As ‘Mad Men’ Aims For Emmy Record, History Reveals Show Almost Never Saw Light Of Day

Mad Men is widely considered to be among the best shows made during ever-so-brief 21st century and that is proven again tonight (September 20) with the show nominated for 11 Emmy awards across a broad spectrum of categories. According to the Associated Press, a win tonight of a fifth Emmy for the series as “best drama” would make it the most awarded drama to ever hit the airwaves. But Mad Men was not always the sought after show people see today.

In a piece on Forbes, the drama about ad man Don Draper is described as a show that could not find a home for much of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the show’s producers going to network after network looking for a home for the drama that changed television forever.

“Interesting about Mad Men is that the show nearly died before making it to television screens. As Brett Martin recounts in his 2013 book Difficult Men, Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, the now globally renowned Mad Men was passed up by networks and cable television shows for eight years before AMC finally put it into production.”

Forbes writer John Tamny goes on to note that several other shows have seen a similar struggle to make it to air. He notes that Breaking Bad (alluded to in the book’s title), another show that has become both critically acclaimed and a national favorite, was nearly sidelined after the show’s writers never heard back from HBO, among other networks.

The same network that passed on Breaking Bad also passed on production of Mad Men, meaning AMC – formerly a cable network not known for original programming – landed the gold mine that tonight is nominated for 11 Emmy awards and has forever changed the American television landscape.

What do you think? Is Mad Men the show that should be vying for the most decorated television drama on television? Did HBO and other networks make huge errors by not seizing the opportunity to air the show on their airwaves? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

[Image via Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images]