Breaking Bad may be ending with record ratings, but AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX ) and Sony (NYSE: SNE ) are working on a spinoff for actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk, who plays crooked lawyer Saul Goodman on the hit drama.
What's that mean practically? Not much, since all we have at the moment is a development deal. From AMC's press statement:
As conceived, the new series is based on the show's popular Saul Goodman character with the working title Better Call Saul. Plans call for Saul to be a one-hour prequel that will focus on the evolution of the popular Saul Goodman character before he ever became Walter White's lawyer.
Color me thrilled by the possibility, and not just as a fan. Greenlighting the show could be a nice catalyst for AMC stock. Why? First, Odenkirk's character is beloved. Second, his personal story isn't well explored during the events of Breaking Bad. And third, history proves that well-executed spinoffs can be massively profitable. Consider Frasier, which ran for 11 seasons and 264 episodes after spinning off from Cheers, creating a windfall for NBC in the process.
Network parent Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA ) is probably still profiting today. How could it not when every episode of the hit comedy is on Netflix and Amazon.com's Instant Video?
Months could pass before we know whether we'll see more of Saul next season. Would AMC stock still be a buy if the spinoff doesn't come to be? I think so. Remember: AMC has more than 60 projects in various stages of development and two new shows for 2014: Halt & Catch Fire, about the early computer revolution in Texas' Silicon Prairie, and Turn, a spy drama set during the American Revolutionary War.
Meanwhile, new drama Low Winter Sun and recurring series Hell On Wheels are drawing about 1 million and 2 million viewers per episode, respectively. Not bad, but nowhere near the success Breaking Bad has achieved. What to do? You already know the answer.
Better call Saul.
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