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Breaking Bad's First Emmy Nomination Made Writing Tougher For Vince Gilligan

Writer and producer Vince Gilligan has earned 22 Emmy nominations and four of the coveted gold statuettes for his work on "Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul," and smaller related projects in the Walter White/Albuquerque universe he and Peter Gould created in 2008. As the first couple seasons of "Breaking Bad" chugged along, viewership lagged behind the show's critical acclaim, and it was more of a cult sensation than commercial success. 

Gilligan was nominated for an Emmy as a director for the series pilot, which brought in less than a million viewers. "We went up against some big football game and we got crushed," Gilligan once told Stephen Colbert. The show's second Emmy nomination came for Outstanding Drama Series the following year, and Gilligan said that particular nomination increased the pressure felt by the writing staff, and him, in particular. 

Deadline asked Gilligan if pressure increased along with the show's notoriety. "It was tough in that writers' room," Gilligan told Deadline. "Suddenly everything was second-guessed, triple-guessed, quadruple-guessed. It affected me more than it did the writers. That's why I'm thankful for the invention of bourbon. It helps. A little. That and sleep. All we can do is put our heads down and keep doing good work."

VInce Gilligan also credited Bryan Cranston for making Breaking Bad such a success

Vince Gilligan went on to tell Deadline how the show's arrangement with the city of Albuquerque was a hidden key to its success. "We're trying to do stuff no one has ever seen before, which always costs money. But we've got a pretty good deal already in New Mexico with a 24% rebate. And besides that, it's a great place to shoot." 

Gilligan went on to credit actor Bryan Cranston for the show's success, citing Cranston's consummate professionalism and ability to bring every bit of his acting talent to the role of Walter Hartwell White. Gilligan said, "He lives in this character so completely, with so much nuance and layers, subtlety, boldness, he embodies it all. He's capable of doing anything." 

"We're still surprised by what he's brought to this role," Gilligan added. "He's bravely helped turn this character into a real bastard." While Cranston's performance may have been the catalyst that brought forth the obstacles that came along with those early Emmy nominations, Gilligan, Gould, and the rest of the production staff certainly rose to those challenges throughout the rest of the show's run, making "Breaking Bad" one of the best and most beloved series in television history.