AMC sets 'Better Call Saul' premiere date, Monday timeslot
AMC apparently likes "Better Call Saul" so much that the network thinks the "Breaking Bad" spin-off only needs to air one time after "The Walking Dead."
Today, AMC announced that "Better Call Saul" — with Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks reprising their "Breaking Bad" roles in a series set six years before Saul Goodman met Walter White — would debut on Sunday, February 8 at 10 p.m. That's the same night that "The Walking Dead" will return from its usual mid-season hiatus.
But rather than stay in that comfortable post-zombie cradle for its first season (there will be 10 episodes to start, and AMC has already ordered a 13-episode second season), "Saul" will immediately move to Mondays at 10 starting the very next night, February 9. So it's a two-night premiere, but then "Saul" will have to hold its own on a night where AMC hasn't previously scheduled any of its scripted dramas.
AMC pushed back the "Saul" premiere to February in part, it seemed, so that it could air as many episodes as possible after the highest-rated show on the network (and highest-rated non-sports show in all of television). Instead, Saul (or Jimmy McGill, as he was known then), Mike and their other friends — played by Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando — will have to make do on another night.
As for what, if anything, is going to air in its place, AMC hasn't said yet, but the only thing in their pipeline that I think would be ready by February is the final season of "Mad Men," so I suppose they could move that up. But it would make more sense to throw that huge lead-in audience (and lead-ins and timeslots do still matter, even as more and more people are watching via non-linear means like DVRs, On Demand and streaming) to a new show you hope to have as an asset for years, rather than one that has seven weeks to go, no? Unless AMC has just decided to roll with "Talking Dead" immediately after on Sundays, and assume "Saul" can do fine on its own.
UPDATE: AMC says the plan is to stick with the usual after that first Sunday: "Walking Dead," followed by "Talking Dead," followed by "Comic Book Men." No second scripted show on Sunday for that window.
There's also a new trailer below.
What does everybody else think?