It's official: The Sopranos
will live on for a sixth season. HBO confirms that a deal has been reached with series creator
for an additional season, to begin production in early 2005. The sixth (and final
?) season will consist of 10 episodes instead of the traditional 13 and will likely debut in the fall of 2005. Earlier this month, Chase said that he was toying with the idea of extending
the mob drama's upcoming fifth season beyond the standard 13-episode cycle because he found himself with a sudden story surplus. However, HBO apparently talked him into doing an extra season instead. According to the New York Times
, the prospect of a lucrative syndication deal may have been a factor; a sixth season will leave HBO with 75 episodes of the show enough to sell into syndication.