After a few months of maybes/probablys/hopefullys, the Breaking Bad spinoff about Saul Goodman is almost definitely happening (Sony Pictures TV, the production company that’s making it, still has to get Bob Odenkirk, Vince Gilligan, and Peter Gould to sign on the dotted line), but a new report at THR claims that it almost didn’t happen at AMC. Other distributors, most notably Netflix, were apparently lining up to throw money at it if AMC couldn’t close the deal.
Indeed, it was the series’ acclaim, rather than the ratings, that had multiple interested distributors — including Netflix, new scripted entrant WGN America and FX, for which Bad was “the show that got away” — ready to pounce on the prequel if AMC could not reach a licensing deal with Sony, say informed sources. Netflix, credited with boosting Bad’s ratings by allowing fans to catch up via streaming, was seen as an especially strong suitor with deep pockets. AMC had an exclusive negotiating window for rights to the spinoff, but multiple sources say there was discord over the timeline of that window, as well as what the licensing fee would be. Negotiations dragged on late into the summer, with a deal done at the eleventh hour.
Just to be clear, this would have looked terrible for AMC. Say what you will about greenlighting two spinoffs in the span of a week and splitting the swan song of another of their few remaining marketable properties into two mini-seasons and how that all kind of reeks of desperation in light of their repeated struggles to launch a new hit show, but if they had lost a prepackaged success about one of the most popular characters on one of the best dramas in TV history to a competitor, well, that might have sent the whole network to Belize, if you get my drift.
Maybe Netflix can still swoop in and nab a Home Alone 2-style spinoff about Huell’s adventures in the safe house. Don’t act like you wouldn’t watch.