Vince Gilligan wrote the pilot for CBS’s new cop drama Battle Creek so long ago – 12 years – that he can’t remember why he decided to call it Battle Creek. Star Josh Duhamel reminded Gilligan he’d told him that when he was a kid he was eating breakfast cereal and saw the name on the side of the box.
Gilligan let it stand, adding, “I’m fascinated by the name — it’s got ‘Battle’ and yet it’s cereal.”
Duhamel plays FBI agent Milton Chamberlain, who teams up in the series with Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, Mich.
CBS is selling Battle Creek to viewers as the Next Big Series from the creator of Breaking Bad. Gilligan is selling it as the pilot he wrote 12 years ago and does not have time to bring to series at CBS because of his commitment on his AMC Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul. He said as much last week when he appeared at the tour to plug the spinoff. Today’s version went like this: “I’m sorry I’m not a bigger part of [Battle Creek] as I would like to be because of my duties on Better Call Saul,” adding, “I’m lucky to be up here on this stage” with the cast and exec producers, “who do a great job.”
Critics seemed disappointed too, which, in turn, seemed … Read More »
When AMC first announced its Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul, it was called a prequel that would focus on the evolution of Bob Odenkirk‘s popular Saul Goodman character before Saul became Walter White’s lawyer. Today, answering TV critics’ questions about reports the sequel will jump around in time, as had Breaking Bad, exec producer Vince Gilligan responded: “I think the best way to answer this is that you saw, from Breaking Bad, we like nonlinear storytelling. I would definitely point you in the direction of anything that is possible on Breaking Bad is possible on Better Call Saul. It’s fun for us to be as nonlinear as possible.”
That said, the series will have as its base the start year of 2002, Gilligan said. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece,” he said. “I can’t believe it myself — it’s like it was yesterday, but it was 12 years ago.”
(UPDATE: Gilligan and fellow exec producer/writer Peter Gould also revealed that Goodman’s character won’t be called Saul Goodman: He will be known as Jimmy McGill as the series tracks his transformation from a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet into Saul Goodman.)
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TV critics — major Breaking Bad fans — immediately began asking which characters from that beloved series they could expect to see brought back in the first season of Saul. Gilligan and Gould said they are now working on Episode 8 and have yet to bring back anyone. “We’re trying to make something that stands on its own, that has entertainment value not just as seeing a series of old favorites or “remember when” – not the series equivalent of a clip show,” Gould explained.
“We’re still feeling our way through this…figuring out if and when — when and if — to see some of these characters,” Gilligan added, ominously
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Bryan Singer directed the pilot for David Shore‘s hit Fox medical drama series House, which the two executive produced for its entire eight-season run. Now they are reuniting on Shore’s follow-up series, CBS‘ Battle Creek. The straight-to-series project, written by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Shore, centers on Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) and FBI agent Milton Chamberlain, who have different worldviews but are teamed up to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, MI. Gilligan, who created Battle Creek several years ago, and Shore, who will serve as showrunner, will executive produce with Singer and Mark Johnson. Jason Taylor of Singer’s banner Bad Hat Harry will serve as a producer alongside Erin Gunn of Shore’s Shore Z. Singer is the second House alum to join Battle Creek, along with co-star Kal Penn. This is the second straight-to-series drama WME-repped Singer is executive producing; he also serves in the same capacity on ABC’s upcoming Black Box. On the feature side, he is putting final touches on his third X-Men movie, X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Janet McTeer is set to co-star opposite Kal Penn in Battle Creek, CBS’ high-profile CBS series from Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore. The project, from Sony TV and CBS Studios, centers on a detective and an FBI agent with very different world views who are teamed up to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, MI. McTeer, repped by The Schiff Co and Curtis Brown in the UK, will play Commander Guziewicz, Commander of the Battle Creek Police Department. This marks the first major role for Oscar-nominated British actress McTeer on a U.S. broadcast series. Her recent series credits include Starz’s The White Queen and FX’s Damages. She can next be seen in Hugo Blick’s Honourable Woman for the BBC.
UPDATED WITH ALL WINNERS AND SPEECHES: The 66th annual DGA Awards was held tonight at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, hosted by Jane Lynch. The DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film went to Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. This was his first DGA nomination. Cuaron reflected on his research for the film, which in many ways, focuses on Gravity‘s philosophical commentary on humanity. “We saw all these photographs of earth from space, and it’s absolutely beautiful; hues of greens and blues,” explained Cuaron, “Everything seems so organic (from space). Those silly lines and boundaries we put on political maps, you can’t see that from space. It’s a bizarre experiment of nature, that is the human experience. And it’s what we as directors try to sort out as filmmakers.” It’s worth recalling that while cuaron hasn’t made a bad movie, getting Gravity made was very difficult. Universal kicked it to the curb after Angelina Jolie dropped out. Warner bros took it in, but it was in peril after Robert Downey Jr. decided not to play the role George Clooney wound up playing. the studio looked at several actresses including Natalie Portman, before deciding on Sandra Bullock. It was a real show of faith by Warner Bros, whose movie chief Jeff Robinov championed the project. It has become an outsized global hit, following in the footsteps of Life Of Pi and Avatar. It was this movie that inspired TriStar’s Tom Rothman to want to make his first film To Reach The Clouds, the Robert Zemeckis directed film about Philippe Petit’s groundbreaking high wire walk from the North to South Tower of the World Trade Center in 1974. They are hoping Joseph Gordon Levitt will play him and that production will begin by summer. In the other major film award, Jehane Noujaim was honored as Best Documentary Director for The Square. TV winners included Vince Gilligan for Breaking Bad’s “Felina” episode, Steven Soderbergh for Behind The Candelabra and Beth McCarthy-Miller for the 30 Rock finale.
DGA Awards Film: ‘Gravity’ Soars With DGA Win For Alfonso Cuaron
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The hottest showrunner at the moment is a free agent no more. Breaking Bad creator/executive producer Vince Gilligan has signed a rich new overall deal with Sony Pictures TV, the studio behind his acclaimed AMC drama. There had been strong interest among all studios in signing Gilligan, whose Sony TV overall deal had expired. I hear it came down to Sony and Warner Bros TV, with Gilligan ultimately opting to stay at his home for the past six years. “Vince is an incredible writer and partner, and he shares our vision for the business and for the kinds of projects we’re passionate about,” said SPT president of programming and production Jamie Erlicht. “There wasn’t a world where we weren’t making this deal.”
Gilligan already has two new series with Sony TV, Battle Creek at CBS and the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul at AMC. Those projects will remain outside the eight-figure new Sony overall deal, which is strictly for television. It will cover all future TV development by The X Files alum Gilligan, who is expected to focus his attention to cable where had his biggest success with Breaking Bad. The dark AMC drama became that rare underrated cable show, which grew into a monster critical and commercial hit and a pop culture phenomenon. The first part … Read More »
Stephen Colbert, who has had a Very Special Relationship with Breaking Bad — Colbert’s ice cream made a cameo appearance in the penultimate episode, after which Colbert described the government shutdown as a Washington version of Breaking Bad (sympathetic star is changed into an egotistical self-destructive maniac over many episodes. And, last night, he snagged BB creator Vince Gilligan’s first solo interview since the show shuttered Sunday night. Gilligan noted he’d partied until midnight before hopping on a cross-country flight to guest on The Colbert Report, adding “I’d fly 10,000 miles for you, Stephen.” Here’s the video (beware autoplay): Read More »
Living on the East Coast, I got a jump on West Coast viewers and just finished watching the final episode of AMC‘s Breaking Bad. Feel free to make comments on the events of the episode here, after the final credits roll in the West Coast broadcast. But for now I’m not giving up spoilers. Suffice to say that the unfinished business of the hapless chemistry teacher Walter White, who becomes the ruthless meth magnate Heisenberg, get wrapped up tonight. And there are some stunning surprises thrown in on the score-settling tour. The episode plays like a roller coaster, and the uphill rise takes about 45 minutes. Then it’s all downhill for the next 30. Still seems remarkable given Vince Gilligan’s origins and Bryan Cranston‘s comedy background they would be able to generate a series this intense and dramatically compelling, but now they become another touchstone (the just wrapped Dexter is another) in what will go down as the most profound golden age of cable television series, wrought by a lot of quality feature writers who took their trade to the small screen when Hollywood turned its back on those middle-ground dramas in favor of global appeal movies that have a certain sameness to them. There is a sense of authorship in these cable series, from Homeland to Ray Donovan to Sons Of Anarchy to Game … Read More »
In a dream pairing, the man of the hour, Vince Gilligan, coming off a best series win on Sunday for his hit AMC drama Breaking Bad, has teamed with House creator David Shore for Battle Creek, which has closed at CBS with a series production order for the 2014-15 season. The drama project, which I hear has a 13-episode commitment, was originally created by Gilligan a decade ago. It comes from Sony TV, which produced Breaking Bad and has an overall deal with Shore. Sony will co-produce with CBS TV Studios, with Gilligan, Shore and Breaking Bad EP Mark Johnson executive producing. Shore will serve as showrunner, with Gilligan interested in directing. It’s been a very strong last few days for Sony TV, which scored a best drama series win on Sunday for Breaking Bad, a strong opening for its new NBC series The Blacklist on Monday, followed by the series order for Battle Creek today.
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Breaking Bad‘s Saul Goodman will live on at AMC. After lengthy negotiations, the cable network and Breaking Bad producer Sony Pictures TV have reached a licensing agreement for a spinoff from Vince Gilligan‘s acclaimed drama series. The spinoff series, tentatively titled Better Call Saul, had been in the works for months. It centers on one of Breaking Bad‘s most recognizable supporting characters, Bob Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. Conceived by Breaking Bad creator Gilligan and series writer-producer Peter Gould — who created the Saul character together for a Season 2 episode written by Gould — the spinoff will be a one-hour prequel that will focus on the evolution of the Goodman character before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer, AMC said. The network wouldn’t elaborate on the project’s status, but I’ve learned Better Call Saul has a series order pending the complication of Sony TV’s deals with Gilligan, Gould and Odenkirk. The pact between AMC and Sony TV came after talks between the two sides came down to the wire, with other outlets, including Netflix, which has had huge success with Breaking Bad, very interested in snatching the spinoff series.
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At Least Four UK Nets Lining Up To Bid For FA Cup Rights
A bidding war reportedly is gearing up in the UK for TV rights to soccer tournament the FA Cup for the three seasons to 2017-18. Financial Times reports that BT, ITV, BSkyB and the BBC are entering bids. BT and ITV currently share rights to the FA Cup until the end of the 2013-14 season. FT says analysts predict that having all four in the ring could significantly push up the cost of the rights. In January 2012, ITV acquired free-to-air broadcast rights for 16 FA Cup games per season, along with some of England’s home qualifying games, for an annual cost of £43M. But the BBC is understood to be concerned about its lack of live soccer during the regular season. BT and BSkyB are still expected to be the most aggressive bidders.
Shanghai Now Second-Biggest Box Office Among Chinese Cities
Shanghai box office has become the second biggest of all mainland Chinese cities and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next few years, spurred on by investment from U.S. studios Disney and DreamWorks, according to a study by Artisan Gateway. In 2012, Shanghai’s box office was $214.2 million, a 22.2% year-on-year growth. The city, regarded as the birthplace of Chinese cinema, has 122 movie theaters, just two more than the No. 1 Beijing market. The U.S. Consulate, which sponsored the study, said it plans to contribute more to protecting IP rights, Shanghai Daily reported. Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s television coverage.
It began with a pitch about a drama in which the lead character evolves from “Mr. Chips into Scarface.” But Vince Gilligan never thought he would get this far with Breaking Bad, his AMC series masterpiece that has the rare luxury of going out via a two-pronged, 16-episode final season that begins tonight and concludes sometime next summer. The onetime X-Files writer-producer recently hinted that this may not really be the beginning of the end, that Breaking Bad could spin off into another series starring Bob Odenkirk as blustery and corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman. But before that happens, there’s an Emmy-winning series to put to rest. Gilligan spoke to Ray Richmond last week for Deadline about running a drama hailed as a classic, his obsession with going out on top, and the fact everyone has a theory for how this thing should end.
Deadline: Do you ever feel like your career is kind of peaking with this show and it’s going to be all downhill from here?
Vince Gilligan: I say that a lot. And all joking aside, it’s something that you think about. On the one hand you say to yourself, I am so extraordinarily lucky to be doing this, much as a lottery winner is lucky. You think to yourself, man I worked hard to get here. On the other hand, I don’t remember doing anything specific for which I deserve this particular level of good fortune. And then once you start going down that road, you think to yourself, if this really was a matter of winning the lottery, well then how do you win twice?
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Breaking Bad is heading to Germany in the second episode of the new season, showrunner Vince Gilligan said today. Gilligan also told the Comic-Con crowd that audiences should expect more German accents than Spanish accents this upcoming season based on some financial deals that Walter White has made. He also said the White character finally does something that removes all sympathy for the character. “This season is all about winning and staying on top,” he added. “As we wind down to 16 episodes, we’re cranking it up,” said star Bryan Cranston. He also noted that Sunday’s opener is “not violent but intellectual.” His onscreen partner in crime Aaron Paul, whose catchphrase of the opening episode “magnets, bitch” he revealed, described the new season as “eerie”. That wasn’t all the audience learned about the upcoming season. Two days before the Season 5 debut of AMC’s Breaking Bad, the crowd tonight at Comic-Con got a glimpse of what’s to come. If the gunplay in the short preview they showed in Ballroom 20 this evening is any indication, the opener might not be so violent but the new season of Breaking Bad is going to be very, very violent. Also new characters will be added, and the Skinny Pete character played by Charles Baker is coming back. The preview showed that Walter White’s cooking meth again and his wife Skylar is on board. And after an initial attempt at killing Walt for the death of Gus at the end of season four, Mike Ehrmantraut has joined him and Jesse Pinkman. Read More »
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has signed a new overall deal with the studio behind the acclaimed AMC drama series, Sony Pictures TV. The rich 18-month pact kicks in retroactively to November, when Gilligan’s previous deal with the studio expired (he has been working on the show without a contract for the past three months), and will keep him at Sony though June 2013. The deal covers Gilligan’s services as executive producer/showrunner on the final 16 episodes of Breaking Bad, which will begin production in late March. The order will be filmed in two batches of eight episodes, with a break of several months between for writers to work on scripts. The pact also includes development component, with Gilligan expected to focus on new projects for Sony after he wraps Breaking Bad. Read More »
There was no Kurt Sutter reaction to AMC’s renewal of Breaking Bad yesterday. That’s because the refreshingly uncensored Sons of Anarchy creator had just pulled the plug on his Twitter feed, days after he blamed the protracted negotiations for the Vince Gilligan-created Breaking Bad and the firing of The Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont on Matt Weiner’s megadeal for Mad Men. “No one else wants to f**king say it, but the greed of Mad Men is killing the other two best shows on TV — Breaking Bad and Walking Dead,” Sutter wrote last week. “Why Darabont got fired — Weiner. He held AMC hostage, broke their bank, budgets were slashed, shit rolled down hill onto Gilligan and Frank. Those, along with the recent anti-TV Academy zingers, are now just a distant memory. Here is Sutter blog post on his exit from Twitter: Read More »
‘Breaking Bad’ Eyes Two-Season Finale
AMC President On ‘Breaking Bad’ Order, ‘Walking Dead’ Budget & ‘Mad Men’ Deal
After tense and public negotiations, AMC just closed a deal with producer Sony Pictures TV to renew dark drama Breaking Bad for a final batch of 16 episodes. The episodes are expected to be filmed together but may be split into two seasons, with a final scheduling decision to be made at a later date. The deal comes just as the series was facing two deadlines: its license deal with AMC was set to expire tomorrow and the options on the actors are up Aug. 31. The two sides have reached a compromise over the stickiest issue — who will cover the series’ budget of $3 million-plus. I hear both Sony TV and AMC will contribute. While negotiations were contentious and Sony did flirt with the idea of moving Breaking Bad to another network, the two sides started making progress over the past two weeks, leading to today’s deal. With the series renewal secured, Sony TV now has to make a new deal with Breaking Bad creator/executive producer Vince Gilligan, who doesn’t have a contract beyond Season 4 but is fully expected to return for the series’ final hurrah. The cast, led by Emmy winners Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, may also renegotiate their deals.
UPDATE 6 PM: AMC just issued a release announcing the final pickup for Breaking Bad. Here it is:
New York – NY, August, 14, 2011 – AMC announced today that “Breaking Bad,” the Emmy Award-winning and critically lauded drama series from acclaimed writer/producer/director Vince Gilligan has been renewed for a 16 episode order that will conclude the series. Production on all episodes of the final order will commence in early 2012. The roll-out of the episodes and premiere date schedule has yet to be determined by the network. The announcement was made by Charlie Collier, president of AMC.
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This should be encouraging news for Mad Men, whose upcoming fifth season also has been delayed – after 13 month off the air, AMC’s dark drama Breaking Bad posted its highest ratings ever in its return last night. The fourth season premiere of the series starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul drew 2.6 million viewers, up 30% from the Season 3 premiere in March 2010, and 1.45 million in adults 18-49, up 26%, and 1.43 million in 25-54, up 22%. In 18-49 and 25-54, Breaking Bad marked AMC’s second highest-rated season premiere ever behind last year’s series debut of The Walking Dead. Among adults 18-49, Breaking Bad outpaced the July 2010 Season 4 premiere of Mad Men by 19%. So far, Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan, has grown every season.