Breaking Bad

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




“I am not in danger; I am the danger.”

Walter White was introduced to the world on January 20, 2008 as a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, living a quiet life with his wife and son. Over the next five seasons, the character would dramatically transform from a quiet middle-aged, working-class dad into a ruthless drug kingpin.

White is the protagonist of Breaking Bad, the popular cable drama created by writer Vince Gilligan. Gilligan borrowed the show's title from an old southern expression (he's from Farmville, VA), which means "to raise hell." Those words can be interpreted quite literally in the world of Walter White.

Season One begins with White (portrayed by Emmy-winner Bryan Cranston) getting the news that he has terminal cancer. He takes desperate measures to provide for his pregnant wife and cerebral-palsey stricken son. Using his knowledge of chemistry, and with the help of former flunkee student Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), the pair cook up the purest form of crystal meth anyone has ever seen. A slew of challenges quickly confront the fumbling novices, and White must make life-altering decisions as he becomes more and more entrenched in the drug underworld.

The main cast includes Walt’s steadfast wife Skyler White (played by Anna Gunn) who remains unaware of her husband’s meth hobby for several seasons; their son, Walter Jr., who battles cerebral palsy (played by RJ Mitte); Skyler’s kleptomaniac sister Marie Schrader (played by Betsy Brandt); and Marie’s DEA-husband Hank (played by Dean Norris). Other series regulars include Hank’s drug-enforcement partner Steven Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada), an ambulance-chasing lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), drug lord–disguised-as-fast-food-store-manager Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), and Gus’ right-hand man Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks).

In his 2011 interview with the Archive of American Television, series creator Vince Gilligan explains that Breaking Bad follows the path of a protagonist who slowly becomes the bad guy. Walter White “is a man who still thinks of himself as a good provider and a good man when, you know, he’s anything but. And that was the point. That’s the experiment of Breaking Bad.”

Gilligan describes his “Eureka moment” of inspiration for the series, which occurred while discussing with a friend the idea of writing a story about a guy, like himself, who had never broken a law, and suddenly finds himself as an outlaw drug dealer. He made several pitches, but everyone turned him down, until Sony decided to take a chance.

To date (in August 2013) the show has won seven Primetime Emmy Awards, including three for Best Actor for Bryan Cranston (2008-2010), and two for Best Supporting Actor for Aaron Paul (2010, 2012). The series has also acquired four nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, won the Emmy for Outstanding Single-camera picture editing for a Drama Series in 2008 and 2009, and was nominated for Outstanding Writing, Directing, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, and Sound Mixing for a Drama Series, and for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Anna Gunn.

In 2013, the show was named #13 on a list of the 101 Best-Written TV series of All Time by the Writers Guild of America.

Breaking Bad is set and produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico by Sony Television and airs on AMC. The final season will premiere on August 11, 2013.

Creator: Vince Gilligan

Producers: Vince Gilligan, Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin Writers: Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, George Mastras, Sam Catlin, Moira Walley-Beckett, Thomas Schnauz, Gennifer Hutchinkson, John Shiban, J. Roberts

Programming History: 62 episodes, 5 seasons,

AMC Sunday nights from January 20, 2008 - September 29, 2013

- by Jenni Matz

Vince Gilligan on how he realized Bryan Cranston could portray a "sympathetic creep" when he played a guest role on The X-Files
Kelley Dixon on editing the Breaking Bad episode "...And the Bag's in the River"
Vince Gilligan on how Breaking Bad was "deader than a hammer" until FX agreed to let AMC produce it
Vince Gilligan on the genesis of Breaking Bad
Kelley Dixon on the end of Breaking Bad, and on her Breaking Bad podcast
Vince Gilligan on how Breaking Bad got its title and what it means
Who talked about this show

Sharon Bialy

View Interview
Sharon Bialy on how she got involved with casting Breaking Bad, and on casting the major and supporting roles on the show
Sharon Bialy on casting a lot of local New Mexico actors on Breaking Bad, on how the show's producers would weigh in from location on actors cast in LA, on network approvals for the show, and on not being pressured to cast celebrities
Sharon Bialy on Robert Forster getting an offer to play the fixer, and on casting Raymond Cruz on Breaking Bad
Sharon Bialy on not casting known celebrities, but having the actors she cast become big stars on Breaking Bad
Sharon Bialy on how budgets impacted casting on Breaking Bad, and on working with AMC
Sharon Bialy on her first Emmy nomination -- for Breaking Bad, and on actors she cast winning Emmys
Sharon Bialy on how casting Breaking Bad impacted her career, and on casting a lot of comedians on Breaking Bad
Sharon Bialy on B-roll of some memorabilia from Breaking Bad

Kelley Dixon

View Interview
Kelley Dixon on how she came to work on Breaking Bad
Kelley Dixon on assistant editing the pilot for Breaking Bad
Kelley Dixon on various editing techniques used early on for Breaking Bad, and how Vince Gilligan dealt with the editing process
Kelley Dixon on moving up to editor on Breaking Bad
Kelley Dixon on editing the Breaking Bad episode "...And the Bag's in the River"
Kelley Dixon on communicating with her collaborators on Breaking Bad, and on the logistics of editing the show
Kelley Dixon on determining which editor would work on which episode on Breaking Bad, and on working with assistant editors on the show
Kelley Dixon on the post-production process for Breaking Bad, and on the physical toll editing can take on an editor
Kelley Dixon on the pacing of Breaking Bad, and on collaborating with show creator Vince Gilligan on editing
Kelley Dixon on editing the Breaking Bad episode "Madrigal," and on editing the montages in the episode
Kelley Dixon on editing the Breaking Bad episode "Gliding Over All," and on the music of the show
Kelley Dixon on being nominated for, and winning Emmys for her work on Breaking Bad
Kelley Dixon on the end of Breaking Bad, and on her Breaking Bad podcast
Kelley Dixon on audience interaction with the creative forces of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul
Kelley Dixon on the legacy of Breaking Bad
Kelley Dixon on how Breaking Bad impacted her career, and on then-current shows she admires

Vince Gilligan

View Interview
Vince Gilligan on the genesis of Breaking Bad
Vince Gilligan on pitching the idea of a middle-aged family man cooking a meth lab to cable networks
Vince Gilligan on how Breaking Bad was "deader than a hammer" until FX agreed to let AMC produce it
Vince Gilligan on how Breaking Bad got its title and what it means
Vince Gilligan on why he decided Breaking Bad's leading character should deal methamphetamine - "Meth was the worst way I could think of for 'Walter White' to make money"; on how his unfamiliarity with the drug helped him write "Walter White's" character
Vince Gilligan on the character "Walter White" on Breaking Bad
Vince Gilligan on the moment he's proudest of on Breaking Bad, when "Walter White" turns down a no-strings offer for money, which is supposed to be the reason he's making sacrifices, making his character less sympathetic from early on in the series
Vince Gilligan on the casting choices for Breaking Bad; on knowing Bryan Cranston needed to play "Walter White"; on how his association playing the dad on Malcolm in the Middle  role helped this character
Vince Gilligan on the Breaking Bad episode "Negro Y Azul" in Season Two featuring "the Narcocorrido"
Vince Gilligan on the Breaking Bad episode "The Fly"
Vince Gilligan on not knowing how Breaking Bad will end; "I have hopes and dreams for these characters"

Chuck Lorre

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Chuck Lorre on his admiration for great scripted cable shows

Ted Sarandos

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Ted Sarandos on Netflix licensing the first two seasons of Breaking Bad as the third season of the show was airing on AMC, and how that led to the total audience for the show growing

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