Gotham star Camren Bicondova says that Gotham's fifth and final season on FOX will be only 10 episodes in length, contradicting prior reports of 13. Going into broadcast TV's annual spring round of cancellations, renewals, and pilot pick-ups, the fate of Gotham was seen as very much uncertain. While the Batman prequel was once one of the highest rated dramas on FOX, its viewership has been steadily dropping off as of late, despite the series itself only getting better creatively in the eyes of many fans.
For perspective on how far Gotham's ratings have dipped, season 1 of the DC Comics-based series averaged a pretty healthy 2.2 in the coveted adults 18-49 viewer demographic, and drew in an average of over 6 million total viewers per episode. By contrast, the recently ended season 4 averaged a much lower 0.8 in the 18-49 demo, and drew in an average of just over 2.5 million total viewers per episode. While it's fair to point out that viewership is continually trending downward for most of linear TV in today's streaming age, even when solely compared against Gotham season 3, season 4's numbers are down nearly 30 percent.
While worried Gotham fans were relieved when FOX opted to pick up the series for season 5 last month, the announcement was bittersweet, as the network also confirmed that Gotham's fifth season would be its last. Additionally, reports at the time of the renewal suggested that season 5 would run a scant 13 episodes, much shorter than Gotham's usual 22 episode order. Now, though it looks like things might be even more dire, as Camren Bicondova (Selina Kyle) remarked during a recent Instagram live stream (via Comic Book) that season 5 will only consist of 10 episodes.
While Bicondova's statement obviously isn't official confirmation from FOX, one would assume those working on the show would be in a position to know how many episodes are scheduled to be produced. If she's right, and Gotham season 5 only runs 10 episodes, the decision to renew the series at all becomes a bit more puzzling. At the time of the renewal, reports claimed that producer Warner Bros. TV really wanted to get Gotham past the 100 episode mark, the number of episodes generally required to draw big bucks in syndication. 13 episodes would get Gotham to 101, while 10 episodes leaves it at 98. Not a huge difference to be sure, but one wonders why WB and FOX couldn't just work out a deal to order the extra 3 episodes.
Outside of syndication concerns, cutting Gotham's final season to 10 episodes may also impact the quality of the conclusion that the series' writers can craft for fans. Gotham is a series full of characters and unresolved subplots, and according to producers, season 5 will introduce even more characters. With less than half the episodes to work with than Gotham is usually allotted per season, fans may well have a rushed resolution to look forward to, one that leaves many questions unanswered and fates unspecified.
Gotham season 5 premieres in early 2019 on FOX.