This is good news no matter what universe or timeline you live in: Fox has renewed Fringe for a fifth and final 13-episode season.
Back in January, Fox president Kevin Reilly conceded that Fringe‘s low ratings were negatively impacting the network’s bottom line. ”We lose a lot of money on the show,” he said. “At that rating, on [Friday] night, its impossible to make money. We’re not in the business of losing money.”
But Fringe remains a passion project for Reilly. And Warner Bros. — eager for the J.J. Abrams thriller to reach that magic, syndication-enhancing 100 episode threshold — agreed to reduce the show’s license fee (i.e. the amount the studio charges the network for each episode).
“Fringe is a remarkably creative series that has set the bar as one of television’s most imaginative dramas,” Reilly said in a statement Thursday. “Bringing it back for a final 13 allows us to provide the climactic conclusion that its passionate and loyal fans deserve. The amazing work the producers, writers and the incredibly talented cast and crew have delivered the last four seasons has literally been out of this world. Although the end is bittersweet, it’s going to be a very exciting final chapter.”
Producers were prepared for either outcome. John Noble (Walter) recently told TVLine that the May 11 finale could serve as a season or series finale. “We’ve shot two [endings],” he said.
Joshua Jackson, meanwhile, hinted that “the door to the fifth season” was opened in last Friday’s episode, which took place in the year 2036 and featured a “game-changing battle” between the Fringe team and the Observers. “If you watch that, you’ll have an understanding of where they want to take the series.”
You may also find a clue or two in the following Season 5 trailer, which accompanied Thursday’s announcement.