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While it's safe to say the Breaking Bad franchise is as big as its ever been in the wake of El Camino's release, AMC can put blame on the franchise for some lower numbers on its advertising revenue this year. According to new reports, there's evidence to suggest that Better Call Saul's absence from AMC in 2019 hurt its bottom line, though it ultimately ended up ok in the end.
As for where the sting could be felt, a look at AMC's breakdown for the year showed a drop of 2.6% in AMC's advertising portfolio (which pulled in $194 million). Variety said that part of the reason for that drop was due to Better Call Saul skipping out on 2019, and deciding instead to return with new episodes in 2020. Despite that, AMC still had a 3.1% year-over-year gain in Q3 revenue to $718.6 million and a 2.3% gain in adjusted operating income to $168.4 million.
So ultimately, AMC still managed to do well in Q3, though I'm sure no executive would've griped had the show been there to help scoop up that remainder of revenue. AMC did have the option to force Better Call Saul into making a 2019 premiere date for Season 5, though AMC President Sarah Barnett said the network tends to honor requests of shows to ask for extensions, as forcing a deadline may result in the series declining in quality.
The delay in Better Call Saul Season 5 was related to "talent needs," which now appears to be Vince Gilligan's wish to focus on the making of El Camino. There wasn't any huge connection to Better Call Saul in the movie, though actor Jonathan Banks did make a brief appearance. One would think his short scene wouldn't have impacted a delay a significant amount.
While there was no significant connection between El Camino and Better Call Saul, it appears that allowing Vince Gilligan and crew to finish that did result in a better Season 5 of Better Call Saul. Actor Michael Nando recently called it the "most special" season the show has done, which is saying something given its near constant critical acclaim. Hopefully there's as many surprises in this coming season as there were in El Camino!
As mentioned, Better Call Saul is set to arrive in 2020, though AMC has yet to announce an official premiere date for the season. Stick with CinemaBlend in the meantime to be one of the first to hear when a date does get announced, and to stay up to date on all the things happening in the world of movies and television this fall season.