For the past 4 or 5 years, the cable network AMC, the new kid on the block for original programming has placed itself head and shoulders above most TV networks with its brilliant selection of original series. They are currently home to two of the most talked about shows on TV: Mad Men and Breaking Bad, plus they have achieved commercial success with their two other series The Walking Dead and The Killing. This simple line up shows that AMC is a force to be reckoned with.
But in recent times, deals over at the network have not been particularly rosy. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner fought hard to make sure he got a fifth, sixth and seventh seasons of his masterly 60’s set drama exactly on his terms. Then, last week, Frank Darabont left The Walking Dead as show runner with various speculations as to why he departed, ranging from fall outs over budget cuts to him not being able to cope with the workload.
Now, with negotiations for a fifth season of Breaking Bad underway, things are looking worse than ever. With budgetary cuts being made all round, the executives had reportedly asked the creative team, led by Vince Gilligan, to have the season contain 6 to 8 episodes instead of 13. This was promptly rejected and then in a very curious move, the co-producers on the show (Sony), sent out word to three other networks in case the talks fell through. The first season contained only 7 episodes but that was a result of the Writer’s Strike.
Negotiations always become tense towards the end of a shows run for various reasons, mostly to do with payment and budget. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul‘s fees are likely to have sky rocketed after winning Emmy awards, the former winning 3 consecutively. And with budget cuts happening to reportedly accommodate the Mad Men deal, AMC is going to have to wrestle and carefully attribute money in order for everyone to be happy. The Walking Dead has already lost $250,000 per episode this season, Breaking Bad will likely have its budget cut as well if the season run isn’t going to be shortened.
If Breaking Bad does move (and its very unlikely) there will likely be a few more seasons. Gilligan’s plan originally was to have 4 seasons, he has extended to it to 5 and will after that be finished. AMC knows how big the show is for them critically and although they still have the juggernaut of Mad Men, they cannot afford to lose it. Many claim it to be the finest show on television and it is indeed one of them. Breaking Bad is currently airing its 4th season, The Walking Dead will debut in October.
Source: LA Times