2:54pm PT by Philiana Ng , Michael O'Connell
AMC Renews 'Breaking Bad' Spinoff 'Better Call Saul,' Pushes Premiere to 2015
AMC is ordering more Better Call Saul.
The Breaking Bad prequel spinoff has been renewed for a 13-episode second season, the cable network announced Thursday, bringing the total episode count to 23.
Originally slated to premiere in November, the debut of the hourlong drama has been pushed back to early 2015. The second season will follow in early 2016. Better Call Saul will join The Walking Dead and Talking Dead in the first quarters of the next two years.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan directs the series premiere and will be co-showrunning with Peter Gould, who created the character of Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk. Filming is underway on the 10-episode first season in Albuquerque, N.M.
"Production on Better Call Saul is underway, and we could not be more proud of nor more excited about the work to date. We join the fans in eager anticipation for this series, and today we happily confirm that our initial Saul order is for two seasons and a total of 23 episodes," said AMC president Charlie Collier. "When introducing any series, especially one with the DNA of Breaking Bad, there are countless factors to consider in making sure the show gets the launch it deserves. We have a strong history with Vince, Peter, Bob, the studio and so many involved with this production; we are enjoying the process on Saul and all share a focus on making it a true television event. No half measures."
Despite the vote of confidence of an early renewal, the push to 2015 means that AMC's already small roster of original scripted series will stay that way for the rest of the year -- without a single new series debuting after June's mediocre launch for Halt and Catch Fire.
The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels return, but the final run of Mad Men is off the schedule until sometime in 2015. As for recent launches Turn and Halt and Catch Fire, both have been modest in the ratings and neither has yet to earn a renewal. The latter has been particularly soft, pulling a mere 765,000 viewers and just a 0.2 rating with adults 18-49 during its third episode.
Better Call Saul chronicles the life of Saul (Odenkirk) before his endeavors on Breaking Bad. As for Saul, Odenkirk, Gilligan, Gould and co-star Jonathan Banks (reprising Breaking Bad character Mike Ehrmantraut) are all currently schedule to appear in July at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles.
Gilligan, Gould, Thomas Schnauz, Gennifer Hutchison, Bradley Paul and Gordon Smith are among the writers on the spinoff, which is executive produced by Gilligan, Gould, Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein. Stewart A. Lyons and Schnauz are co-executive producers.