AMC Renews ‘Breaking Bad’ With 16-Episode Order

Deal ends tense standoff and provides for the final season of the Emmy-winning series

Last Updated: August 15, 2011 @ 10:48 AM

After a tense standoff the led the series producers to approach rival networks, AMC has reached an agreement with Sony Pictures Television to renew the Emmy-winning drama "Breaking Bad."

The deal, according to individuals close to the series, is for 16 episodes. Shooting will begin early next year. No premiere date has yet been announced.

Concerned about its rising overhead — the network had culled much of its resources to renew "Mad Men" over the spring — AMC had sought a shortened final-season run of six to eight episodes.

Also read: AMC Hopes for 'Breaking Bad' Deal 'Fairly Soon,' CEO Says

Negotiations turned so tense at one point that producers approached FX about running the final season of the series, which stars Bryan Cranston in an Emmy-winning role as a high-school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine dealer.

“Breaking Bad’s” fourth season premiered on Sunday, July 18th to the highest ratings ever for the series.  According to AMC, household ratings are 30 percent stronger than season three and season four is delivering 28 percent more total viewers and over 45 percent more adults 18-34 than last season.

Here's the official press release from AMC about the deal:

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.

“Breaking Bad’s” fourth season premiered on Sunday, July 18th to the highest ratings ever for the series. Household ratings are 30% stronger than season three and season four is delivering 28% more total viewers and over 45% more adults 18-34 than last season. The series was recognized as “…the most complete and extraordinary show on TV” by Entertainment Weekly while Daily Variety called it “the most addictive show on the air.”

"From the day we heard Vince Gilligan's completely original vision for ‘Breaking Bad,’ it has been a complete joy to be involved with this show. Watching this story evolve into the complex, compelling, and intense roller coaster ride that it has become has been an incredible creative experience for everyone at AMC. Beyond that, working with Vince, his brilliant cast and crew, and our wonderful partners at Sony has been remarkable in every way. While it is sad to even contemplate the end of this series, we are so happy to have had the chance to go on this ride, and truly look forward to presenting the rest of this amazing story,” said Collier.

“It’s a funny irony — I’d hate to know the date of my own last day on earth, but I’m delighted to know what Walter White’s will be (episodically speaking). This is a great gift to me and to my wonderful writers. It’s knowledge which will allow us to properly build our story to a satisfying conclusion. Now, if we don’t manage to pull that off, we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves,” said Vince Gilligan. “‘Breaking Bad’ has been a dream job these past four years. Working with the best cast and crew in television has no doubt spoiled me for future projects. I’m lucky to get to work with them on sixteen more episodes, and I will always be grateful to both AMC and Sony Television, who from the beginning, believed in our show and supported me creatively and professionally. We have been able to take risks with ‘Breaking Bad’ which would not have been possible on other networks.”

"We’ve watched ‘Breaking Bad’ grow over the years with viewers, as championed by the unwavering support of critics and the well deserved accolades Vince and his talented actors have received. We’re looking forward to seeing Vince’s masterful storytelling come fully to fruition over the course of the series’ final episodes,” said Zack Van Amburg, President, programming for Sony Pictures Television.