Exclusive: Fox is close to renewing Fringe for a fifth and final season, TVWise has learned. For the past couple of months, Fox has been having discussions with Warner Bros. Television about the future of the low rated series. Sources familiar with said discussions tell me that, while there are still a few points that need ironing out, a deal for a fifth and final season of 13 episodes is expected to be reached within the next few weeks.
I’m told that one issue that has been resolved is the length of this fifth and final season; with WB initially pushing for a full season of 22 episodes, while Fox expressed that they would be more comfortable with a “limited episode order” of 7 – 13 episodes, which would get the show close to or past the 100 episode mark required for syndication. Another issue that has been widely reported on is Fox’s licensing fee for the series. I’m told that WB has offered Fox “a substantially lower” fee for the fifth season. As such, insiders tell me that they expect Fox to announce the renewal of Fringe for a fifth and final season of 13 episodes in the coming weeks.
This news will come as a relief to fans of the series, which has had a hard time in the ratings for its last two seasons. The latest episode of the sci-fi series attracted a mere 3 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic in live+same day. With those numbers, most shows would be looking at certain cancellation, but the amount of money Warner Bros. stands to make from off-network syndication deals is the driving force behind the series’ future. The only real question that still needs to be answered is will we see an announcement before the network’s upfront presentation in May?