Sopranos: Not a summer show

Fresh off a leading all shows 22 Emmy nominations, HBO announced programming news. The cable network will broadcast all existing 39 episodes in widescreen format starting August 12. Fans might hope that season four would premiere on week 40, in late May, but no–that ain’t gonna happen. Scheduling Sopranos then would interfere with the new seasons of Sex and the City and new hit 6 Feet Under, not too mention creative genius David Chase and crew might not be ready by then. So don’t expect new Sopranos episodes until September 2002 (production is set for October).

On the good news side of the ledger, HBO is apparently forking over $20 million to ensure a season five. This is probably a good thing, there has to be more than 52 great hours of television in this story. Chase did drop a few notes on his season four thinking, even though no scripts have been turned in yet. Chase said he has no plans to bring back Tony Soprano’s girlfriend, Gloria, played by Annabella Sciorra, or the injured Russian war veteran (Vitali Baganov), who disappeared in the snowy Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Okay about Gloria, who we did get some resolution with, but the Pine Barrens episode was a classic and I can’t believe Chase will leave that dangling.

The NY Daily News is also reporting that the deal may be for tow more seasons, not just one as the actors have contracts tying them up for six seasons (Chase’s deal was for four) and because 65, not to mention 78, episodes makes the show much more salable in syndication. I never expected Sopranos to be syndicated due the nudity and profanity but apparently they’ve been shooting two versions all along.