In perhaps the least surprising news to come out of the television industry this week, Fox has confirmed The X-Files will return for an 11th season next year.
Or rather a second season within Fox’s on-going “event” series.
When Fox decided to reboot the series, announcing the show’s return in March 2015, showrunner Chris Carter, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group, affirmed that this version of The X-Files would feel like a fresh start for the series. Carter joked in a press release that it felt like coming back from a long commercial break, while Walden and Newman said they were excited to bring the “next thrilling chapter of Mulder and Scully” to X-Files fans.
Despite Fox ordering 10-episodes for the revival’s second season, the network is still calling it an event series. An event series, which is different from a regularly scheduled program and a mini-series, gives the showrunner and network the opportunity to produce a limited-timed series while still allowing for the possibility of a second or third season in the future.
During a press tour in 2014, CBS executive Jennifer Salke told reporters that the main difference between an event series and a mini-series was the likelihood of that story being able to continue in the future without having to worry about tying the seasons together.
“A lot of the limited series are coming through the series department, or we’re hearing things that feel like they lend themselves to less than 22 [episodes] but could go on season after season,” Salke said, as reported by Screener TV. “Miniseries are usually stories or books or based on something that has a very close-ended feel.”
This isn’t the first time that Fox has talked about The X-Files returning for a second iteration of the event, either. Fox’s president of entertainment, David Madden, told Variety last February that Fox was pleased with the show’s performance and wanted it to return. Carter, who has also been vocal about his desire to bring the show back, told Polygon that fans needed to tell Fox they wanted to see more in order for the show to get another season of paranormal stories.
Clearly it’s worked out for both Fox and Carter, but while fans may consider this the eleventh season of The X-Files, it’s apparent Fox is viewing it as the second season in its limited, event series. That means The X-Files could return for a third season if there’s a demand from viewers and the ratings hold steady, but Fox wouldn’t have to worry about wrapping it up in any way if it decided to cease production.
Regardless of how the network defines it, however, the important part is that X-Files fans will get four more episodes than last season. Production is set to begin this summer, with the series expected to return between the 2017 and 2018 season. That means fans could be seeing new episodes of The X-Files as early as this winter.