Fox Boss on Nicole Beharie's Sleepy Hollow Departure: 'It Was a Decision That Needed to Be Made'

Fox’s top entertainment executive is suggesting that the network was left with little choice but to part ways with Sleepy Hollow star Nicole Beharie, whose character, Abbie, was killed off in the show’s Season 3 finale.

“There were a variety of factors that led to the end of the season,” CEO Dana Walden told reporters during a Monday-morning conference call to tout Fox’s fall schedule. “It was not a decision that we wanted to make initially. We ended up being put in a situation where that was a decision that needed to be made.”

Regarding the controversial decision to move on with a fourth season sans Beharie, Walden said, “What we know is that Tom Mison is a big star. And the Ichabod Crane character has been so central to the series and the storytelling and he feels like an original, big Fox character.

“We don’t feel like it has to be the end of the life of the show,” she added. “And while there was backlash [to the Season 4 renewal], there was also a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from fans about the show coming back and about Tom having the ability to be the center of the series and discovering new dynamics and new relationships. It’s a very original premise and we felt like it had greater life in it and that there was no reason to end it.”

Walden also denied that Season 4 would serve as the show’s swan song. “We’re not announcing that it’s the final season,” she maintained. “We’re not sure if it’s the final season.”