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.”

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Breaking Bad

Walter White descends into the criminal underworld.

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