Not to be too frequenting of television or even just Breaking Bad on this site, but Breaking Bad has left a lasting mark on television, and for showrunner Vince Gilligan, it was the “best job I will likely ever have.”
Has there ever been a showrunner, beyond Aaron Sorkin, whose got more than one named television series to their… names? Gilligan’s anxiety might be justified, but it might be like Robert Rodriguez’s, fresh off of his first big success, was worried about losing the spotlight upon his ‘sophomore slump.’ No, that was your predecessor, John Singleton…
Among his projected next moves was a show for a network, Battle Creek, which comes packed with the exciting premise of “two detectives with very different world views who are teamed up.” But let’s leave that aside for now, I don’t mean to poke eyes.
The question is “Why CBS?” CBS is the network that rakes in the highest ratings by creating these nonsensical schedules filled with the vilest mix of reality TV, derivative dramas, and cheap comedies (sometimes still with laugh-tracks). It’s the lowest common denominator principle — contrasting with early AMC, who’ll get a relatively small number of people who are intensely interested, CBS will attract everyone, but nobody super cares.
The sophomore slump question may after all be a factor here, because even though Gilligan is certainly established as a major talent, the executives at CBS will hit harder and demand more influence over the creative project. And that’s what’s expected, it’s not unfair for them to maintain a certain brand, one that obviously B&E the Industry doesn’t agree with, but is proven.
What’s more interesting to me is the idea of what failure could mean, and it is more likely than any scenario where our man Vince does not go to CBS, because Creator of a TV series does not have the same cache as Movie Director. And in Hollywood it’s all about ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and for fans, their DVRs don’t lack for work.
A man like this this should not be forgotten, so I’ll urge you to keep him in your mind, an open mind, but I would never ask you to keep an open mind about a damn, dirty CBS show.