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 … Read More »