The Emmys had plenty of breaking good news for "Breaking Bad," giving an extra dose of momentum to the drama's upcoming final act.
The AMC series that centers on Walter White, who transforms from a terminally ill chemistry teacher to a murderous drug kingpin, received 13 nominations on Wednesday, the most in the series' history.
In addition to nominations for drama series and main actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad" earned its first writing nominations, for the episodes "Dead Freight" and "Say My Name."
The accolades came just a few weeks before the series returns with the final eight episodes of the show, completing its fifth season. As the show moves toward its final curtain, the nominations carry a special significance for Vince Gilligan, "Breaking Bad's" executive producer and creative mastermind.
"It's very, very meaningful indeed," said Gilligan during a phone interview.
"The show has grown in viewership and is more and more appreciated. I can't ask for anything more. I couldn't be more proud of the writers. The nominations for sound mixing, for directing, they have special meaning to me."
Cranston, whose portrayal of White has earned him three consecutive Emmys for lead actor in a drama, scored his fourth nomination. Paul, who has won two supporting actor Emmys for his role as tortured junkie Jessie Pinkman, was also nominated. Anna Gunn, who plays White's wife Skylar, earned her second consecutive nomination for supporting actress.
Paul said, "This will be a great opportunity for our whole 'Breaking Bad' family to get back together again. It's another thing that says the show is worth watching."
Gillian and several cast members are preparing for an appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego this week to promote the series, which returns Aug. 11.
When asked what effect the nominations may have on the last season, Gilligan chuckled. "We're kind of like the bleu cheese of TV shows," he said. "Bleu cheese is great and delicious, but it's not for everyone. We're never going to be as big as 'ER' or "Family Guy' or 'The Walking Dead.'" The people who watch 'Breaking Bad' know what it is, You're either along for the ride, or you're not."