Ever since Breaking Bad went off the air, AMC has been desperately searching for the next Breaking Bad. Now the network hopes it has found it…with their new Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul, which paneled today at winter press tour.
As I wrote at Adweek, Vince Gilligan, the creator of both Breaking Bad and its spinoff, says the sky’s the limit when it comes to Breaking Bad characters popping up on Better Call Saul — well, everyone except Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
“Walt and Jesse don’t show up in Season 1. But everything else is on the table,” co-creator Peter Gould told reporters at today’s press event. “We want this thing to stand on its own.” (Also, as the AMC panel pointed out, Jesse Pinkman would have been in middle school during Better Call Saul’s first season.)
Before introducing the Better Call Saul panel, AMC president Charlie Collier talked about the “dramatic change” facing in the network, and why AMC is now operating in “a Live + 365 environment” (do advertisers know?).
After I’d recovered from last night’s riveting Breaking Bad series finale, I finished up this Quartz story about the daunting task ahead of AMC:
But despite the stellar ratings, AMC is now in the same position HBO found itself after The Sopranos finale aired back in 2007. With no other clear-cut heirs to Tony Soprano’s throne, the network stumbled for a couple years (with poorly-received shows such as John From Cincinnati, Hung and How to Make it in America) before finally bouncing back with hits such as Game of Thrones and critically-acclaimed series such as Girls, Veep, Boardwalk Empire and The Newsroom.
With Breaking Bad now completed and its other media darling, Mad Men, about to start its final season (more on that later), AMC has hit a similar run of bad luck.
I have my concerns about AMC’s “everything old is new again” approach to its programming slate. We’ll have to see if they can avoid HBO’s post-Sopranos funk.