EXCLUSIVE: Fringe star John Noble is reuniting with Fox and the series’ co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. Noble is set for a major recurring role on Fox’s new drama series Sleepy Hollow, co-created/executive produced by Kurtzman and Orci. He will appear later in the season as Henry Parrish, a kind and reclusive man who possesses supernatural powers that have the potential to help the series’ protagonist, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison). The news comes on the heels of a strong premiere for Sleepy Hollow, which posted Fox’s biggest opening for a fall drama series in 7 years with 10.1 million viewers and a 3.5 in 18-49. Noble, who was a fan favorite for his portrayal of eccentric scientist Walter Bishop on Fringe, will also be reprising his role on The Good Wife next season as Matthew Ashbaugh, Alicia’s (Julianna Magulies) very rich, eccentric client who was murdered. He is repped by Seven Summits Management and Coast to Coast.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on Almost Human — Fox’s new human-android, near-future (2048) police drama – creator/executive producer J.H. Wyman called the new series “more accessible” than Fringe, the previous sci-fi series from the JJ Abrams team. During the panel, Wyman joked that Fringe survived 5 years on Fox despite low ratings due to “the incredible taste” of Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly. He acknowledged that the former series had its own mythology but “as the story evolved it wasn’t exactly clear.” The new series, he said, “is a police drama. This is about hardworking brave people in the front lines of a future that is just a stone’s throw away.” He said “We don’t look at episodic television as a bad word” and added that the series would “present a compelling case every week that involves these characters.” He and executive producer Naren Shankar stressed that they are not creating a dystopian future, but one in which good trumps evil.
After the session, Wyman was quick to say his onstage comments weren’t intended to diss Fringe. “I’m very proud of Fringe,” he said. But he joked it was show that people either loved or hated and added that not everyone is ready for a dose of string theory on TV. “I think this is more accessible because people don’t seem to want to think about science when they come home from work.”
The fifth and final season of Fox‘s sci-fi series Fringe will conclude with a two-hour, two-episode run Friday, January 18 from 8-10 PM, the network said today. It will also mark the 100th episode of the series, which is in the middle of its final 13-episode run. Created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Fringe is produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot in association with Warner Bros TV. Abrams, Bryan Burk and J.H. Wyman serve as executive producers, while Akiva Goldsman is a consulting producer. Wyman is showrunning the final season.
After four days of shooting, production on the final season of Fox’s cult sci-fi drama Fringe has been shut down for two weeks so co-star John Noble can get treatment for a sleep disorder. Filming on the final 13 episodes of the Warner Bros. TV-produced series began last Wednesday with Noble. On Monday, Noble was MIA at the show’s TCA panel when producers explained that he was not feeling well. The series resumed production yesterday without Noble, and a decision was made later in the day to go on hiatus while the 63-year-old actor receives treatment. Word is that Noble has had the condition, first reported by TMZ, for awhile. It was aggravated by his recent intense schedule that had him flying back from his native Australia right into Comic-Con then right into production on Season 5 of Fringe. Filming is now slated to resume on Aug. 7. The delay won’t affect the show’s Sept. 28 final season premiere.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Fox bid farewell to its never-quite-a-hit cult drama Fringe late this afternoon with a panel featuring exec producer J.H. Wyman and cast members Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and Lance Reddick (who nearly teared up near the end). The network already has announced that the coming fifth season will be its last. But creator J.J. Abrams, in prerecorded comments, was more than appreciative to have been granted five seasons of a series marked by both its creative vision and tiny audience. Introduced by Wyman, the recorded Abrams credited the media for Fringe’s having been granted such a lengthy stay of execution. Said Abrams: “I wish I could be there to thank every one of you personally for your unbelievable support of the series. Fringe is a show that I’m enormously proud to be associated with. The work that the cast and crew have done has been amazing. But your support is really the thing that has kept it alive. And Fox has been unbelievable…It’s a very great thing in this day and age that a network would support a show that isn’t a massive hit. And Fringe has always been, true to its …
There might be a Fringe movie, at least if members of the cast have their way. “The film is very possible down the line,” John Noble said today at the show’s Comic-Con panel. “The show will live on in some form or another,” added fellow cast member Joshua Jackson. It was Fringe’s last turn at Comic-Con today but if the packed Hall H was any indication the fans certainly don’t want the sci-fi series to even think about ending. That dedication was evident right near the beginning of the session as hundreds in the crowd held up print out of white tulips in tribute to the show’s 18th episode and the flower’s role as a symbol of forgiveness. Beyond the actor’s speculation and fond hopes, not a lot was revealed in where things were going in season five or down the line.
“It’s only 13 episodes so I’m going to be careful with what I say because I really want you guys to experience it. I’m going to be tight lipped,” said executive producer J. H. Wyman near the end of the session. The panel today included Wyman as well as cast members Anna Torv, Jackson, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole and Noble. Blair Brown was supposed to be there but it was announced she couldn’t make it due to a cold.
A month after securing a 13-episode fifth and final season renewal from Fox, modestly rated sci-fi drama Fringe has been sold in off-network syndication to Discovery Communications’ Science Channel. The pact between Fringe producer/distributor Warner Bros and Science includes a SVOD carveout, allowing Warner Bros to sell the series to a streaming service where serialized dramas do far better than in traditional off-network syndication. Chatter about a Fringe off-network sale started this morning when the series was listed as “sold” for a fall 2012 launch on a slide from Warner Bros TV Group president Bruce Rosenblum’s speech at an investor conference. Variety was the first to unveil Science as the buyer.
Fox will follow NBC in presenting its fall lineup tomorrow. But unlike the peacock network, which is overhauling its schedule with four nights of comedies, Fox is not expected to make drastic changes. The network would not comment, but I hear that it will stick to its plan to launch an all-comedy Tuesday night with Raising Hope, Ben & Kate, New Girl and Mindy Kaling’s It’s Messy. Glee, which anchored the Tuesday comedy block for the last two years, is rumored to be relocating to Thursday after X Factor. In its sophomore season, Kiefer Sutherland’s Touch may join Fringe on Fridays for a sci-fi-themed night, while new medical drama The Mob Doc drama looks Monday-bound, inheriting the night of Fox’s veteran medical drama House and possibly airing with Bones. As expected, given its 15-episode-a-season order, I hear Fox is holding back its highest-profile new series, the Kevin Bacon-starring The Following for midseason, along with new comedy The Goodwin Games.
As primetime continues to lose viewers to the longer days and warmer springtime, Fox’s Fringe last night (1.1/3 in adults 18-49) went up a tenth from last week in its first airing since the sci-fi series was renewed for a 13-episode final season. It was one of only two series to post gains vs. their most recent originals last night. The other was NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are (1.0/4), whose Rob Lowe episode was up 25% from the previous new episode 3 weeks ago featuring Edie Falco. After surging 33% last week, Fox’s The Finder (1.1/4) was down 8% this week as it faced all-original competition in the 8 PM hour vs. all-repeats on the major nets last week.
Low ratings be damned — cult favorite Fringe will finish its multi-universe journey with a 13-episode final season. As expected, Fox has closed a deal to renew the sci-fi drama for a fifth season. While a dismal ratings performer in live viewing, Fringe has been a big DVR gainer and a favorite of critics as well as Fox brass. “Fringe has been a point of pride for me, I share the fans’ passion for the show,” Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said in January at TCA, where he also made it clear that a renewal hinged on renegotiating the deal with producing studio Warner Bros TV and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot at a lower license fee. “We lose a lot of money on the show,” Reilly said. “We are not in the business of losing money, so we’re trying to figure out if there a number at which we can continue with the series.” After lengthy negotiations over the past couple of months, the two sides came to an agreement, giving the show and its fans a proper ending. “We are thrilled and beyond grateful that Fox – and our fans – have made the impossible possible: Fringe will continue into a fifth season that will allow the series to conclude in a wild and thrilling way,” series co-creator/executive producer JJ Abrams said. Here is a trailer for Fringe‘s upcoming Season 5:
These are ratings that don’t need a comment, just a moment of silence. In its second week on Friday, Fox’s The Finder (0.9/3 in adults 18-49) fell 18% from its underwhelming premiere on the night last week to a new series low. Its rating was matched by Fringe (0.9/3), which was down a tenth to match its series low. Fox finished fifth for the night in 18-49 behind ABC and CBS, which were tied for first with a 1.5/5, Univision (1.4/5) and NBC (1.2/4).
NBC’s Grimm showed yet again that it does well when airing uninterrupted. For a second consecutive week since coming back with originals 3 weeks ago, the dark fairytale procedural (1.6/5) went up, jumping 23% from last Friday. Grimm was helped by CBS’ airing a Lionel Ritchie music special against it instead of CSI: NY. It was a Lionel Ritchie-themed night last night. It started on NBC, which rebroadcast the Ritchie episode of Who Do You Think You Are from last season to a 0.9/3, which was actually up a tenth from the series’ originals the last two weeks, underscoring how dependent on the profiled celebrity the docu series is. Then from 9-11 PM, it was CBS’ turn with the ACM Presents: Lionel Ritchie & Friends special which logged a 1.4/4.
CBS’ Undercover Boss (1.7/6) at 8 PM was down a tenth from last week but still ranked as the top program of the night in 18-49. After a …
There are not that many cases when a 1.2 demo rating wold be a cause for celebration. This is one of them — last night Fox’s bubble sci-fi drama Fringe posted a 1.2/4 in adults 18-49, shooting up 33% from the series low it posted in its return from hiatus last week. Fringe also matched its lead-in, Kitchen Nightmares, which also recovered from its all-time low of a 1.0 rating last week.
CBS’ lineup returned to normal after two weeks of NCAA basketball, bringing with it CSI: NY, back after a midseason break to a 1.6/5 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers, down a tenth in the demo from its last original almost 2 months ago. Undercover Boss (1.8/7, 8.1 million) was down 10% from its most recent episode 3 weeks ago when both Undercover Boss and Blue Bloods underwent significant downward ratings adjustment in the finals. Blue Bloods (1.6/5, 10.6 million) was even with that final demo rating and once again ranked as the most watched program of the night.
Highest-rated among adults 18-49 was ABC’s 20/20 (2.1/7, 6.9 million), which had its best demo delivery in more than 2 years (since 1/8/10) with a program devoted to the Mega Millions lotto frenzy. Primetime: What Would You Do? (1.5/5) also was competitive, but with Shark Tank a repeat (1.2/5), ABC (1.6/5, 5.6 million) was edged by CBS (1.7/6, 9.4 million) for the top 18-49 spot for the night. CBS also won in …