After much nail-biting by fans and cast members alike, Fox has renewed Fringe for a fourth season.
The announcement came late Thursday night on Twitter, where executive producer J. H. Wyman posted the news. "Fringe was picked up!!!! Thanks Fringedom!" was his inspirational message to millions of fans.
Many reporters and observers worried that Fringe would suffer from its recent schedule move and become the latest victim of Fox's "Friday night death slot." The series has taken some severe ratings hits (none worse than last week's as it went one-one-one with the NCAA basketball finals). But Wyman's announcement means that one of the best science fiction shows on TV will continue for at least another year.
Even with the excellent news, there is reason for concern. Other Fox shows may be on the chopping block - fan-favorite Lie To Me among them. Lie To Me has dipped in the ratings for its third season, but the last few episodes have seen it creep back up to 7 million viewers.
This also means that there will be a pinch for new and returning shows, particularly in the sci-fi realm. Fox is preparing a lot of new projects for summer and fall releases, all of which will be competing for one fewer chair in the circle.
Fox has no less than three sci-fi projects coming up. Steven Spielberg's Terra Nova is a lock (though it has been delayed until the Fall at least) and Abrams' own Alcatraz has been approved for 12 episodes. But Heroes creator Tim Kring's Touch is still up in the air.
It would be surprising (but certainly not unwelcome) if Fox greenlit four different sci-fi shows for its Fall lineup. We'll be keeping a close eye on the contenders as decision time comes closer this summer.
The announcement of Fringe season 4 is a victory for fans and Fox naysayers. After the move, a community of fans organized to get people to watch the show live and boost ratings. Series star Joshua Jackson even pitched in. While ratings in the crucial 18-49 range have dipped significantly below 2 million, the overall numbers are steady in the 3-5 million range.
Fringe airs Friday nights at 9 PM on Fox.
Source: TV Line