Breaking Bad Breaking Bad

Could AMC lose Breaking Bad?

Sony Pictures Television, which produces the show, is shopping the critically acclaimed drama to other networks following "tense" talks with AMC over the fate of the fifth (and likely final) season, TheWrap reports.

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AMC President Charlie Collier, however, told the site that he is optimistic that the show will remain on the network.

Discussions between AMC and Sony became heated earlier this week when AMC requested, in a cost-saving measure, that the fifth season be cut down to six to eight episodes, as opposed to the current fourth season's 13, as the Los Angeles Times first reported. From there, Sony approached other outlets for pick-up, including FX, according to The Wrap. FX had already been pitched the show before it landed on AMC, but the network passed, apparently figuring itself already at anti-hero capacity.

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The tense tone of the negotiations have since improved when AMC reneged on the shortened-season request, but no deal is in place, The Wrap says.

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The Breaking Bad dispute is just the latest in a series of them at AMC. Mad Men executive producer Matthew Weiner was initially asked to cut six characters over three seasons. He balked, AMC gave in, and Mad Men is signed through its seventh season (its delayed fifth season launches in 2012). Frank Darabont, meanwhile, departed from his post as Walking Dead showrunner last month.