Now that Sopranos kingpin David Chase has agreed to produce a sixth season of the HBO series (Season Five debuts in early 2004), mob mentality has set in: Greedy fans are already buzzing about the possibility of — holy cannoli! — a seventh season with James Gandolfini and Co. Will it happen?

"Definitely not," insists Robert Iler (A.J. Soprano), who learned of the Season Six pact at a "family" sit-down held on the set in early June. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who plays mouthy Meadow Soprano, elaborates: "David told us that he thought he'd be able to finish in five seasons, but he couldn't. So he's doing the extra 10 episodes in the sixth to finish up all the plotlines." While Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Melfi) was "elated" by the extension, talk of yet another season gives her agita. "Oh, my God, please!" she groans. "I'm happy we got what we got."

So is HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht. But that isn't stopping him from holding out hope that the show will go on. "When I'm at the wrap party for the final episode, then I'll say it's over," he grins. "Other than that, it's really up to David Chase." Maybe it's time HBO added some muscle to its payroll.