Fox has picked up Prison Break (Mondays at 8 pm/ET) for a third season — but earning that green light was no easy feat for the serialized thriller that, having busted its cons out of the clink at the end of Season 1, ran the risk of exhausting not just its scrambling fugitives, but its storytelling options as well. As such, coming up with a winning Season 3 setup "was absolutely the toughest nut to crack thus far," series creator Paul T. Scheuring tells TVGuide.com.
Since the pickup was announced, a few details and clues have surfaced in the trades. For example, viewers can expect the addition of at least four cast members (two men, two women, none American), says Variety, and Scheuring hinted to the Hollywood Reporter that one of the brothers — either Wentworth Miller's Michael or Dominic Purcell's Lincoln — might not survive beyond the new season's first couple of episodes.
Here is what the series creator had to share with TVGuide.com the night that he got the good news.
TVGuide.com: Exactly when did you arrive at what would become the concept for Season 3? Was figuring out where to take the brothers next one of the toughest nuts to crack to date?
Paul T. Scheuring: Absolutely, this was the toughest nut to crack thus far. We always had the first two seasons mapped out in concept, and we always felt like we'd cross the bridge of Season 3 when we got there. Over this season, as the ratings started coming in strong, we had the feeling that we'd need to figure it out, and we started to formulate ideas. We pitched our concept to the network, and after some give-and-take and creative discussions with [Fox Entertainment president] Peter Liguori and his team, we arrived at something we liked.
TVGuide.com: How much can you reveal about the premise, without spoiling the remainder of this season? Has a foundation for Season 3 already been hinted at, or is there an upcoming episode to watch for?
Scheuring: There's not too much that we can divulge. By the end of the season finale [airing April 2], people will understand where the characters stand. We leave a lot of mysteries on the table. We just finished shooting the season finale last week.
TVGuide.com: Did Sarah Wayne Callies' real-life pregnancy/availability "detour" your Season 3 plan at all? Or did it perhaps offer you a creative "a-ha" moment?
Scheuring: Not really, not in the larger construct, but in the short term she'll be missing a few of the early episodes while she's out on maternity [leave]. The pregnancy will not be written in.
TVGuide.com: Are you scouting new locations yet? There's been talk that Prison Break may call Florida home for some of next season.
Scheuring: We'll still be based out of Dallas, with the occasional satellite crew in Florida and Louisiana.
TVGuide.com: Michael and Lincoln and the assorted cons, Sara, Bellick, Kellerman and Mahone... what percentage of the current key players will "survive" to Season 3? And do those cast members know who they are yet?
Scheuring: The cast members who will return next season know who they are — more than half will be back. But I can't reveal more than that.