Fringe Update: Season 5 Discussions Underway, J.J. Abrams 'Hopeful' Show Will Be Back

When Fox president Kevin Reilly told journalists earlier this month that he’s essentially losing money on Fringe, he wasn’t just putting the show’s rabid fans on notice that a fifth season is far from a slam dunk, he was sending the following message to Warner Bros. Television: The ball’s in your court.

Basically, in order for Fox to justify renewing the low-rated cult fave, Warner Bros. would have to agree to drastically reduce the show’s license fee (i.e. the amount the studio charges the network for each episode).

But what’s that magic number? Sources confirm that both sides are currently trying to hash that out. “We remain hopeful that Fringe will be able to continue,” co-creator J.J. Abrams tells TVLine.

Warner Bros. no doubt remains even more hopeful. A fifth season would put Fringe at or very close to 100 episodes, a milestone that would enhance the show’s syndication prospects. (A studio rep declined to comment.)

The clock is ticking, but not as quickly as one might think. If this does turn out to be Fringe‘s final season, it wouldn’t actually impact producers’ Season 4 end game.

“Worst case scenario, if this were the last aired season of Fringe… we know what the end of this season is going to be,” EP Jeff Pinkner recently told TVLine, “and it can function as a series finale.”

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156 Comments
  1. Jennifer says:

    I have read everyone’s comments & everyone pretty much is saying, just this many episodes or one more season..well I am a way beyond obsessed fan & I want the show to continue for several more seasons at least! There are people that the show couldn’t possibly go much farther because then it would become mundane…I beg to differ!!! This show has continued to surprise me in ways that I would have never believed it could. They have taken this story beyond my imagination so I say….BRING ON SEASON AFTER SEASON AFTER SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Ryan says:

    They should decide now. I’d rather a real series final ending, instead of a finale that ‘functions’ as a series finale.

  3. AngelMoonGirl says:

    My fingers are crossed for a “final” fifth season! I desperately hope the show is allowed an appropriate amount of time to finish! Fringe is so good, it would be a shame if it got cancelled ;_;

  4. Kevin Gravitt says:

    I tired of good shows getting cut short despite a loyal fanbase. I was thinking today about how fantastic this show is, and now I see this article. This is twice this year fox has threatened my programming wanting more money. I’ll be more careful investing in their programming.

  5. Prompter Bob says:

    Turning away from “the monster of the week” format and getting heavily involved in the parallel universes was a huge mistake. X-Files handled their story arcs much better. I love Fringe, but it is a confusing, dragged out mess now.

    • austen. says:

      Yeah, because The X-Files handled they’re mythology so well.

    • Jesi says:

      Saying Fringe shouldn’t have gotten involved in parallel universe storylines is like saying that the crew of Star Trek should never have gone into deep space and should have just stuck to exploring planets with fake rocks and natives in loincloths.

      In other words, You don’t get what this show is.

  6. sherika says:

    I love this show idk y there is money problems, but I hope there is a 5th season and more to come

  7. Boborci says:

    Go get ‘em JJ and Jeff!

  8. Mike says:

    I would do ANYTHING to have Fringe return for a fifth season. This is my absolute favorite show on TV right now and few shows have such a loyal fanbase. KEEP FRINGE ALIVE!!

  9. Deborah says:

    I am so sick of Fox canceling all there good shows. If Fringe is canceled after this season then I think it’s time for me to cancel Fox!!!!

  10. dana says:

    Please don’t cancel Fringe! It is an amazing show! The acting, the story, the special effects, people are really missing out. Just one more season, Fringedom would be happy and satisfied if we could just get one more season! Please!

    I watch live and dvr, and then watch it within 24 hours with the commercials. I enjoy the commercials and let the companies know via twitter, and really do consider there products more because they’re shown during Fringe. I buy on Itunes and watch at fox.com. I always buy the seasons. Put more product placement in the show, we don’t care, we’re just begging for one more season!

  11. mesa says:

    If they get a 5th season, I’d wish for it to be 13 episodes of heavy serialized material.

  12. Mark says:

    As much as I love this show, it would do it a dishonor to simply keep it “alive” at all costs. I hope an arrangement can be made to allow the showrunners enough time to write an acceptable finale.

  13. Tiffany says:

    Please give us a 5th season!! This show is by far the best on tv!

  14. Sammy83 says:

    Brooke:
    “It’s easy to get bored when they’re released the season 4 episodes at such a sloooooow trickle…”

    Ditto

    DO NOT CANCELL. AIR IT BETTER!

  15. John says:

    Glad to hear Fringe may be back! I was starting to come to terms with this being its last season. Hoping for a final 12 which will put the episode count up to 100.

    While Fringe may not be up to the ranks of syndicated heavy hitters like TBBT, THM, and any L&O, I think it will be a valuable addition to Netflix’s catalogue (or any other streaming service). This is the kind of cult show that wouldn’t have work in the pre-digital age but now has a great chance of thriving online once the entire complete series (a la Arrested Development, Battlestar Galactica).

  16. John says:

    Also another idea: go into continuous production of the final 12 episodes of season 5 immediately after season 4 wraps.

    Fringe Season 5 could air this summer (late June to early September). 12 weeks in a better timeslot than the Friday death slot. Not much is going on anyways on FOX in the summer besides SYTYCD.

  17. moxleyhood says:

    Sorry if I’m repeating an old point, but how much does online viewing (on the Fox website) play into overall ratings and how to judge how popular Fringe is?

    From where I stand, Fox’s policy of not allowing its shows to be accessible online until a full eight days after an episode airs could definitely be affecting the ratings of, not just Fringe, but all of its shows. Especially for a serial like Fringe: if I happen to miss the live broadcast and can’t watch the ep I missed (for free) until AFTER the next episode has aired, it’s just a snowball effect with people not watching it, not being caught up enough to watch the live broadcast, etc.

    The alternative is people going to illegal streaming sites that don’t generate any revenue for Fox, if they want to catch up with a show before the next live airing. So I just don’t understand the rationale behind delaying the release of episodes on the Fox website.

  18. TK says:

    The big argument here is that the studio is “losing money” on Fringe. Isn’t it funny that this is the same studio paying ASTRONOMICAL amounts to the Simpsons cast? Take some of that away and put it toward Fringe, and there would be no problem. But God forbid they cancel a cartoon that’s been on for 20 years and has run its course…

  19. forrest says:

    Looking back over the series, each season has had its own storyline. This season, I expect, should wrap up THIS SEASON’S STORYLINE. That is why, I believe, the writers can say the season finale can be a series finale. Look at then ‘endings’ of previous seasons. You know this can be done. Can a shortened 13 episode season do a NEW storyline justice? It would break away from the format that the writers have established. I am happy for a fourth season we are currently in. This fourth season is a gift since many said season 3 ‘was the last season’.

  20. linda says:

    Fringe is my favorite show. Please don’t let it end.

  21. J.R. Orci says:

    Contrary to Fox’s request to hold off on any letter writing campaign, I’ll just say —

    START WRITING THOSE LETTERS!

    Haha.

    • Nicole says:

      I saw someone on a different thread here comment on how everyone should send redvines to Fox. I personally think this would be awesome!

  22. Jeffrey says:

    Fringe has been an exciting series from its 1st episode. I hope it remains and can survive any public network without absolute “popularity” as the only point of existence…

  23. David says:

    Please renew Fringe! Get it to the 100 so we can enjoy it now and you can reap the money later…Please!!!

  24. Troy says:

    I love fringe and hope for many more seasons. I also like supernatural. Move fringe to 10pm. Put it up against blue bloods which only has news programs for competition. Im tired of networks putting all the best shows on at the same time and on the same days. Many not so great shows survive due to no decent competition. Fringe is original with great acting, it has many more stories to tell.

    • Doug says:

      Fox doesn’t have 10pm time slots.

      Syfy doesn’t have the budget to pay for this show.

      Seriously, some of the suggestions on here are just ill-informed.

      It’s pretty clear all we can hope for is a shortened Season 5.

  25. Troy says:

    Shows on fridays should be given extra points. Everyone knows the ratings are lower as no one is home!!!. Chuck, nikita, supernatural, fringe and gifted man all are on in a two hour window on friday night. I like all these shows as they are unique. Then the last hour has blue bloods, dateline, 20/20, & local news. Hmm.. Whats wrong with this picture…. If fringe was on vs blue bloods against nothing but the news, it would have much higher ratings! FYI..Cartoons do not belong on prime time tv unless on disney or nickalodean!

  26. were says:

    Thank you Warner Bros for fighting for a Fringe season 5 :’D

  27. waterflame says:

    This is a long shot. Although Dollhouse had worse ratings in it’s second season and was renewed with the recent ratings Fringe is having, it doesn’t seem possible. And if it happens, don’t even think of a full season order. That would be pure madness. Same goes to The CW as a option. It’s a teen network and the only teens in Fringe are the guest stars from some episodes.
    I’d like to point out, that when Ghost Whisperer was cancelled and the producers were in talks with ABC for a renewal, they also were “hopeful” and it seemed like there is no problem for ABC to take the show. Well, guess what? They didn’t.

  28. John A says:

    I dont know about givimg them time to end the show. These are the people whe ruined Alias and Lost. Id almost prefer it to end this season with a cliffhanger. Very few shows end well.

  29. josephine says:

    Okay I really don’t care much about Fringe myself, but still it is better than the Finder, so here is my advice to Fringe fans whose of you who also watch the finder if there is any stop stop watching that, as that would highten you chances of a come back if the Finder is cancelled, after all Fox will have to chose which low rated shows they will renew… So chear fo rthe Finder to go down more, so that one will be unsaveable,and you won’t have to worry that one will stamp over fringe… also chear for Alcatraz to stay high at that one is A Abrams show which might actually be able to be placed together in a block next year wit Fringe… and he could maybe negotiate better if he already had one sure show on…
    And hope House is canned as that would also open up a tv-spot…

    Really Fringe fans stop watching the Finder and House, and start wtaching Alcatraz i think that might highten the changes of renewal…

  30. Groove says:

    Should never had been moved to Friday night!

    • Captiosus says:

      Sure. They should have kept it on Thursdays.

      Then you wouldn’t even have a Season 4. Do you even REMEMBER how bad the ratings had gotten for Fringe on Thursday nights? I’m guessing not. No one can dispute that moving Fringe to Fridays actually HELPED Fringe initially. After a few seasons, the ratings started to slide again.

      Seriously people, remember your history. Fringe did well on Tuesdays, started to slide, moved to Thursdays, slid into the gutter, moved to Fridays, got a bump then slid back into the gutter. With ratings getting down near 1.0, and Reilly coming out and basically telling the world that no one watches the show (torpedoing potential advertisers), the show is done. Season 4 was a gift.

      WB has ALL the leverage in these negotiations because they already have enough episodes for syndication. If Fox won’t pay what WB decides is their ultimate lowest (and chances are Fox won’t), WB can just walk away and rake in licensing dough.

  31. 4thjet says:

    Come on already…. if they would have kept it on Tuesdays and not put it on Friday we wouldn’t even been having this conversation!
    Now there are 2 other shows splitting the lowest rating night, Grimm and Supernatural, at the same time slot, obviously things aren’t going to go well for any of the shows!
    We as the long suffering fans, “is it on this week?” being the most asked question, then the long breaks between sections of the seasons, makes me crazy!
    Move it back to Tuesdays, then the rating numbers will go up a lot!
    They will also get the 5th season, their 100 episodes and everyone will be happy and making money!

  32. John says:

    It almost seems like the number of posts on this article exceeds the numbers Fringe brings in every Friday… Fringe is so good. I hate the “it would function as a series finale” comment. This is going to be just like Flash Forward and V…

  33. TVDIVA says:

    I would think The Powers That Be would want to get to 100 episodes so they have a better chance at syndication money. I am glad JJ Abrams is sweating this out instead of me.

  34. Miffy says:

    I know how they can cut the budget: replace the horrible Pacey, who can’t act worth a lick, with a surfboard, which would be more animated and less wooden.

  35. Bill B says:

    I love this show. I am skeptical whenever I hear someone utter the sentence “the season ending can also serve as the series ending”. It can but it doesn’t because it will fall short.

    All this talk about syndication. I don’t see it happening. I haven’t seen LOST show up anywhere in syndication (at least in the US). Shows that rely heavily on an arc don’t make good syndicated show because you have to watch them all, in order to make sense of them. Even the X-files, which was an awesome show with mostly stand-alone episodes, hasn’t really been embraced by the syndication world.

    Besides, if you are like me you will have them all on blu-ray. What I would ask is that anyone that likes this show and is being counted for ratings, leave their tv on FOX from 9-10 even if they aren’t home to watch it and are dvr-ing it.

  36. Diane says:

    I too would be most happy with 5 full seasons. It would be nice to see them be able to wrap it up fully explaining thing fully and letting us see our favorite characters get closure.

    I hope they can finish it well this season if they don’t get renewal, I have loved this smart, riveting show so much.

  37. nancy says:

    Please doin’t take Fringe off it’s one of the greatest shows on TV

  38. Tina says:

    Fringe has such a big potential and I hope season 5 will be came! This is the best series I have ever seen.

    Tina from Germany ;)

  39. says:

    guys what is syndication level? I really love fringe but I think this season is strange… I used to love to watch Olivia’s and Peter’s relantionship. But now it is almost painfull to see him looking at her and nothing from her…. I believe this is killing the show… I know is not about the romance… but I want Olivia back… I hope they get a 5th season because the show needs to end properly. I want our Olivia, our Walter and our Astrid back please!!!

  40. William E. Reseda c.a. says:

    I am rooting for Fringe to be continued
    its a great sci fi show and the great cast
    deserves credit for making it addicting!
    Am a fan as are many people I know are,
    the show needed more supervision from J.J.Abrams
    he is a creative guy but seems to start a project
    and should keep an eye on the writers who get
    out of hand, and confuse the audience, Lost
    Hero’s the Event, all good and then we get lost!~
    I Hope Fringe stays on for more than a fifth
    season..will keep my fingers crossed for Olivia
    Peter, and Walter this sides group!!

  41. vicki says:

    Well, here’s another good show that might get dumped because of money. I’m a huge Sci-Fi fan and so many shows are cancelled because of money.

    I’ve watched Fringe from Day 1 and it has been a great show from the beginning – every episode has been good.

    I hope the “powers that be” let the show run at least 100 episodes so it can be syndicated. I still watch the original Star Trek whenever it comes on.

  42. ZV says:

    “Fringe” should really be granted the privilage of bringing its story to a finale on its own terms. As one of the few reputable sci-fi shows left on any network, I (and I would assume most other fans) would really like to see a righteous conclusion to this truly fantastic show (I can honestly say this is only one of two airing sci-fi shows I would dare to apotheosize).

  43. BostonDave says:

    Please dont cancel Fringe! The show is so intriguing and addictive. Primetime TV needs a show like this

  44. fringeophile says:

    I haven’t missed an episode of Fringe. But I want OUR Olivia, OUR Astrid, OUR Walter–OUR family unit (and the alt-verse is OK too).

    I’m guessing this universe is actually OUR universe, but the writers need to fast-forward to the beginnings of a resolution, so the fans can start enjoying the show and come back in Droves!

    “If you fix it, they will return.”

    • Captiosus says:

      “Erasing” Peter from existence and spending a disgusting amount of time this season with everyone walking around like they’re confused is one of the many reasons this show’s ratings are sliding.

      I see lots of people saying Fringe is great and that’s fine. I’ve watched it just as long as all of you and I just don’t get how anyone can say it’s “great”. It’s been schizophrenic from the start. First it was a monster of the week show. Then it was a monster of the week show with a small altiverse plot. Then it was a big altiverse plot with minor monsters of the week, only to reverse course and turn back into a monster of the week show. Now it’s a monster of the week where everyone walks around confused and the writers don’t seem to have any idea how to create a complete story arc.

      THAT’S why people have been bailing on the show. It’s never had a really good main arc. It’s been all over the place every season and this season is, by far, the worst.

    • Mary says:

      Very Nice point.

  45. Carol says:

    Fringe is one of the finest series on TV and definitely the only series I will ever tune in to FOX for. Personally, I think it should be on the SYFY channel so I wouldn’t ever have to tune to the FOX Republican Propaganda Station.

  46. Mary says:

    FRINGE is a Unique show, Thank God there will be more. Love Fringe. Writers, Producers and actors are doing Great Job.

  47. Angela says:

    Every time there is a great original well acted show on television they cancel it and put on yet another garbage reality show, or some other garbage?? Fringe is original, the acting is fantastic, the content keeps you guessing, and you are always on the edge of your seat watching it. I love this show, and will be very dissapointed if they cancel yet another show, both me and my husband LOVE!!!!!

  48. Nicole says:

    This show is unlike any other.. It’s procedural, and has the same lure as Castle or rhe Closer, which focus on character drama, romance, and solving crimes, but it is also fabulously imaginative and has a higher story arc going on. I can’t imagine them ending it on season four.. It needs more seasons, for Peter to get back home, for Olivia not to die, for more questions and more answers.. The whole cast is awesome. And Astrid meeting Astrid last week was great. A lot of viewers watch ONLINE or on DVD- the stats arent everything, as they learned too late with Dollhouse (fans are still asking Eliza Dushku for another season!)

  49. Robyn K says:

    Fringe is my favorite program, which as my husband noted is usually “the kiss of death.” Can I help it if I’m a sucker for smart speculative fiction presented by superb performers? Please, Fox, please let the story arc play out as planned over five full seasons!

  50. Rich says:

    I really do hope they renew it. No matter what happens though, I’m glad they already have a plan to actually have a series finale or an episode that can act as one. I hate when series are cancelled and we are just left to wonder.

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