Breaking Bad spin-off prequel announced

Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk in Breaking Bad Bob Odenkirk (right) stars as scheming lawyer Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad opposite Bryan Cranston

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US network AMC has announced a Breaking Bad spin-off prequel, based around the character of lawyer Saul Goodman.

Better Call Saul will see Bob Odenkirk reprise his role as the crooked criminal lawyer in the one-hour show, AMC and Sony Pictures said.

It added the spin-off would "focus on the evolution" of the character before he came to represent crystal meth kingpin Walter White.

AMC did not say when production was due to start or when the show would air.

The title of the prequel is taken from a season two episode of Breaking Bad where Walt and his business partner Jesse hire Goodman after seeing the lawyer's TV commercial featuring the slogan, "Better Call Saul!".

With Goodman serving as the comic relief in the original series, the spin-off is expected to be more comedic than Breaking Bad.

Creator Vince Gilligan first hinted at the possibility of a series centred around the scheming lawyer last year.

"I think a Saul Goodman show could have great legs," he told Entertainment Weekly.

"I love the idea of a lawyer who will do anything to avoid going to court. He's always going to settle on the courthouse steps."

'Happy to do it'

Actor Odenkirk also said in an interview in April he was excited at the prospect of a spin-off.

Bob Odenkirk Saul Goodman first appeared in season two of Breaking Bad

"Vince is still really busy with the show, so we haven't talked very in-depth about it, but he clearly thinks it's a possibility," he told Vulture.

"And I've certainly told him that if there was some way to see more of Saul, then I would be happy to do it."

According to industry website Deadline, the spin-off has been in the works for months, however protracted talks between AMC and Sony Pictures delayed an agreement.

Other networks and outlets - including subscription site Netflix - had reportedly been interested in picking up the show had negotiations between AMC and Sony Pictures failed.

The show is expected to receive the go-ahead for a full series once contracts and licensing agreements are finalised.

Breaking Bad is set to end this month after five series.

Its stars have won five Emmys, including three acting accolades for lead star Bryan Cranston and two for Aaron Paul, who plays Walt's former student-turned-business partner Jesse Pinkman.

It has been nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards this year, including best drama series.

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