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FOX chief warns that the future of 'Fringe' is in doubt

FOX / Today
The future is in doubt for Peter, Olivia and the usual suspects on "Fringe"?

Updated at 4:56 p.m. PT

“Fringe” has been hanging by a thread at Fox, and this season may be the last for the fantasy series.

“I would like to have one more season to wrap things up,” show executive producer J.J. Abrams said during the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena. “But then that’s what any producer would say.”

On Sunday, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly assured that the show has been a point of pride for the network.

“I share the passion for the show that the fans have,” Reilly said of the series. “I love the fact that Fox, after letting down some of the genre fans over the years, put one on.”

Reilly also said that he loves that fans stuck with the show, and ratings were vastly improved on that night with the addition of “Fringe.”

So what’s not to love?

“The hesitation in my voice is that it’s an expensive show,” Reilly said. “We lose a lot of money on the show.”

Fox doesn’t like bleeding bucks, and the show hasn’t been able to even break even in the past season.

“We’re not in the business of losing money,” Reilly explained. “So we really do have to sit down with (studio Warner Bros.) and figure out is there a number at which it makes sense.”

Translation?  Make it cheaper or kill it.

“I hope we get some credit with the fans for seeing through a great show that they’ve enjoyed,” Reilly says. “I’m not now quietly doing the soft cancel here. I’m just telling you where it stands. I know (the producers and the studio) want to keep it going.”

But if it's up to Warner Bros., then fans can relax. Studio boss Peter Roth told us that talk of cancellation is a bit premature. "We have no plans to give viewers closure this season because we expect the series to continue," he told us.

There were reports that producers might try to shop the series to another network, but if they can’t trim the costs there’s little chance it would be attractive to cable entities with smaller budgets than broadcast networks.

“Please don’t start the letter writing campaign right now,” Reilly pleaded. “I can’t take it.”

Ready or not, Reilly may find the first to pen a protest could be star Joshua Jackson, who insisted he wants the series to continue. If that's not an option, he'd at least like to see fans get closure on the story.

"Fringe" makes its midseason return to FOX on Friday, Jan. 13.

So tell us, "Fringe" fans, is it too soon to wrap up the series? Do you plan to participate in any save-our-show efforts? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.


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