Fox Bosses on the 'Difficult' Decision to Renew Sleepy Hollow

Marisa Roffman
Sleepy Hollow
Tina Rowden/FOX

Sleepy Hollow scored a late renewal for its upcoming fourth season, but given the controversial move to (spoiler alert) kill off Abbie (Nicole Beharie), the show's co-lead, its future was very much up in the air.

"It was obviously a very hard conversation," Fox entertainment president David Madden said during the show's Television Critics Association executive session. "Crane and Abbie were the spine of the show for the first three seasons. It was difficult to figure out whether it was the right thing to do to continue or not."

Ultimately, "the producers came to us, very emotional, and said, 'We think there is a fourth season of the show, and longer,'" Madden added. "[Series star] Tom Mison is a big TV star; Crane is a fantastic character. They pitched us an array of new characters and new situations for Crane to get into. We've already read the first several scripts; they're really fun. If you watched the finale of the previous season, it gives you a big clue about where Crane is headed—Washington D.C.—and all the things you can imagine about him being in that particular location. We think there's a lot of good story to tell, and that's why we made that decision."

Related: Sleepy Hollow boss on the Season 3 finale twists

After the panel, Fox Television Group Chairman/CEO Dana Walden acknowledged that the series could have a rough go convincing fans to give Season 4 a chance when the series returns in midseason. "I feel like any show that is launching or you're changing it fundamentally and relaunching, the only thing you can do is show materials from the show—show viewers there's still something very special about the series," she told reporters. "We had a lot of conversations in the scheduling room about Sleepy Hollow and whether we'd bring it back or not. Again, in this really crowded marketplace, Ichabod Crane is a wildly original character, and it felt like there were more stories to tell about him. Hopefully it will work. It felt like a better starting place for storytelling than a wholly original idea replacing it."

Sleepy Hollow, Midseason, Fox.