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‘Fringe’ Earns Fifth Season, Is ‘Alcatraz’ Next?

PLUS: Is Leonard Nimoy returning for final episodes?


Fox is set to announce some great news for anyone who likes the unexplained across multiple universes: “Fringe” is coming back.

The J.J. Abrams series starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble will get a fifth and final season beginning in the fall, having a chance to end its epic story in 13 episodes — some of which were teased in a recent jump-to-the-future episode.

Airlock Alpha sister site Inside Blip recently listed “Fringe” as “still bouncing” in its recent network-by-network review. However, even in the summary, it was made clear there that we strongly believed “Fringe” would come back for a shortened year.

“Fox is going to bring this back for a shortened season, to wrap everything up, and then replace it on Fridays with ‘Alcatraz,'” Inside Blip reported earlier this month. “I could be dead wrong, but then again, I’ve made some eerily accurate guesses in the past. Not sure if this will be one of them.”

Reports of a shortened final season have circulated in recent weeks, despite “Fringe” being one of network television’s lowest-rated scripted shows, and Fox executives’ own admission that the network loses money on the show. But then again, “Fringe” has had a strong (albeit small) following, and giving the writers, producers and cast a chance to wrap things up seemed like the best way to honor that commitment.

Of course, the other side of Inside Blip’s prediction is that “Alcatraz” will be renewed as a mid-season replacement to take over the “Fringe” timeslot. No word is out yet on the fate of that show, but Fox will likely make some kind of announcement during its upfront presentation to advertisers on Friday.

Fox would have to accept a smaller audience for “Alcatraz” if it were to make the move, but it’s likely the show is heading in that direction anyway. Through the end of March, “Alcatraz” averaged a 4.0 rating/6 share according to Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co., placing it No. 10 among Fox shows and No. 57 overall.

However, those numbers are a bit misleading. “Alcatraz” premiered to a 6.0/9 on Jan. 16, but finished its season on March 26 with a 2.9/4, a drop of 52 percent. And it’s not like “Alcatraz” just caught fewer viewers at a bad time, the show’s ratings were trending down all through March, averaging a 3.1 household rating compared to a 4.6 household rating before that.

“Fringe,” however, has a completely different story when it comes to ratings. It’s averaging a 1.9/3 through the end of March, placing it last on Fox, and No. 102 overall. When April’s numbers are calculated, it likely won’t be the lowest-rated of the Big Four networks as “Best Friends Forever” and “Bent” on NBC will likely replace it.

Airlock Alpha has received a non-corroborated report late Thursday that there is one special guest star that is slated to return: Leonard Nimoy. Fans watching the episode “Letters of Transit,” caught a glimpse of the “Star Trek” icon who has played the mysterious scientist William Bell in the past.

While that representation of Nimoy was computer-generated, the actor himself is expected to make a reappearance, possibly by the end of the season.

“Fringe” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. Check out a video promoting the final season right here.

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Could they be a gh...gh...gh...ghost? Rut-ro! Shaggy
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