12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Vince Gilligan Renews Sony TV Overall Deal
Vince Gilligan is staying put at Sony.
The Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul showrunner has renewed his overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The three-year deal extends his 11-year relationship with Sony TV and should be considered a big win for the indie studio in an era where big-name showrunners are being poached by nine-figure deals with Netflix.
Sources say Gilligan's deal is valued at less than $50 million when all is said and done. That represents a significant uptick from his last pact with Sony TV. Unlike other showrunners, Gilligan is not in the volume game and prefers to work on one show at a time. Sources say other outlets had approached Gilligan's agency with offers to leave Sony, but he opted to stay at his longtime home, where he continues to work on Better Call Saul. He's also readying a Jim Jones limited series for HBO under his deal with the studio.
"Vince is a cornerstone of the success of Sony Pictures Television and could not be a more important member of the Sony family. He is a phenomenal talent and a true friend,” SPT president Jeff Frost and co-presidents Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter said Monday in a joint statement.
Gilligan, whose deal was due to expire in December, will continue to serve as executive producer on AMC's Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul as well as develop new projects for the studio via his High Bridge production company. Gilligan co-created the Peabody winner Better Call Saul, which has garnered more than a dozen Emmy nominations during its run. (The series was not eligible this year.) The news comes ahead of the Aug. 4 season four premiere of Better Call Saul and as that series will panel at San Diego Comic-Con alongside a 10-year reunion session for Breaking Bad.
"Sony has been a great home for us for 11 years and we are thrilled for it to continue for many more years,” Gilligan said. “[Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO] Tony [Vinciquerra], [Sony Pictures TV chairman] Mike [Hopkins], Jeff, Chris, Jason and the entire Sony team have been amazing to work with. That collaborative partnership has a great deal to do with the success we have enjoyed together."
The deal comes as a win for Sony Pictures TV, which in an era when ownership has become increasingly important, has struggled on the broadcast side. This keeps one of television's most respected showrunners in the business at the studio, which continues to focus on cable and streaming deals after a dismal upfront season in which it landed one new series on the five broadcast networks. Meanwhile, Sony has been actively trying to find new homes for its buzzy passed-over series including Norman Lear's Guess Who Died (which was passed over at NBC) and since-canceled Timeless, which producers said has not been successful. Sony was able to land a 10-episode order for Bad Boys spinoff L.A.'s Finest, starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba, at Charter Communications after NBC passed on the procedural.
The Gilligan deal arrives as many showrunners are re-examining their overall deals after Netflix signed Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy to nine-figure deals, poaching both prolific producers from their respective longtime homes at ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox Television. Fellow indie Warners, for example, paid uber producer Greg Berlanti upwards of $400 million in a four-year deal to remain at the studio.
Gilligan is repped by ICM Partners and Del Shaw.