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Fringe - Season 5 - Kevin Reilly's thoughts on the show's future

"Fringe has been a point of pride. I share the passion for the show that the fans have. It's vastly improved our Friday night. The hesitation in my voice is that it's an expensive show. We lose a lot of money on Fringe, and FOX is not in the business of losing money. Please don't start the letter-writing campaign, I can't take it. It's a decision we're going to have to make down the road, discussions haven't already started."

Source : Hitfix at the TCA.

Would it help if House (a very old, expensive show) was coming to an end this May (the decision was supposed to be made by now, it is not, and Reilly just said that FOX isn't in such a desperate place that they need to keep the show alive in some form when asked about a possible House spinoff) ? Absolutely.

Would Fringe's renewal be made easier if FOX doesn't renew Terra Nova (although Reilly has hinted today that he was pleased by the ratings, "some" of the episodes and the fact that it's a show for the whole family) ? Certainly.

Would it help if neither Alcatraz nor Touch (the two upcoming sci-fi additions to FOX's lineup) are successful ? Definitely.

But if Fringe comes back for a fifth season, it's obvious it is going to be with some serious budgetary cutbacks : less money for special effects, having a shortened season, or even losing a main cast member (or limiting his or her number of episodes) ? Who knows. Chuck went to season 5 but it experienced all that, maybe Fringe will have to experience it as well (the show has been struggling ratings-wise since Fall 2009 and yet season 2, season 3 and season 4 all had 22-23 episodes and we didn't lose any cast members over the years (they even added one this season with Seth Gabel)).

The main issue being money, I for one would gladly pay, like, $30 via a FOX Paypal account for a fifth and final season of Fringe, and if all the fans across both universes are also willing to do that, it would be swell... it's one of my crazy theories as I try to think of alternatives ways for Fringe to get renewed, but I'm sure that if hundreds of thousands of devoted fans from across the globe can do it, then money wouldn't be such a big issue anymore. If you love the show like I do, paying $30 (much less than a DVD boxset) is acceptable. If that's feasable, I don't know why Kevin Reilly wouldn't bring it up in a near future (it doesn't sound unfeasable to me anyway).


My plan for us all to pay for season 5 of Fringe is feasable. First, let's recapitulate the facts :

- There's approximately 3.20-3.30 million viewers watching the show live on Friday nights (that's what the few Nielsen boxes say). With DVR recordings, that number goes up to 5.10-5.20 million viewers.

- Fringe is broadcasted in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa and in almost all european countries (according to Wikipedia). Even if perhaps many people don't wait for the broadcast of Fringe in their respective country to watch the show, there's still lots of millions of viewers overseas, and a lot of fans in these countries anyhow.

- The fans of Fringe are rabid fans, the best kind (just don't let them bite you).

- A full 22-episode season of Fringe must cost approximately between 60 and 80 million dollars to produce.

Well, if among the 5.20 million american viewers watching the show every week, there's even only 10% of them donating $50 (less than a new DVD boxset) to FOX to keep Fringe alive for another full season, that would mean 26 million dollars in Kevin Reilly's pockets. That's a third of the show's budget for a full season if it costs 78 million dollars to produce ($3.55 million/episode, I actually don't think they spend that much on Fringe).

And I'm talking about only 10% of the US fans watching the show live or DVRing it. If 20% of them are true fans and willing to give, we could double the amount, make it 52 million dollars. Plus, I'm sure there are many americans not watching Fringe live or DVRing it but who watch the show nonetheless and who would also gladly give money. And if we take into account fans from other countries, well, a fifth season would be funded very easily !

If the budget is between 60 and 80 million dollars for 22 episodes (between $2.72 million and 3.64 million/episode), here's an example of how it could go :

500,000 people giving 50$ : 25 million dollars (≏ 31% to 42% of the show's budget for a full season).
1,000,000 people giving 50$ : 50 million dollars (≏ 63% to 84% of the show's budget for a full season).
1,500,000 people giving 50$ : 75 million dollars (≏ 94% to 125% of the show's budget for a full season).

I'm sure there's a million devoted Fringe fans out there who would be willing to donate a certain amount of money via a FOX Paypal account. I would certainly give 50€ myself (for us in Europe giving 50€ would mean giving $63.50, that's even more interesting - even if donating just the equivalent of $50 (39.35€) would still be much appreciated).

LET'S DO THIS ! It actually doesn't seem impossible to pull this off. If FOX executives hear about an idea like that, it could convince them to try it, to set a minimum amount of money to generate on this Paypal account and we would all contribute... Desperate times call for desperate (crazy ?) measures.

Yes, it sounds very idealistic (some might say unrealistic or stupid), but I'm confident there's a lot of Fringe fans who really love this show and we would give money to keep it on the air, it can be done, I'm sure of that.

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