'Breaking Bad' Off the Air Until July 2011: Online Mini-Episodes Planned

'Breaking Bad's' Bryan Cranston could pull a three-peat with an Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama on Aug. 29, but there won't be a four-peat: The show will not premiere its fourth season until July 2011, more than a full year after June's conclusion of season 3. That means the show will not be eligible for next year's Emmy Awards.

"I think what AMC is thinking here is there will be less competition for us -- particularly from the broadcast networks -- if we launch our season during the summer than if we come back again like we did this time in March," Cranston told Deadline.

To appease the rabid Cranston-heads, the network will produce three- to four-minute mini-episodes early next year after the show goes back in production in January, which will eventually air on AMC's website.

"I, for one, am eager to make these little interstitials important," Cranston says. "I don't want them to be simply filler or recap, but something that actually moves the storyline forward. If we're going to do it, it ought to be a real part of the larger show."

It's hard to say whether or not he'll get his wish. Shows from 'The Office' to 'The Wire' have produced exclusive webisodes and most seem inconsequential. The viewer may get a little character insight, but producers have been afraid of losing viewers by inserting vital storyline information. Maybe it will take a show as daring as 'Breaking Bad' to change all that.

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