The question of whether AMC will indeed split the final season of Breaking Bad is close to an official verdict.
Emmy-winning series star Bryan Cranston says AMC will break the award-winning drama’s final 16-episode season into two separate runs, as has been speculated for months. “We’re splitting it,” says Cranston, who’s currently shooting the fifth season premiere in New Mexico. “We’re going to shoot the first eight, then take a four-month production break, then the rest will air next year.”
The network has not announced a premiere date for Breaking Bad, though actors on the show say the drama will return in July.
AMC and Sony Pictures TV have maintained radio silence on the show’s return and distribution plan. A studio spokesperson says the four-month production hiatus is “one scenario” that’s being considered. The network wants to divide the final season so it has a strong summer drama airing this year and the next (it would also presumably allow Breaking Bad to be eligible for two award-season cycles). With Breaking Bad production under way and summer right around the corner, obviously the schedule should get firmed up soon, though AMC has shown a willingness to engage in some production brinksmanship in the past.
Cranston, who’s directing the upcoming April 11 episode of ABC’s Modern Family, is expected to direct the ninth episode of Breaking Bad’s final season (the 2013 premiere, assuming all goes according to plan).
“We pick up right where we left off,” Cranston says of the fifth-season opener. “We’re cleaning up the pieces from last season’s huge ordeal where Gus Fring was forced to meet his maker. It’s not as easy as Walter thought. And as we’ve discovered over the years, you don’t really know who Walter White is. I’m still discovering who he is and I’m trying to allow myself to be open to him going darker and darker. There’s physical danger to himself and his family, plus there’s the emotional danger due to his anger and hubris. It’s about the evil that men do and where that takes him.”