Sleepy Hollow Abbie Dead Spoilers

Fox Boss: Sleepy Hollow Renewal Was 'Hard' Call, But Reboot Is 'Really Fun'

Greenlighting a greatly revamped Sleepy Hollow wasn’t easy, but reportedly was worth the anxiety.

Renewing the supernatural drama for a fourth season without co-lead Nicole Beharie, whose Abbie was killed off in the April finale, “was obviously a very hard conversation. Crane and Abbie were the spine of the show in a lot of ways, so it was difficult to figure out of it was right thing to do, to continue or not,” Fox entertainment president David Madden said on Monday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

But when Sleepy Hollow creatives “pitched us an array of new characters and new situations for Crane to get into,” Fox brass was convinced, Madden said. “And the first seven scripts are really fun. We think there’s a lot of good new stories to tell,” especially with out-of-time Ichabod Crane being transplanted to the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C.

As for how Fox execs expect viewers to warm up to this significant revamp, Fox Television Group co-chairman/CEO Dana Walden said that when you “fundamentally” alter and relaunch a series, “The only thing you can do is show materials from the show that will demonstrate to viewers that there’s still something very special about the series.”

After the shocking Season 3 finale aired, Fox, 20th Century Fox and the producers of Sleepy Hollow issued a statement calling “the tragic death of Abbie Mills” a “bold move” for the series, adding: “We feel we provided a wonderfully poignant conclusion for Abbie and showed some of the best moments between the Witnesses that we’ve seen on-screen.” Showrunner Clifton Campbell meanwhile said that while “the character is gone,” Beharie could make the occasional appearance in Season 4, in some other form: “It’s always surprising to see how the reflections of one character or another can influence the show moving forward.”

Walden previously addressed the controversial cast shake-up during the May Upfronts, saying that a “wide variety of factors” played into Beharie’s exit, and “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.”

Sleepy Hollow Season 4 will premiere at midseason, in early 2017.

Want scoop on Sleepy Hollow, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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89 Comments
  1. kmw says:

    Hope it is as ” fun” as they say especially since Sleepy Hollow isn’t even set there any more. It doesn’t even sound like the same show and with all the casting changes it will be difficult to see Sleepy gaining anything from this

  2. Angela says:

    Let me guess, they’ll reboot it to make it so Abby never existed.

    • Michael Summerset says:

      It’s wrong to call it a reboot since that’s just a slang term for remake. Crane is still the same actor. If anything it’s more of a sequel.

      • Goshen says:

        A spinoff.

      • KevyB says:

        “Reboot” has just been bastardized to mean “remake” but that’s not what the word actually means. Studio execs just think it sounds cooler than saying something’s a remake.

        Think of the actual word and it’s origins. When you “reboot” your computer, you aren’t creating a whole new computer. You are “restarting” the computer you currently have hoping to fix its problems. They are restarting the show they currently have hoping to fix its problems. They are not creating an entirely new show.

        It’s no remake since some of the actors remain. And it’s certainly not a sequel since serialized television doesn’t have sequels; those are called “new seasons”. This is the unbastardized literally-correct definition of reboot.

  3. Simon Jester says:

    I guess we know who got the unfortunate job of having to spin this dumpster fire.

    • delorb says:

      IMO, they are the reason things changed in the first place. They should be the people taking the heat. IMO, their meddling caused the shift from the witnesses fighting headless to everything being about Crane and his family.

  4. Iris says:

    Meanwhile, the X-Files didn’t ditch their lead female character, didn’t waste the chemistry between their leads and still exist 20 years later…

    • Simon Jester says:

      Not sure that’s the strongest argument, given that X-Files mostly ditched their lead *male* character and the chemistry between the two in their later seasons (which were consequently the weakest of the entire series).

      • Iris says:

        Although I did like the last two seasons, it’s precisely what led to the show’s cancellation, isn’t it?
        Thankfully, the showrunners were smart enough to exploit their lead characters and the chemistry between them while they could, until S8 (and beyond, since Mulder appears in every season/movie) so that the audience grew and people still want them back after all these years.
        Imo, The X-Files wouldn’t have survived that long had they sidelined one of the lead and left the chemistry between them to rot, like I believe Sleepy Hollow did with Abbie and the Abbie/Ichabod’s partnership from S2 on. And there wouldn’t have been a “beyond” if they had killed Mulder off like Sleepy Hollow did with Abbie. YMMV of course!

      • Tina says:

        I love when people post about The X Files when they have no idea about the history of the show. It is the strongest argument. The XFiles writers knew the strength of their leads and the one of a kind chemistry David and Gillian have, and they played to it. The reason the last 2 seasons were weak is because David wanted off. Fact. But we are comparing turd and ambrosia here. Sleepy Hollow writers are crap, while XFILES writers produced the likes of Vince Gilligan.

    • kmw says:

      Also there is another show on FOX that has run for 12 years also with both leads in tact and nothing on them. One more reason I am done with FOX after Bones ends. Seriously does FOX actually think this ” re boot” of Sleepy Hollow is going to work especially since they have it on Friday night? No it is not and whether Beharie left on her own or not FOX doesn’t get that her and Mison’s chemistry made the show and these changes will not get fans back

      • Sara says:

        You don’t know the future. The message boards don’t represent the entire viewing public.

        • Celeste Heavenstone says:

          I don’t know the future, but I do KNOW that this show is going to get canceled. If season 3 told us anything it’s that this show doesn’t have very much of a viewing public.

        • kmw says:

          No they don’t but nobody has to be clairvoyant to see Sleepy isn’t going to make it. Between changing the ACTUAL setting to the numerous cast changes and the fact that Sleepy was barely hanging on as it was. New faces and new location don’t always equate to better show and what FOX is presenting as ” fun” ( a word they must have gotten from the people at Castle) is changing what was unique about the show. Now Sleepy might be better creatively because we obviously haven’t seen it yet but its a safe bet it wont fly

          • KCC says:

            The most telling statement you made is: “Sleepy was barely hanging on as it was.” It was heading for cancellation anyway. The problem with trying to revamp a show is the fan base will more than likely hate the changes because it’s no longer the show they are fans of. Even if it’s well done, it will be different and that’s a difficult thing for die hard fans to accept. Getting new viewers is difficult because people have already tried and didn’t like the original version or dismissed the original because of it’s premise and will assume the new version won’t be that much different than the show they already rejected.

      • TinaF says:

        I quit watching “Bones” after season 7.

  5. JM says:

    Absolute garbage. Just look at the churlish, petty statement Dana Walden made re: Nicole Beharie’s departure (which, interestingly, Tom Mison in one of his Comic Con interviews stated THEY didn’t know she was leaving until 1-2 episodes before the finale, intimating Nicole did not know either…). And a poignant ending for Abbie Mills? Completely destroying 3 seasons of canon? Reducing her to “the help?” The ending was so insulting I would not watch just for that reason alone; I guarantee there will be no trace of Abbie Mills from episode 1 on. They will be too busy trying to build a romance with the new “hot chick.”

    They will do anything for the mighty dollar, or what they think will bring them money, including substituting ship-baiting for quality writing and plot development, COMPLETELY whitewashing casting, and dragging out a show that they had to beg fans to promote in order to get past the second season. I have not watched Fox since April 8 and will not tune into that network again. The way they have handled both fan engagement and cast treatment (including firing Neil Jackson by email), they don’t deserve my support. Even despite all this, they have vomited out a mish-mash of X-Files and other procedural and genre shows – NOT anything original. Even hardcore SH fans are crying foul and wondering if the writers and powers that be have completely lost their mind. I personally think they lost their soul… that is, if they ever had one.

    • ... says:

      They didn’t know if she was leaving because the network was waffling about letting her out of her contract. She was actually supposed to go after the midseason finale, the writers wrote her off right there, but the network made her come back to finish the season. But that she wanted to leave and the writers wanted to LET her leave was well known on that set. The script was written and ready to go, just waiting on the network go-ahead, which finally came ~2 eps before shooting it.
      And Neil Jackson was never a contract player, he was only ever a guest star. So he couldn’t be fired because he was never actually hired. He was told by email that Headless, and therefore Abraham, was out in S3. That’s how it goes for non-regular cast members. No big deal.
      You really have no idea how TV works.

      • delorb says:

        You contradicted yourself there. If they didn’t know she was leaving, why would they write her out at mid-season? One can’t not know and yet still KNOW to write her death. LOL

        Fact, they said they knew she wanted out during the 2nd season (when she was side-kicked). Fact, they said they were going to grant her her wish by killing her off mid-season. But the network who was behind her getting side-kicked in the first place, got cold feet when her replacement didn’t jibe with audiences. They panicked, had the writers do a quick re-write to bring her back knowing that they’d already agreed to release her from her contract.

        That’s why everything was last minute. That’s why everything was rushed. That’s why almost none of it made any sense. This is why some actors can say they didn’t know until the last minute that she was going to be killed off. Factually they are correct. What they aren’t including is that they didn’t know she was going to be killed off…the 2nd time.

      • CW says:

        Yes, we all read that in THR about NB supposed to have exited mid season. Blah blah blah.

        If I was a lead that writers sidelined and marginalized, not to mention the supporting PoC characters who were pushed aside, I’d want out. The racist/sexuat tropes were garbage and I feel bad for Nicole. But because of their shadiness (lying about Orlando Jone’s exit, letting NJ go CIA email regardless of whether he was a regular or not) I’m not so sure it’s even as simple as that re: NBs exit. Guess we’ll find out down the road.

        Cracks me up the way the stans and production team are trolling the comment section for mentions of Nicole as if basically every actor BUT NB has threw shade at the show.

        What a mess.

      • Nikki says:

        You’really full of it…

      • Winkle43 says:

        @…says: No word on OJ’s exit? Or the waste of John Noble’s time and talent? How about the hustle that was played on Nicholas Gonzales? Katia Winter was unhappy with the writing of her character. As was Lyndie Greenwood about reduced screen time in S2. Care to explain?

    • TF says:

      I think one of the writers are on this board smh. Yea several members of the cast have nothing really nice to say about these people. The firing of Neil Jackson through email is crazy. I don’t watch Fox anymore. I’m sure not going to be watching this mess. I don’t believe anything they say about Nicole leaving. They have been caught lying about cast leaving before with Orlando Jones.I’m not buying it.

      • CW says:

        They do this every time, usually regurgitate info everyone already knows but that completely misses the point. We saw the drop in quality plus the racist and sexist tropes on the show. Few would blame NB for wanting out if that’s even the whole story.

        There were already plenty of anecdotes that leaked out about TPTB with their egos and mucking up the show. If their conduct on social media and attitude towards the fans are any indication then I’m inclined to believe it. Robert Orci trying to lecture black women fans on what is and isn’t racism before blocking them was one if the worst things I’ve seen. That Raven Messner lashing out and name-calling during season two doesn’t paint good picture of what working for/with them was like.

  6. Shaun says:

    Will Jenny even be involved anymore?

  7. Michael Summerset says:

    If he’s moving to Washington, should it really be called Sleepy Hollow? That’s like how Smallville wound up taking place in Metropolis.

  8. Kailani says:

    Just because they are pitching this b.s., doesn’t mean I have to buy into it. I don’t. I won’t watch. I’ll wait for Tom Mison’s next project instead.

    • Annie Sisk says:

      Same here. I’m usually the one rolling my eyes over the impassioned “I’m never watching again!” comments on sites and boards, but this time, it’s just one bridge too far. This was handled so poorly from the beginning, and … yeah, I’m done.

  9. Brian says:

    This is going to flop even harder next season.

  10. Tiffany says:

    So this pretty much proves Nicole did not leave on her own………hmmmm

  11. Kelly says:

    I’ll still tune in to see what they’ve cooked up. It’s just television people…calm down.

  12. delorb says:

    Do they take us for fools? I think they take us for fools. Everytime they’ve opened their mouths, it’s been a lie or something tone-deaf. I don’t think anyone is left to fall for their lies. Well, there are the Timothy fans, but they’re kinda like the Katrina fans. They don’t care about story or characters. They only care about his fingers or eyebrows.

  13. CW says:

    Killing Abbie wasn’t a bold move, it was destructive, stupid, and clueless. It would be like killing off Scully. The way they’re scrambling indicates they know this.

    The show is dead. Watching their desperation right now gives me second-hand embarrassment.

    Ever since the creators left mid season one and new teams of writers were brought in the show has gotten further and further off-track. Sidelining and marginalizing your lead Lady is a bad move.

    • John NYC says:

      If they had to deal with the actress being off the show, for whatever reason, the characters death was more organic in this show than most others given the underlying storyline. Death is everywhere.

      • ladyj says:

        Especially with black folks. So organic.

        • John NYC says:

          Guy buried for centuries, undead headless horseman running around killing people. Etc. etc. Sleeoy Hallow has a lot of death all over it.
          The show’s go to move so to speak.

          Having the character go off to grow small batch artisan wheat in an Oregon commune wasn’t going to happen.

  14. Tracee says:

    Nicole leaving this show was the dagger for me. She and Tom had amazing, organic chemistry that I highly doubt Tom and the new girl will be able to replicate and surpass. That said, as if Nicole’s departure weren’t devastating enough …. they have destroyed everything that made this show unlike other supernatural dramas on television – and that wasn’t just done by Season 3’s missteps, that was done when the show shifted from the Four Horsemen framework to saving Katrina. What a waste of a fantastic program.

    • John NYC says:

      Sometimes the terrific premise of the pilot and show pitch just doesn’t get sustained. People get that great first idea then come up blank on how to sustain it. Serial tv versus a movie. How many movie sequels have been flops? With tv in a way everything past the pilot is a sequel….

  15. Amy says:

    Every time these so called creative writers, producers say ‘bold move’ it really means they ran out of ideas, the show is going down hill because they can’t think of things to write anymore. The cast is unhappy so they do this lame bold move in hopes to save the show when they really punch the fans in the gut and it tanks later. As far of hearing the word reboot. Just think again can’t think of anything to write or original. They can add all the people they want but if the writing still stinks it won’t make it a full season.

    • John NYC says:

      I judged that to have happened around the end of the first season. Made it partly through 2 and then quit. Some ideas, Dark Angel comes to mind, just may have a more limited range than others. Or at least limited for the creative team….

  16. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    Booooooo! S4 is going to suck and MOST likely will be a final season cause it’s going to get CANCELLED.
    I hate this show now BYE!

  17. hpeterson169 says:

    BBC Misfits tried to continue after the main cast mostly left, and season 4 and 5 are its weakest, so it will be interesting to see how this goes

    • ScottJ says:

      That sort of thing is pretty normal for British shows though. The actors aren’t (usually) tied down with multi-year contracts and can leave more or less any time they want to. So some shows can wind up having a bit of a revolving door for the main cast. What they’re better at doing though is overlapping old and new cast members. So new ones come in BEFORE the old ones leave.

      Incidentally this is also partly why British shows don’t feel like they have to make a series every year. If they want to retain the leads the shows have to wait for them to become available.

  18. KLS says:

    There’s that word “fun” again (beware of Castle-like fun).

  19. Saynay says:

    The only thing I’m looking forward to on a Sleepy Hollow s4 is how badly the ratings drop. After the implosion that was the s3 finale, any dedicated audience the show had is gone. Apart from the three Tom Mison stans, who really wants to watch this shell of a show.

  20. Celeste Heavenstone says:

    This show has no chance. Most of the loyal fans ran screaming off into the night during the fiasco that was season two: The Cranewrecks. Then season 3: Betsy Please get lost Ross and Pandora I’ll open the exit door for ya. Now Abbie is dead and the show is talking place in Washington D.C. with hardly any members of the cast from season one, and more budget cuts yeah, nope not gonna happen. Not even the Tom Mison’s fanmoms can save this one. Fox did a real disservice to it’s fan base by thinking Tom was single-handedly the star of SH. Some will argue that those upset over Abbie’s death don’t speak for all the show fans, and because of that the show will do just fine, well nothing but time will tell.

  21. Michelle says:

    This show won’t see a fifth season.

  22. Ronnie says:

    I really can’t wait until the show is done and people are free to really state all that went down with Nicole leaving the show. I would love for someone from the production, who doesn’t care about any backlash, to do a article about everything. All this BS from the producers is just that. I do know from a friend who only worked on the first season that the showrunners were nightmares to work for. And their shooting schedule was absolutely crazy including having the crew work over the Christmas holiday (every show is always shut down to give the crews a holiday break).

    • ... says:

      They had to have a shortened holiday break because the network decided to air the last two eps on the same night, giving them one week less to finish ep 13. As it was they were still shooting that ep 2 weeks before it was set to air, and with editing, music, and their special effects to add, that was almost impossible to get done. Sorry your buddy had to work between Christmas and New Years like just about everyone else in the world, but it wasn’t the producers responsible for that.

      • delorb says:

        LOL Who is responsible for the shooting schedule if not the producers? If the time got away from them, then that’s their fault, not the crew.

  23. April says:

    Not buying any of this bs. I am so not watching the next season. This show has screwed the fans since season two. I wish I never watched last season.

  24. Maxsmom says:

    Sleepy Hollow was wobbly after the first season and so Abbie and Crane and Jenny and their relationships were my reason to watch. Without Abbie…

  25. John NYC says:

    Crane is a great character, ably portrayed but even so: not well served by the writing after season one. IMHO.

    • ladyj says:

      That, I ABSOLUTELY agrees with. He was always arrogant but always willing and open to learn in the first season. In the second, he became a narcissist and hasn’t stopped.

  26. Dr. M says:

    Season 3 was so very painful. I stuck it out, but I they burned off the last of my good will for this show with that finale.

    If I come back at all I’m going to wait and see if this show even survives the whole season.

  27. Dove says:

    After Abbie’s sketchy departure, I was definitely done with this show. I am really looking forward to the execs and TPTB feeling the wrath, ie. lack of viewership as a result of ruining what kept fans watching… Abbie and Crane’s chemistry.

  28. Missy says:

    “Crane and Abbie were the spine of the show in a lot of ways”?
    Umm, no. They were the spine of the show IN ALL THE WAYS.

    It’s Castle all over again. GAH!

  29. BillyBobJohnson says:

    “We ended up being put in a situation where that was a decision that needed to be made.”
    Umm…duh. She wanted out and told everyone so. Loudly. What was TRULY shocking was that Fox “We Cancel Everything Good” TV renewed the show.

  30. I’m actually going to enjoy seeing Fox dump millions into this show only for it to be cancelled after 6 episodes. Many fans solely watched “Sleepy Hollow” because of Nicole Beharie and her chemistry with Tom Mison’s Crane. She was one of the first black leads in a sci-fi show, and created a capable, talented and fun character. But after season 2 they did everything to sideline and sabotage that. Killing her off with a “Oh well, she wasn’t that important anyway” shrug alienated those fans and destroyed everything the show was about. Now it sounds like a paranormal Bones, and that’s just pathetic.

    • Susan says:

      I’d take the paranormal Bones if they’d move the actual Bones writers over to SH and have them do it instead of the ones on SH. Or better yet, the show Sleepy Hollow can move to DC with its new cast. And then the Bones writers can take Crane, Jenny, and Frank Irving and resurrect Abbie and Joe and the Headless Horseman and start a new show that’s called something other than Sleepy Hollow, but is actually set in Sleepy Hollow.

      They could call it the Corbin Files.

  31. Tina says:

    The reason a great deal, probably 90% of the audience watched this show was because of the play between Tom and Nicole, Abbie and Ichabod. The writing was horrible and most if the audience gave up by the end of season 3. That 0.6 rating does not justify this show getting renewed and the terrible writing does not give reason to Walden’s comments on having faith in the producing and writing team. This is about contracts, advertising and packaged deals. This show was already sold as part of that. Creatively its as dead as bone dust. Look for FOX to let it play out enough to earn their money back, and then cancel it. Also, Tom Mison is too good of an actor for this. Let him go!

  32. Kate says:

    Sounds Great!
    Crane in DC is perfect.
    All the Slooooow dialogue about thier feelings was becoming boring. I hope it has a National Treasure pace and lots of history and puzzles. #FUN

    Mison is a fantastic actor and will have chemistry with anyone.

    • Winkle43 says:

      I’m laughing out loud at ‘All the Slooooow dialogue about thier feelings was becoming boring.’ Then you must have really hated S2. If you’re going to make up tall tales at least make it sound believable.

  33. Mauve_Avenger says:

    I just want to watch this show burn. I won’t be tuning in, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the Cancel Bear hoping Sleepy Hollow gets mauled.

  34. mickey707 says:

    I think Ichabod is a fun character, even thou Nicole left I am willing to see what they come up with next. I think if you root a show too deeply it gets repetitive so now we have a chance to see another side of this show.

    • ladyj says:

      Naw, I’m not with it. As a woman and a black person. I refuse to support programming that continues to marginalize and stereotype people like myself.

  35. Biya says:

    I started watching Sleepy Hollow for Ichabod Crane and all of the entanglements of his past life. I enjoyed the headless horseman, his wife, and his relationship with Abbey. I don’t know that I will be watching again when it “goes to Washington, D.C.” What in the world does that have to do with Sleepy Hollow?? That is the title of the show and should be what the show is about. I enjoyed the parts with Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, etc. Even the way-out parts with the aliens, etc. I could stand. I don’t think it is going to make it and I don’t know if I can watch it anymore as it’s not what I enjoyed so much.

  36. ladyj says:

    Remember when Cliff Campbell indicated that Ichabbie would get together in season three? Fool me once… Don’t believe the lie about Nicole Beharie making “appearances in other forms” in season 4.

    That’s his sad attempt to get former fans to watch in hopes that she shows up.

  37. kmw says:

    Maybe when Bones ends since FOX has such faith in Sleepy Hollow they will have Ichabod take over Brennan’s position and re name it Bones Hollow or Sleepy. D. C. If you didn’t need more proof FOX doesn’t really care about getting their lineups better look no further. FOX should have just let this one go and give a new drama a chance. I think this ” re boot” will be a total disaster

  38. Baba José says:

    Dis is just 2 bad nd annoying am sure do sleepy hollow can’t remain d same as dat thrilling movie I know :-( .

  39. Bob Wood says:

    A wide variety of factors” played into Beharie’s exit. That because the Network and the Producers screwed up because they did not know what they were doing. To make matters worse they are moving out of Sleepy Hollow which means we still don’t get back the horsemen, this is not Sleepy Hollow its Boring Washington now. i won’t be back to watch this pile of crap I was done after SN 3, However I think SN 4 will be its last, I am sure you will still have a handful of fans returning and a few more of the old ones to watch because of curiosity and then the ratings will go down, what a sad thing for a show to go from good to really bad.

  40. Bob Wood says:

    The show won’t last past season 4 and I won’t be watching it, the show ended for me on season 3. Fox Execs and the Producers really screwed up big time with Nichole its a shame that they caused her to want to leave that’s what you get when a bunch of assholes run a Network.

  41. Jacob holmes says:

    I watched the first one season 4 intended to set the recorder button but did not crane and mills made the show what it was SORRY

  42. Jessica Gazick says:

    i hate the changes they made with the new cast and set. I mean i could deal with losing abbie but the change in set makes it very hard to adjust to. Plus I like the old sleepy hollow set it felt more like the source of the show. This new set and cast is to polished to be sleepy hollow. Its way too modern for the grungy and spooky sleepy hollow.

  43. Jorge says:

    I just picked the series first season this week, in Netflix.

    The first thing I noticed was the interracial lead. I’m not American so I don’t really know how much you people look into this things, but being also an avid watcher of British series, I’ve noticed how picky American producers are avoiding interracial couples (one exception was Firefly and it didn’t survive the first half season – of course there might have been other reasons).

    But I couldn’t help but wonder how they would deal with the romantic tension between the leads until it became clear Katrina was going to stay around. Aha! But still those big dark Abbie eyes…

    I’m just starting season 2, and I found this article by chance. And now I see how it went.