As Better Call Saul prepares for its final season, the show’s star already has a brand new series in the works. Bob Odenkirk has signed on as the lead for Straight Man which is being fast-tracked at AMC. Based on the Richard Russo novel of the same name, the show is described as a mid-life crisis tale set at Railton College in the Pennsylvania rust belt. According to Deadline, the network has already ordered scripts for the project and is planning a 2023 release.
The book will be adapted for television by Aaron Zelman (of Silicon Valley fame) and Paul Lieberstein, who will also serve as showrunners and executive producers on Straight Man. The story will be told in the first person by William Henry Devereaux Jr. who becomes the unlikely chairman of the English department in the underfunded Pennsylvania College. Peter Farrelly has signed on to handle directing duties. In addition to starring, Bob Odenkirk will executive produce the series alongside Richard Russo, Naomi Odenkirk, and Marc Provissiero.
Speaking about Straight Man via Variety, President of Entertainment for AMC Networks Dan McDermott expressed his excitement about having Bob Odenkirk as the show’s star. “We feel so fortunate to be developing a new show that would keep Bob at AMC,” he told the publication. The 59-year-old was instrumental in helping AMC define its reputation for creating iconic characters and high-quality storytelling. Breaking Bad and the spin-off, Better Call Saul, gained millions of fans over the years.
Talking about the new series the Breaking Bad star said he loved Paul and Aaron’s take on Richard’s excellent, entertaining novel. He was also glad that AMC decided to pitch a series with a focus on character depth and sensitivity. “This milieu (academia) seems very pertinent to the conversations we’re all having,” Bob Odenkirk told Deadline. The actor also said what drew him to the role was the tone of humanity and humor in the novel. While Straight Man is lighter than some of his recent projects, he is looking forward to the project because it’s still closely observed and smart, two things that seem to draw Bob Odenkirk into his work.
Bob Odenkirk first signed with AMC when he joined the cast of Breaking Bad in the show’s second season as bus bench ad lawyer Saul Goodman. When the show ended its five-season run in 2013, he began starring in the 2015 prequel series Better Call Saul. Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the series is set in 2000’s Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the story develops Jimmy McGill, an earnest lawyer and former con artist transforms into an egotistical criminal defense attorney known as Saul Goodman.
The Bob Odenkirk starrer premiered on AMC in February 2015 and has aired five seasons so far. Over the years, Better Call Saul has received critical acclaim, with praise for its acting, characters, writing, direction, and cinematography. A worthy successor to Breaking Bad, the show has been nominated for various awards. This includes six Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Golden Globes, 39 Primetime Emmys, 15 Writers Guild of America Awards, 14 Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and a Peabody Award. The sixth and final season of Better Call Saul starring Bob Odenkirk will debut on April 18, 2022. It will consist of 13 episodes.