After five years, ten Primetime Emmy Awards and near-universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, Vince Gilligan's crime drama series Breaking Bad came to a natural close with 10.3 million viewers tuning in for the series finale this fall. The show had the luxury of ending exactly when Gilligan wanted to, without either being cut short before its time or outstaying its welcome and eventually disappearing after a ratings drop. If it wasn't such a terrible pun, you could say that Breaking Bad ended on a high note.
Leads Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have already seen their careers flourish; Cranston can be seen playing a major role in Legendary Pictures' upcoming monster movie Godzilla, and Paul has taken the lead in video game adaptation Need for Speed (which turned a lot of heads after getting an insanely serious first trailer) and will also star in Ridley Scott's religious epic Exodus.
It's not only the stars who are in demand, though. After creating such a hugely successful show, Gilligan was inevitably going to be highly sought-after and Sony hasn't wasted any time in ensuring he stays with the company. Variety reports that Gilligan has signed a multi-year deal with Sony Pictures TV through which he will continue to create content for the studio. Sony Pictures TV's president of programming and production Jamie Erlicht, has said that the deal was a no-brainer:
"Vince is an incredible writer and partner, and he shares our vision for the business and for the kinds of projects we’re passionate about. There wasn't a world where we weren't making this deal."
Gilligan already has two new projects being produced by Sony: Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, for AMC, and police drama Battle Creek for CBS. Prior to Breaking Bad he was best known as a writer and executive producer on The X-Files, and also for co-writing Will Smith superhero movie Hancock.
This "multi-year deal" is a little frustratingly vague, we only know for sure that Gilligan is signed on with Sony for a minimum of two more years, but provided he's allowed to continue to push boundaries and maintain creative control over his projects this could be a long-running and highly beneficial symbiotic relationship for both Gilligan and Sony.
It seems very likely that Gilligan will continue to produce other new shows for Sony through this agreement, but hopefully his attentions won't become too divided between different projects. Currently he is set to work as both a writer and producer on Better Call Saul and Battle Creek, and adding a third or fourth show into the mix might dissipate the Gilligan effect. We definitely don't want that.
Battle Creek is set to air on CBS in the 2014-2015, and Better Call Saul is currently being targetted for a fall 2014 debut. We'll bring you more updates on these projects in the future.