Sony Television and AMC have come to an agreement to produce 16 more episodes of Breaking Bad, Vulture reports. Negotiations weren't going well two weeks ago when it was reported that the show's producers were approaching other networks to work with for the fifth season. It's unclear if the newly slated 16 episodes will come packaged as one mega-sized final season, or split into two smaller seasons. Deadline is reporting both AMC and Sony Television are splitting the costs of the approximately $3 million budget for the final season. AMC has been trying to cut costs ever since they signed Mad Men's Matthew Weiner to a blockbuster deal in April.
During the negotiations the number of episodes for the next season were a sticking point. AMC wanted a shorter season of about six or eight episodes, whereas the show's creator Vince Gilligan wanted a full order of 13 episodes for the show's final season. Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall received a statement from AMC that included this quote from Gilligan:
“It’s a funny irony -- I’d hate to know the date of my own last day on earth, but I’m delighted to know what Walter White’s will be (episodically speaking). This is a great gift to me and to my wonderful writers. It’s knowledge which will allow us to properly build our story to a satisfying conclusion. Now, if we don’t manage to pull that off, we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.
How the argument over the number of episodes went from 6-13 to and order of 16 is still a mystery, but for now fans of the show are just thankful for the extra time.