“When viewing the pilot for Breaking Bad it was clear we had something special on our hands that would connect with our audience and deliver on AMC’s mandate to create destination television for our movie-loving audience,” stated AMC General Manager and Executive Vice President Charlie Collier. “AMC is focused on creating a unique environment where the quality of our original programming matches the iconic films that are showcased on the network. Breaking Bad is a powerful addition that does just that.”
“Breaking Bad is a surprising and exciting next move for AMC’s original production,” stated Rob Sorcher, AMC’s Executive Vice President of Programming and Production. “The series stops you in your tracks, with intelligent, cinematic, and distinctive storytelling combined with a tremendously talented creative team. There is nothing like Breaking Bad on television today.”
“This caliber of writing, directing and producing is the reason we have chased Vince for years,” said Jamie Erlicht, co-president, programming and production, Sony Pictures Television. Adds co-president Zack VanAmburg, “With the series pickup, AMC is demonstrating that they’re serious about producing provocative, quality original programming, and we’re extremely happy to be working with them.”
Breaking Bad is a dramatic series that follows protagonist, Walter White (Cranston) a chemistry teacher who lives in New Mexico with his wife (Gunn) and teenage son (Mitte) who has cerebral palsy. White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given a prognosis of two years left to live. With a new sense of fearlessness based on his medical prognosis, and a desire to secure his family’s financial security, White chooses to enter a dangerous world of drugs and crime and ascends to power in this world. The series will explore how a fatal diagnosis such as White’s releases a typical man from the daily concerns and constraints of normal society and follows his transformation from mild family man to a kingpin of the drug trade.
The series stars Emmy-nominated veteran actor Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle, Little Miss Sunshine); Aaron Paul (Mission: Impossible III); Anna Gunn (Deadwood); Dean Norris (Little Miss Sunshine); Betsy Brandt (CSI); and RJ Mitte (Hannah Montana, Weeds). The pilot is Executive Produced by Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia, What Lies Beneath, Donnie Brasco); and the Oscar-winning Cinematographer John Toll (The Last Samurai, Braveheart, Legends of the Fall) serves as Director of Photography.
AMC entered the original programming arena in 2006 with Broken Trail, the award winning movie-event starring Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church, and also produced by Sony Pictures Television. The premiere of the epic western set a new standard for the network, ranking as the number one most watched cable movie of the decade. Continuing the original programming momentum, this July AMC will premiere its first ever original dramatic series, Mad Man, Matthew Weiner’s first project since the Sopranos, and Breaking Bad is set to air on the network in 2008. In addition, AMC recently announced an extensive slate of original series in development with industry vets including: Tom Fontana (OZ); Freddy DeMann (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers); William Finkelstein (Law & Order); Kip Koenig (Grey’s Anatomy); David Semel (Heroes, House); Karen Hall (E-Ring, Judging Amy); Michael Oates Palmer (Shark, West Wing); Jason Rothenberg (Girlfight), Scott Villa (The Simple Life, Medical Investigation,); Adam Glass (All About the Andersons); Bob Cooper and Orin Woinsky of Landscape Entertainment; and Stacy Title and Jonathan Penner (The Lone Ranger,, 2003).
AMC has delivered record performance in 2007 among key demographics, garnering its strongest 1Q in network history. AMC ranked Top 10 in prime Men 25-54 delivery among all ad-supported networks for the quarter, an increase of 31% year to year for the network. Available to over 91 million homes, AMC also ranked #1 in impression growth in all of cable for Men 25-54 (up 76,000), #3 for Men 18-49 (up 63,000), and #3 for A25-54 (up 120,000) for the quarter. The success continued in May, with the network once again ranking Top 10 in Men 25-54 delivery (up 24% year to year), as well as Top 5 in audience growth with Adult 25-54, Men 25-54 and Men 18-49 among all ad-supported cable networks.