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Fringe Showrunners Promise A ‘New Chapter’ For Next Season

From tonight's episode of "Fringe," "Immortality"

Fringe has been on fire since coming back for a third season, its first in the so-called “Friday death slot” on Fox, picking up a 1.9 rating in its first two weeks back and a 1.6 the week after. Showrunners Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman sat down yesterday with reporters to discuss the show’s success so far and their outlook on what’s to come. No spoilers, but there’s definitely some exciting stuff happening in the coming weeks for we fans to look forward to.

“We went into [Season 3] with the understanding there’s a number that would make [Fox] very happy, that’s like 1.2 to 1.4,” Pinkner said of the move to Friday. It didn’t faze him or his fellow showrunner, largely because of how supportive fans of the show are. “You guys, the media, have been so cool … and the network takes a lot of notice in your reviews. We felt good going into Friday nights knowing that we’re on a creative high and we know what the show is.

“A lot of shows that came before us that went to Fridays … for one reason or another, these shows weren’t on their creative upswing,” he continued. “So we were hoping that our fans would follow us, say ‘No. We’re loving what they’re doing.’ So we’re really happy. I mean, who can’t be happy with [the ratings we’ve received]? So we feel really good about it, and so does the network.”

Wyman echoed Pinkner’s comments, adding that the network’s vested interest in the show has been a great boon as well. “Fox are legitimately fans of the show. They told us that at the beginning, they’ve demonstrated it to us again and again,” he said. “They made the business decision that they wanted [American Idol] on Wednesday and Thursday this year. They had to move us somewhere. Our fans have been asking Fox to move us for a year off of Thursday night. They moved us to Friday night and our fans freaked out, understandably. People are afraid of change, we all are. But change can be good.”

From tonight's episode of "Fringe," "Immortality"

Good is definitely where things have been lately on Fringe. Great, even — all because the show’s creative minds have had a plan since day one, and they follow that plan regardless of business-related changes beyond their control. “The story that we’re telling, we had written and filmed before we knew we were moving,” Wyman said. “So we’re not doing anything in reaction to the move, we’re just doing our jobs and telling the story in the best way that we can.”

One could make the argument that a great creative risk was taken with last season’s exploration of “over there,” the parallel universe that is at the heart of the conflict on the show. It’s a risk that’s paid off and then some, however. As Pinkner put it, “We get to do two shows about one show, and that really turns into a great thing.”

“Obviously when we said we were going to go ‘over there,’ there was some hesitancy because … the core viewers want to see what they know,” he added. “So it was a gamble. We did know this though: We wanted to tell a really compelling story over there and get the mythology really firing, and we became slowly in love with ‘over there’ when we were conceiving it. And we knew we couldn’t do it justice if we were going to do just a couple of scenes ‘over there.’

“So we really dove in full tilt with the different credits sequence and said, ‘Look, this is really what you’re going to get.’ As far as a pattern goes, the storytelling in our show — at the beginning of the year we know what we want to do and the story sort of dictates where we are going. If there’s a certain theme that we want to examine, that we find is really important to get across in several different episodes, it’ll be really interesting to tell a thematic element over here and see how our characters deal with it and then show a very different facet of that same theme Over There.”

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Each season of Fringe has introduced a new surprise that changed the landscape of what fans were seeing. In Season 1, it was the revelation of this other, parallel universe. It Season 2, it was the switching of the two Olivias. And for this season … well, Pinkner and Wyman aren’t saying, but they promise more of the same.

“We’re full of wrinkles. We’re more like a pair of corduroy pants,” Wyman joked. “Largely, this season has sort of been a march to war and it will continue to be so, driven equally by the relationship between Peter and the two Olivias. But we’ve got more stuff coming. We’re going to complicate it, and like we’ve done in the past two years, as we drive to the end of this season it will be as much as anything about setting up next sesason.”

“This one we can definitely guarantee you, the last stretch of this is going to be very compelling because you’re going to turn the page on a new and you’re going to understand our show in a different capacity,” Pinkner added. “It’s going to stretch your mind and make you think ‘Oh, I never saw that coming.’ Nothing crazy that we don’t deserve and haven’t earned, but something that is definitely integrated into the storyline and you just hopefully didn’t see coming. And we have a few cards to lay down that hopefully nobody expect.”

The new episode of Fringe, “Immortality,” airs tonight at 9 ET/PT on Fox.


  • Kenneth Livitski

    All I have to say is that if they plan on introducing a new chapter at the end of season 3, it sure the HELL better not be canceled. I’m getting so sick of shows I follow religiously being canned and leaving you hanging.

  • Imaginet1

    I think that the two universes will become one.

  • George Mitchell

    Did they just diss “Firefly”?

  • Modernpost

    I think we are talking about certain third universe…

  • Adam Rosenberg

    I don’t get the impression that cancellation is a concern those guys are having except maybe on the most fundamental level of “Hey, we have a TV show and there’s always a risk that it could be canceled.” The ratings have proven that it remains popular despite the move, the stories so far this season have honestly been better than ever and the entire series really is one of the strongest on television right now. My only worry is that, for all Pinkner & Wyman say they’ve got something planned for the next season that will feel earned and fit within the fiction, it won’t. Not because I think it won’t, but rather because any change is always going to carry the risk of being considered stupid and from too far out of left field. The show hasn’t once let me down though, and I remain excited to see what Pinkner and Wyman have cooked up for us in the coming weeks.

  • Jacob

    I don’t see where you’re getting that.

  • Ishmael

    The same thing passed through my mind when I was reading it.

    “A lot of shows that came before us that went to Fridays … for one reason or another, these shows weren’t on their creative upswing,”

    I’m sure it wasn’t intended as a swing against Firefly specifically, but it certainly could be perceived that way depending on how you choose to read between the lines. Note that Firefly is an arbitrary choice here: You could just as easily apply it to Brisco, Sliders, Dark Angel, Terminator, Dollhouse, etc. He said “a lot”, not “all”.

  • Jetstorm

    Time travel, I bet my hat that is what is going to be introduce.

  • Anonymous

    Season 3 has been exceptional. I hope this show doesn’t end the way Deadwood did for me, sigh..

  • jake estrada

    Here is hoping they do some sort if merging the two worlds.

  • Jacob

    They already covered time travel. It’ll probably have something to do with the First People.

  • Jedge1234

    Fringe is the best SF show on the air at present!

    Nuff Said!

  • Red

    Firefly wasn’t moved to Friday, it started there.

  • Christopher Taylor

    I totally feel in love with the Fringe division on the other side. They’re not evil. They’re not villians. They’re heroic people trying to protect their way of life. For me that really sells the series. Walternate on the other hand IS evil. And he’s manipulating his people and events to achieve his goals. What I most want to see is a eventual teamup between BOTH Fringe teams to either stop Walternate or another even bigger threat beyond both universes. That would be HOT.

  • Dawnell_do

    That would be interesting, but I wonder if the’ll doing a “Crisis on Infinite Earths” thing.

  • Mark Anderson

    I think the two universes will find an adversary that they have to fight together on. By that I mean if you imagine the universes as a set of pearls, we’ve seen what on “pearl” on one side of our universe looks like, but what of the other? And if Walternate plans to destroy our universe completely that would break the whole chain, jeopardising all remaining universes. So I think we will see another universe get into the game, possibly the one where the Observers come from.

  • Mark Anderson

    And should Fringe get cancelled on their current network, I have no doubt that it will be picked up by another network, much like Buffy and Primeval (in the UK) were.

  • mdk

    They went from a 2.0 to a 0.7 rating last week, becoming Fox’s lowest rated show. If that keeps up, there isn’t going to be a 4th season. I love Fringe, but I’m a realist. It’s Fox, they’re done for, sadly.

  • Michael Payton

    I love Fringe, but based on it’s awful ratings last night, the “new chapter” better hurry up and run THIS season.

  • Michael Payton

    Despite being the bad guy, “evil” Walter just refused to run tests on children, but “good” Walter did, and destroyed many of their lives.

  • Emanons

    im thinking they’re gonna merge the two universes with the machine…:D

  • Anthony F. Coleman

    First thing, everything was down this Friday. Even the wildly successful CSI. Also where did you get 0.7? They had a 1.4 rating for the hour this week which doesn’t even include DVR rating.

  • Dsfghgfht

    They were probably talking about dollhouse and terminator. The last 2 shows that after season 1 got sent to Friday to die. Firefly started there and didn’t last very long and is 8 years old now. In tv, that’s forever. That certainly is not what they’re referencing.

  • Big Boss

    Do not put much stock in anything the cast or crew say about a show’s renewal prospects (absent official network comment) because: a) It’s spin or b) They have no clue what’s going on on the network end. Make no mistake, this show is in some trouble. I hope it can pull itself out of its ratings slide, but to suggest a 4th season is a sure thing at this point is folly. As of right now, it’s a toss-up, at best.

  • Gringo Starr

    The producers have said they’re not going to expand beyond two universes. Unless Walter also breached a third universe back in the 80s, and stole… I don’t know… baby Astrid? There’s no real story to be gained from a third universe. The whole show is about the conflict between the two. That’s enough.