Is AMC Networks About to Revive Breaking Bad?

As the search for new content shows no signs of stopping, AMC Networks may be set to revive the massively successful Breaking Bad series.

Jun 3, 2014 at 12:09PM

Frequently referred to as one of the best television dramas ever made, AMC Networks' (NASDAQ:AMCX) Breaking Bad ended on a high note in September 2013. The series finale drew in 10.3 million viewers, which represents a staggering 400% increase from just two seasons ago. 

With seemingly all plot points having been wrapped up nicely and neatly, the future of the series appeared to exist only in the spin-off show Better Call Saul that is set to air in November. In a recent interview, however, Bryan Cranston, who portrayed main character Walter White in the popular series, left the door open for a possible return of the epic crime drama.


Source: Company Facebook 

Spoiler alert
My friend Ana recently had the ending of Breaking Bad spoiled for her. To avoid doing that to anyone here myself, I want to warn readers in advance that Bryan Cranston's interview contains spoilers for the show's conclusion.

Cranston's interview
In a recent interview with CNN, Bryan Cranston hinted that he would be open to returning to the series in some way. When asked whether the show could return at some point, Cranston answered with a simple "never say never." 

Cranston also pointed out that in the series finale, which concluded with Walter White apparently dying on the floor of a meth lab as police officers raced to the scene of the crime, "Hey, you never saw bags zip up or anything." 

Since the actor's tone was playful and light, it could just mean that he was teasing the show's hardcore fan base. However, what if he wasn't? What if one of television's best shows was set to make a return? The impact would be huge for audiences and investors alike.

The quest for content
For media companies, the most pressing concern is always the creation of new content. This constant demand is what makes runaway successes like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead so incredibly valuable.

It is also precisely why companies look to extend them by any means necessary. In the last year, AMC Networks has announced spin-off shows to both popular series. However, a continuation of Breaking Bad would be an even bigger deal.

Clearly, there is a financial reason for AMC Networks to consider reviving Walter White. According to AdAge, AMC was charging up to $400,000 for a thirty-second advertisement during the series finale, which is on par with basic cable juggernauts like American Idol and Modern Family

In AMC Networks' last earnings report with both Breaking Bad and The Waking Dead episodes airing, ad revenue jumped an impressive 36% to $146 million on strong demand for original content. 

In the company's third quarter 2013 conference call, CEO Joshua Sapan explained, "Breaking Bad, which was recognized with two Emmy Awards, including Best Drama Series, wrapped up its run with, I think, it's fair to say, eight wonderfully crafted episodes. Ratings for the final season were up over 100% versus the prior year in key demos." 

However, more important than even the ad revenue numbers of popular drama shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead is the halo effect that they have on AMC Networks. The massive success of the drama shows enhances AMC Networks' overall brand and gives management more leverage when negotiating with cable providers.

AMC Networks' noted struggles with new content creation is what makes media companies like Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) appealing investments. With a more diverse network lineup (including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and The Learning Chanel) and far less dependent on a few hit television shows, Discovery is a safer growth alternative for investors to consider in the space.

Over the years, Discovery has been busy acquiring international companies like French sports network EuroSport to strengthen its overseas presence. With the recent acquisition of Chellomedia, a global cable network operator, AMC Networks has begun to do this as well. However, international expansion can be greatly amplified in the future with the continued success of new content creation in domestic markets.


Is Breaking Bad gone for good? Source: Company Facebook 

Bottom line
With The Walking Dead getting a bit long in the tooth and Mad Men currently in its final season, management at AMC Networks has to find other ways to sustain growth in content.

Although spin-off shows could prove successful going forward, there is probably no surer thing than a resurrection of a monster success like Breaking Bad. With the show's lead actor seemingly on board, audiences and investors alike may have more Bad in their future. This is certainly a good thing.

Despite recent struggles, AMC Networks looks to be headed higher. But is it your next multi-bagger?
Give us five minutes and we'll show how you could own the best stock for 2014. Every year, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hand-picks one stock with outstanding potential. But it's not just any run-of-the-mill company. It's a stock perfectly positioned to cash in on one of the upcoming year's most lucrative trends. Last year his pick skyrocketed 134%. And previous top picks have gained upwards of 908%, 1,252% and 1,303% over the subsequent years! Believe me, you don't want to miss what could be his biggest winner yet! Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014" today.

Philip Saglimbeni has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends AMC Networks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

Something big just happened

I don't know about you, but I always pay attention when one of the best growth investors in the world gives me a stock tip. Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner (whose growth-stock newsletter was rated #1 in the world by The Wall Street Journal)* and his brother, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner, just revealed two brand new stock recommendations moments ago. Together, they've tripled the stock market's return over 12+ years. And while timing isn't everything, the history of Tom and David's stock picks shows that it pays to get in early on their ideas.

Click here to be among the first people to hear about David and Tom's newest stock recommendations.

*"Look Who's on Top Now" appeared in The Wall Street Journal which references Hulbert's rankings of the best performing stock picking newsletters over a 5-year period from 2008-2013.

Compare Brokers