in a lot of ways better, esp. in terms of writing.

  • Dave

    Breaking Bad is one of my favorite shows on TV, and I think it would be a great idea to end the show after 5 seasons. Not every show needs to go on forever, and Breaking Bad is definitely the kind of show that has to end at some point. Breaking Bad is one of the very rare shows that has honestly gotten better each year. TV shows usually hit a slump at some point, and then maybe return to solid form. But Breaking Bad just keeps getting better and better. And I think if they could close out 5 seasons, it will go down as one of the most perfect TV shows of all time.

  • meh

    i would like there to be a set end date. they can write towards it. I agree with the comment about nip/tuck.

  • Matt

    Gilligan and company should definitely consider moving to another network if AMC continues to push them towards a shortened season (which would be downright awful). I’d actually love it if the last season is put on a premium cable channel like HBO; that way it can go all out and push the boundaries like never before (and what a way to say ‘goodbye’ that would be!)

  • Cameron

    I hope it stays with AMC, but if it goes to another network, it would have to be FX. Or if it went to HBO, that could be really awesome since they would have the freedom to do/say whatever they want.

  • Jake

    Cant Wait for The Killing, Season 2! and I Doubt the show will be cancelled and i doubt it will be moved to another network. i Think people are worrying for no reason.

  • Eric

    I’m stilled pissed at AMC for canceling Rubicon and keeping the overrated The Killing, messing with the budget on The Walking Dead, and messing up on negotiations on Mad Men. If AMC taints Breaking Bad I have a box cutter in my meth lab!

    • Cece

      LOL! I can see it now, negotiations stall & all the outraged fans start sending AMC box cutters.

  • jj

    I’m constantly baffled by how AMC handles its halo shows. They have hit the jackpot (creatively, if not financially) with Breaking Bad and Mad Men, yet they don’t seem to know how to create an environment that supports the shows and (especially) the show-runners. I’m not concerned with BB being able to “show more” on another network. It seems that they’re already quite loose with respect to the level of violence they can show. I’m also cool with how they handle the self-imposed restrictions around language as well (I mean, the impact of Skyler saying “I f***ed Ted” last season was still significant whether I heard the actual word or not). I’d prefer to see them go to HBO or FX, however, because those networks seem to understand how build a following, support the creative teams for their shows, and credit their audience with a degree of intelligence. I give AMC a great deal of respect for having faith in these shows to get them launched, but they don’t seem to know how to support them over the long term.

    Additionally, I’m constantly disappointed that AMC and DirecTV can’t come to an agreement on getting the network in HD. These shows are gorgeous on blu-ray, yet DirecTV viewers are stuck with mediocre SD. I’m sure the problem lies more on the DirecTV side than with AMC, but it’s just a gripe that I have that bothers me every time I watch one of these shows.

    • Dave

      I totally agree about the HD issue. AMC is the only channel I watch regularly that I don’t get in HD with DirecTV.

    • Steve

      Switch to Dish Network, which has AMC in HD.

  • jmag

    This is mind boggling to me…Are you joking AMC..? This better not happen, however it would be cool seeing this show on HBO or Showtime..that will never happen. All i know is they better give them the proper time to finish this brilliant story..

  • Chris

    I can’t believe AMC is pulling something like this, I thought “Story Mattered Here”, ya apparently not They don’t want to give it a proper final season or they want to drag it out for more seasons. It seems like their trying to purposefully ruin one of their own shows. This show if AMC mans up and lets Vince do his thing will go down as one if not the best show there ever was. If it does not cave into Vince than it is no better than ABC and NBC to me

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