‘Sons Of Anarchy’ And Four More Popular Shows That HBO Passed On

Senior Pop Culture Editor
12.09.14 22 Comments
HBO isn’t exactly struggling these days. Game of Thrones, True Detective, Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm (eventually), The Comeback — these are all highly watched or critically admired (or in some cases, both) series that make having access to an HBO Go account mandatory. Clearly, they’re doing a lot of things right. But it doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Here are five super-popular shows that HBO had the chance to snag, but declined to pick up for various reasons.

1. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are two of the biggest shows on TV, and HBO almost had them both. Producer Gale Anne Hurd originally approached NBC, an executive for which memorably commented, “This is awesome. I really love this. Does it have to have zombies in it,” and HBO. Oddly, they said no because of the show’s extreme violence.

Hurd wasn’t willing to compromise when it came to Kirkman’s vision. Which is why, when NBC and HBO both said that they’d be willing to commit to a The Walking Dead television series if the production team significantly toned down the graphic novels’ violence and gore, Gale said, “No, thank you,” and began shopping the show around to other networks. (Via)

But a mountain of a man popping another guy’s eyeballs? They’re cool with that.

2. Sons of Anarchy

Before Sons of Anarchy was FX’s Sons of Anarchy, it was almost HBO’s Forever Sam Crow, because, according to Variety, “[Creator Kurt] Sutter and [producers] Art and John Linson originally pitched Forever Sam Crow to HBO but eventually struck a deal with FX,” despite the cable channel having recently picked up a “different biker gang project.” Think how long the episodes could have been on HBO!

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