The head of Fox television says it would be “heartbreaking” to pull the plug on “Fringe” – the J.J. Abrams show that has a loyal fan following and has received much critical praise, but has yet to see blockbuster ratings.
“I beg you not to write the eulogy prematurely,” programming chief Kevin Reilly told TV critics in Pasadena on Tuesday. “I was very happy to see it turn up on a number of top ten lists this year. And they deserve it. They make a mini-movie each week. The production value is incredible.
“It is a show we are very passionate about.”
Despite the lip service, Reilly recently shipped the sci-fi series to the so-called Friday night “Fox Graveyard,” where shows like “Dollhouse,” “Terminator,” “Millenium” and “Dark Angel” were all left to die.
Now in its third season, “Fringe” follows a group of FBI investigators as they try to uncover unexplained mysteries tied to a parallel universe. About five million rabid fans have been tuning in each Thursday.
Reilly wouldn’t say how many more viewers he would need to see to give a green light to Season 4.
“I don’t have a hard number in mind,” he told us. “I would love to see it hold at least 80 percent of the audience it is doing.
“Half of them are watching on DVR. I would expect those numbers to go up a little more. But I would be really discouraged if the audience watching it – who stuck through it already through a pretty challenging time period – all of a sudden say ‘New night, I am out of here.’”
Star Lance Reddick says mood on the set remains upbeat with seven episodes remaining to film this season.
“I don’t think it a bad thing that we are moving to Fridays,” he told Fancast on Tuesday. “I really think for our show it is not going to hurt us because our fans will follow us.”
Lance also offered a few spoilers for fans who can’t wait to see what happens next:
“The primary universe starts to break down to where the ultimate universe is,” he teased. “And the love triangle between Olivia and Peter and Alternate-Olivia is not over.”
“Fringe” moves to Fridays, airing at 9:00 p.m./EST beginning January 21.
Watch an Out-of-This-World Episode of “Fringe” on XfinityTV.com