The future hit was a hard pass for most networks.
Hindsight is always 20/20, right? Certainly, the networks that said "No" to Breaking Bad came to regret it, as the AMC smash racked up ratings and collected awards. The networks that passed, for different reasons, include HBO, Showtime, TNT, and FX.
Breaking Bad isn't a how-to guide for crystal meth.
Thanks to some sage advice from the DEA and other consultants who assisted, producers made certain that the science in Breaking Bad was never perfect. The show has even helped people kick illegal drugs. In New Mexico, high addiction rates are battled in part by the Breaking Addiction scholarship, which trades on the show's immense popularity and offers a shot at 12 weeks of free rehab treatment.
AMC wanted Matthew Broderick or John Cusack as Walter White.
A former executive for the network once told The Hollywood Reporter about AMC's reluctance to cast the dad from Malcolm in the Middle as the lead. They originally pushed for more established names like Matthew Broderick and John Cusack.
For an acclaimed drama there were a lot of comedians.
Creator, Head Writer, and Executive Producer Vince Gilligan once remarked, "If you can do comedy you can do drama. It doesn't necessarily flow the other way." Much like his old gig, The X-Files, which gave him his big break after he submitted a script for Season 2, Breaking Bad often cast comedians in dramatic roles. Bryan Cranston himself was once a fledgling comic, well before his role in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. Bob Odenkirk, star of the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, is the accomplished co-creator of Mr. Show. Breaking Bad also featured familiar standup faces like Bill Burr, Lavell Crawford, Steven Michael Quezada, and Javier Grajeda.