Television Business International

TBI Exclusive: International versions of Breaking Bad in the works

Sony Pictures Television is working on deals for local versions of its hit drama series Breaking Bad.

“Four countries are interested in Breaking Bad. We are getting [series creator] Vince Gilligan on the phone with one aspiring licensee this week, in a country where there is a real desire to do it,” Jeff Lerner, senior VP, international told TBI.

SPT is talking to a production company in an unspecified European territory about the format with news expected soon.

“The show has universality, it is about the temptation of easy money and one man’s life struggle, even if his behaviour is on the margins,” Lerner said. “We know this is not a show that can play at 8pm on channels in many places, but there are markets where there is an appetite for this type of content.”

In the US cable net AMC has just finished showing the first part of the final, fifth, season of the gritty drama series. SPT produces and distributes the series.

Sony has enjoyed success with scripted formats with several versions of shows including Everybody Loves Raymond. The focus has largely been on comedy formats, but with Breaking Bad deals in the works and also interest in local versions of The Big C, some of SPT’s big-ticket dramas are set for the remake treatment.

Lerner said Sony is also talking to about a local version of Rules of Engagement for CTC. The Russian free-to-air broadcaster has already aired several versions of Sony formats including Married With Children and King of Queens and discussions are underway about a local version of the sitcom, which still airs on broadcast network CBS in the US.