As Breaking Bad, aka everyone's favourite TV show ever/at the moment, comes to an end, all eyes are on the stars and creator for their next step. While Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul head for blockbuster movies (Godzilla and Need For Speed, respectively), show-runner Vince Gilligan has just signed on for a new crime show on CBS.
But, if televisual history has taught us anything, it's that he should be very careful. Moving on from a red hot show isn't always easy, in fact, it's damn tough. Here are 10 examples of that horrible next show problem...
After the hugely frustrating yet hugely successful Lost finally showed its cards and ended after a whopping six seasons, JJ Abrams was a hugely sought after talent on the small screen. During his time on the island, he exec-produced a couple of other, less popular shows (What About Brian, Six Degrees) but his first post-Lost credit as co-creator came in 2010. Undercovers, a show he also exec-produced, directed and wrote, focused on a couple who were also CIA agents. Middling reviews and rapidly falling ratings meant the show was cancelled after just 11 episodes.
After a large time in the wilderness, it took a slightly, okay extremely, far-fetched show about terrorism to put Kiefer Sutherland back in the good books of the industry. 24 lasted for eight seasons and Sutherland became the highest paid actor in television, nabbing $40 million for three seasons. After some big screen roles, he returned to TV for Touch, where he played the father of a psychic boy. While ratings started well, things went downhill fast. Yet despite ending the season with a quarter of the viewers it started with, a second season was greenlit. It tanked. Next for Sutherland: more 24. Wise choice.
Next show:The Class
Although Friends, the show he co-created with Marta Kaufman, might never have experienced a huge ratings dive, David Crane had less luck outside of Central Perk. But while his shows during the 10 season monopoly of Friends (Jesse and Veronica's Closet) might have fizzled, they were monster hits compared to The Class. The CBS sitcom, about a group of former classmates, only lasted one season and was replaced by The Big Bang Theory, a show which has sort of done rather well...
David E Kelley
Hit show:Ally McBeal
Next show:Girls Club
Ridicule it as much as you like, but Ally McBeal made it to a whopping 112 episodes. The comedy drama with a surrealist slant was another hit from LA Law and Chicago Hope writer David E Kelley. But once ratings declined and the show ended, Kelley tried to replicate the formula with Girls Club. It was a drama about three female lawyers juggling their work lives and their blah blah blah. Yeah, it failed but Kelley luckily found another hit in the shape of Boston Legal.
Hit show:The OC
Next show:The Beautiful Life: TBL
An unusually successful primetime teen show, The OC launched a bunch of new faces into the spotlight but it was one of the slightly recognisable ones who became a star. Previously seen in small roles in The Sixth Sense and Notting Hill, Mischa Barton was a recurring figure on the front of glossy magazines for the duration of the show. But after it ended, and her movie career stalled, she returned to TV in The Beautiful Life: TBL, a disastrous show about models in New York City. The show tanked and was cancelled after just two episodes. Next up for Barton? A film called Gutsy Frog.
Hit show: Seinfeld
Next show:Bob Patterson
Although it might have been bizarrely dumped in a late night slot on BBC2 over here, Seinfeld enjoyed nine years as the biggest sitcom in the US. Even the final season averaged around 38 million viewers a week. So it was a given that the stars were all in demand once the last episode aired. Jason Alexander's first solo project was Bob Patterson, a sitcom that saw him play a motivational speaker called, yep, Bob Patterson. Reviews weren't kind and neither were ratings. The show was cancelled after just five episodes, with the remaning ones just lost in the ether.
Will Arnett and Mitchell Hurwitz
Hit show:Arrested Development
Next show:Running Wilde
Okay, so while Arrested Development might not have been the ratings grabber it should have been, it was a universally adored show. But before it was saved from the scrapheap by Netflix, creator Mitchell Hurwitz and star Will Arnett hoped that lightning would strike again for the pair of them. They teamed up for Running Wilde, a show that saw Arnett play a selfish bachelor trying to woo his environmentalist childhood sweetheart. The show didn't even last two months and the remaining episodes were shown on FX the year after.
Running for a mammoth 11 seasons, Cheers saw a great many actors come and go between 1982 and 1993. But throughout, Ted Danson remained the constant star. After the show finally ended, he dabbled with some big screen roles but returned to TV alongside his wife Mary Steenburgen in the CBS sitcom Ink. The plot, get this, had the two play once-married journalists forced to make nice when Steenburgen becomes Danson's boss. Despite the completely tired concept, the show was cancelled after just one season. A Cheers reunion, anyone?
Hit show:The West Wing
Next show:Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
Managing to create a show about politics that appealed to a large cross-section of American TV watchers is no easy feat so Aaron Sorkin's work on The West Wing was duly awarded all of the Emmys ever. After departing in the fifth season, all eyes were on Sorkin to see what he might come up with next. In 2006, his follow-up Studio 60 was pitted against 30 Rock as both concerned themselves around fictional SNL-esque shows. Although ratings and reviews started off well, things went bad pretty fast and the show was cancelled after one season while 30 Rock made it to seven. Sorkin has since found more TV success with The Newsroom.
Hit show:The X Files
Next show:The Lone Gunmen
If you lives through the 90s and didn't get obsessed with The X Files then go away, we don't want you here. The phenomenally successful sci-fi show lasted for a whopping 202 episodes and hoping to extend the love, creator Chris Carter made a spin-off featuring the lone gunmen. It received some decent reviews but ratings dropped and it was cancelled after just 13 episodes. Point worth making: in one of the episodes, the gunmen received an email from an "ingenious chimp". Point made.
(Images: Rex Features)