'Breaking Bad' Creator Signs Deal for Broadcast TV Show

By Carter, Bill | International Herald Tribune, September 27, 2013 | Go to article overview

'Breaking Bad' Creator Signs Deal for Broadcast TV Show


Carter, Bill, International Herald Tribune


Vince Gilligan wrote the new series, a police drama called "Battle Creek," for CBS 10 years ago. The show will begin next autumn.

Vince Gilligan, the creator and producer of one of the most talked-about series in recent years, "Breaking Bad," is the hottest name in television. "Breaking Bad" is fresh off an Emmy for best drama and drawing huge audiences as it builds toward the final episode of its five-season run on cable in the United States.

Now Mr. Gilligan has concluded a deal that will bring another series he created to the more lucrative side of the business, broadcast television.

Sony Pictures Television, the studio that has an exclusive contract with Mr. Gilligan, announced on Wednesday that it had concluded a deal with CBS to produce a new series created by Mr. Gilligan, with a guarantee that it would go onto the network's prime- time schedule next autumn.

The show, a police drama called "Battle Creek," comes with an added layer of elite television pedigree. Based on Mr. Gilligan's script, which he originally wrote for CBS 10 years ago, the show's production will be led by David Shore, who created and produced the hit drama "House" on Fox.

The deal reflects the status Mr. Gilligan has attained. CBS has promised to produce 13 episodes and put them all on the air. Most deals begin with a script payment, and the next stage is limited to the making of a pilot. In this case, CBS has committed to paying for all 13 episodes before they are even produced.

Neither Sony nor CBS would reveal the specific financial terms of the deal, though Zack Van Amburg, the president of programming for Sony, said CBS would pay "a premium license fee." Based on the typical costs of a pilot and an additional 12 episodes for an expensive, hourlong drama with top-tier producers attached, it is likely to be worth $35 million to $45 million.

"In the Hollywood development community, Vince is the hottest name in the business," Mr. Van Amburg said. "If I went somewhere with the phone book with Vince's name on it, I could sell it."

Mr. Van Amburg credited Nina Tassler, the president of CBS Entertainment, with pushing for "Battle Creek." Ms. Tassler visited the Sony studio in mid-August, bearing two bottles of cheap wine (the best she could find in the neighborhood). Amid discussions about prospective shows, she brought up the "Battle Creek" script she had worked on when she was the head of CBS drama a decade ago. …

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