Bryan Cranston

Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston says the final 16-episode season will be divided into two portions, with the second half airing next year.

"We're splitting it," Cranston tells Entertainment Weekly. "We're going to shoot the first eight, then take a four-month production break, then the rest will air next year." At an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel in February, Betsy Brandt, who plays Marie, also said the network would be breaking the last season into two shorter ones.

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Breaking Bad's split would mark a far longer hiatus for the series than that of AMC's The Walking Dead, which took a nearly three-month-long break in the middle of its second season. A studio spokesperson told the magazine that the split is just one option being considered. A rep for AMC has declined to comment on the report.

A premiere date for the final season has not yet been set, but EW reports that some of the Breaking Bad cast have said the series will return in July. The cast is currently shooting the series' fifth season premiere, which picks up right where the fourth season left off, says Cranston.