Fox TCA happened yesterday and there were talks of a possible cancellation of the show. There’s no official word on it, but Fox president Kevin Reilly said “Fringe is an expensive show that is not yielding a profit, and we’re not in the business of losing money.“. It seems that Fox does want to keep it, but it needs more viewers!
Here’s an article from IGN.com where J.J. talks about the show and below there’s a preview for this week’s episode.
Another year, another waiting game for Fringe, which continues its life as a cult and critical favorite with notably low ratings that would usually lead to cancellation – and yet hasn’t so far. So will the show continue to beat the odds and get renewed for a fifth season? Co-creator/Executive Producer J.J. Abrams was at the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour today to promote his new FOX series, Alcatraz, and was asked about Fringe’s future.
Replied Abrams, “I don’t know. For some sick reason, I’m hopeful, because the show… There’s some stuff coming up that’s so great. They’re doing such amazing work. Maybe it’s just that dumb optimism of hoping that when good work is done, it gets rewarded. I think that some of the work they’re doing, that Jeff [Pinkner] and Joel [Wyman] are working on now, is so good that I’m just crossing my fingers that it gets to continue. And if not, on FOX, maybe somewhere else.”
While Abrams didn’t elaborate on where else Fringe could go, should FOX cancel it, he did talk about whether he thought FOX would give them enough time to craft a proper ending, if this ended up being the final season. “I would think that if the show is going to end… They’ve been so wonderful and incredibly supportive and really aware of the audience that they have – and in some cases don’t have. And I’m sure that they would be courteous enough to do that, for sure.”
Abrams said that when it comes to a potential Season 5, “My dream would be that the next year would be the great ending for the show – to have one more season. But of course, any producer would say that.”
The famously secretive Abrams wouldn’t talk about what’s to come plotwise on Fringe, but did say, “Joel Wyman, who’s one of the showrunners, is actually directing an episode now that it incredibly romantic and incredibly powerful and emotional and has my favorite combination of weird and sweet – of sci-fi and romance.”
Shortly after the chat with Abrams, FOX president Kevin Reilly was asked where the network stands in regards to Fringe. Said Reilly, “Fringe has been a point of pride. I share the passion for the show that the fans have. I love the fact that FOX, after letting down some of the genre fans over the years, put one on [and stuck with it]. I love the fans – that they stuck with it and went to Friday night with us. It’s vastly improved our Friday night. We have a Friday night for the first time in a long, long time.”
Reilly then continued, “The hesitation in my voice is that it’s an expensive show. We lose a lot of money on the show. At that rating, on that night, it’s almost impossible to make money on it. That’s been the case now over the last season. You know, we’re not in the business of losing money. So we really have to sit down and figure out, ‘Is there a number at which it makes sense?’ I do not want to drop the ball at the end and let the fans down.”
Reilly joked, “Please don’t star the letter writing campaign right now, everybody! I can’t take it!”, remarking, “I hope we get some credit with the fans for seeing through a great show that they’ve enjoyed. I’m not now quietly doing the soft-cancel here. I’m just telling you where it stands. We haven’t even sat down with the producers or the studio. I know they want to keep it going. So that’s another decision we’ll have to make.”
With Abrams confirming they’d treat Season 5 as the final season, I wonder if Warner Bros. and FOX might work out a deal for a final 13-episode season, much like happened with the similarly ratings-challenged Chuck this past year (another Warner Bros. production). This would likely be contingent on Warners giving FOX a very good deal on a Season 5, considering Reilly’s comments about Fringe already losing money for the network. But we shall see….