Prison Break

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Prison Break

Prison Break season 4 intertitle
Genre Drama
Serial drama
Created by Paul Scheuring
Starring Dominic Purcell
Wentworth Miller
Robin Tunney
Marshall Allman
Michael Rapaport
Amaury Nolasco
Robert Knepper
Peter Stormare
Rockmond Dunbar
Wade Williams
Paul Adelstein
Chris Vance
Robert Wisdom
Danay Garcia
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe
Sarah Wayne Callies
William Fichtner
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 73 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Marty Adelstein (2005-)
Neal H. Moritz (2005-)
Dawn Parouse(2005-)
Brett Ratner (2005-)
Paul Scheuring (2005-)
Matt Olmstead (2005-)
Kevin Hooks (2006-)
Michael Pavone (2005)
Location(s) Chicago, Illinois
Joliet, Illinois
Dallas, Texas
Los Angeles, California
Running time approx. 42 min.
Original channel FOX
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital with 5.1 channels
Original run August 29, 2005 – 2009
External links
Official website

Prison Break is an American serial drama television series created by Paul Scheuring, which premiered on the Fox Broadcasting Company on August 29, 2005. The series revolves around two brothers; one who has been sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, and the other, a genius, who devises an elaborate plan to help him escape prison. The series is produced by Adelstein-Parouse Productions, in association with Original Television and 20th Century Fox Television. The current executive producers are head writer Scheuring, co-head writer Matt Olmstead, Kevin Hooks, Marty Adelstein, Dawn Parouse, Neal H. Moritz, and Brett Ratner.[1] The series' theme music is composed by Ramin Djawadi, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2006.[2]

The series was originally turned down by Fox in 2003, which was concerned about the long-term possibilities of such a series. Following the popularity of serialized prime time television series Lost and 24, Fox decided to back production in 2004. The first season received generally positive reviews,[3] and performed well in the ratings. The first season was originally planned for a 13-episode run, but was extended to include an extra nine episodes due to its popularity. Prison Break has been nominated for several industry awards, and won the 2006 People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama. The first three seasons have been released on DVD, while the first and third seasons have also been released on Blu-ray Disc. The series has been aired internationally, including several non-English speaking countries.

The success of the series has also inspired short videos for mobile phones, several official tie-ins in print and on the internet, and a video game in development. A spin-off series, Prison Break: Proof of Innocence, has been produced exclusively for mobile phones. The series has spawned an official magazine and a book written in an in-universe perspective. The fourth season of Prison Break will return from its mid-season break on a new timeslot, Friday at 8PM, starting April 17, 2009 for the series' last six episodes. Two extra episodes were produced, but no airdate has been set for them. They will be included on the DVD of the fourth season, which will be released on June 2nd, 2009.[4]


[edit] Production

[edit] Conception

The original concept of Prison Break — a man deliberately getting himself sent to prison in order to help his brother escape — was suggested to Paul Scheuring by producer Dawn Parouse, who wanted to produce an action-oriented series. Although Scheuring thought it was a good idea, he was initially stumped as to why someone would embark on such a mission or how he could develop it into a viable television show. He came up with the story of the wrongfully accused brother, and began working on the plot outline and devising the characters. In 2003, he pitched the idea to the Fox Broadcasting Company but was turned down as Fox felt nervous about the long-term possibilities of such a series. He subsequently showed the concept to other channels but was also turned down as it was thought to be more suited for a film project than a television series.[5] Prison Break was later considered as a possible 14-part miniseries, which drew the interest of Steven Spielberg before his departure due to his involvement with War of the Worlds. Thus, the miniseries never materialized. Following the huge popularity of serialized prime time television series such as Lost and 24, the Fox Network had a change of heart and backed the production in 2004.[6] The pilot episode was filmed a year after Scheuring wrote the script.[6]

[edit] Filming locations

Promotional photo of cast members Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell inside Joliet Prison.

The first three seasons of Prison Break were primarily filmed outside of Hollywood. The majority of the first season of the series was filmed on location in and around Chicago.[7] After it was closed down in 2002, Joliet Prison became the set of Prison Break in 2005, standing in as Fox River State Penitentiary on screen.[8] Scenes set in Lincoln's cell, the infirmary and the prison yard were all shot on location at the prison.[9] Lincoln's cell was the same one in which serial killer John Wayne Gacy was incarcerated, which at least one member of the production crew refused to enter, believing that it was haunted.[10][7] Other sets were built at the prison, including the cell blocks that housed the general prison population; these blocks had three tiers of cells (as opposed to the real cell block's two) and had cells much larger than real cells to allow more space for the actors and cameras.[9] Exterior scenes were filmed in areas around Chicago, Woodstock, and Joliet in Illinois. Other locations included O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Prison Break spent $2 million per episode in the state of Illinois, which cost them a total of $24 million in 2005.[7]

Renewed for a second season, Prison Break resumed filming on June 15, 2006 in Dallas, Texas due to the close proximity of rural and urban settings.[11] Locations within a 30-minute radius of Dallas were chosen which included Little Elm, Decatur and Mineral Wells.[12] Many of these locations were used to represent various American towns.[13] The show was expected to spend in excess of $50 million in Texas over the course of the second season.[14] For the final three episodes of the second season, filming took place in Pensacola, Florida to represent Panama.[15] Each episode takes eight days to film and approximately $1.4 million goes to the local economy per episode.[16]

The third season was shot in Texas and had a budget of $3 million per episode.[17] Several of the exterior scenes with Lincoln and Gretchen negotiating the escape from the Panama jail were shot in the Casco Viejo quarter of Panama City.[18] The principal photography for the fourth season was relocated to Los Angeles, California.[19]

[edit] Music

The theme music of Prison Break and the incidental music of each episode are composed by Ramin Djawadi. The score for the first two seasons is featured in the Prison Break: Original Television Soundtrack, which was released on August 28, 2007.[20] Djawadi and Ferry Corsten produced a remix of the theme music entitled "Prison Break Theme (Ferry Corsten Breakout Mix)" as a single, which was released by Fox Music in 2006. In Europe, rapper Faf Larage's song "Pas le temps" is used by television network M6 in France to replace the show's original theme music in the title sequence, which generated publicity and helped to localize the show.[21] Similarly, "Ich glaub' an Dich (Prison Break Anthem)" (performed by Azad and Adel Tawil) and "Over the Rainbow" (performed by Leki) are used in the title sequence in Germany and Belgium respectively.

[edit] Format

Prison Break features a serialized story structure, similar to that of its first season companion show 24. In November 2008, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Fox had ordered two extra episodes of the current fourth season, which may serve as a two-hour series finale in 2009. There has been some speculation that a pre-determined end-date is being set for Prison Break, similar to Lost.[22] At the 2009 TV Critics Press Tour, Kevin Reilly told reporters that the series would end with the fourth season. Despite decreasing ratings, Reilly attributed the cancellation to creativity: "The show has just played out. You get to a point creatively where you feel all the stories have been told, and you want to end strong and not gimp out in the end of the season."[23] Kristin Dos Santos of E! has reported that there may be several extra episodes following the remaining six. Reilly has also confirmed that the series will end with a two-hour finale, rather than a rumored TV movie. Regarding the finale, Reilly says, "They have a really cool ending, actually. I know where they end, and it's a hell of an idea."[23]

[edit] Cast and characters

Promotional photograph of the cast of Prison Break's first season.

Prison Break maintains an ensemble cast for each season along with many recurring guest stars. The first season features a cast of ten actors who receive star billing, who were based in Chicago or at Fox River State Penitentiary.[24] The second season features a cast of nine actors who receive billing; three characters are downgraded from series regular to recurring status, another is upgraded, and a new character is introduced.[25] The third season introduces four new characters; two of whom are prisoners at Penitenciaría Federal de Sona.[26]

Most of the changes in the cast have been due to character deaths. Series creator, Paul Scheuring, explains that killing off major characters "makes the audience that much more fearful for our protagonists" and that "it actually does help us in terms of reducing story lines".[27] The two protagonists of the series, Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield, are the only characters to have appeared in every episode of the series.

[edit] Main cast

  • Dominic Purcell as Lincoln Burrows (Season 1–4): Lincoln is a high school drop-out and a convicted felon, who is wrongfully accused of and charged with the murder of Terence Steadman, the brother of the Vice President of the United States. Purcell was cast three days before the start of production and consequently, he was the last actor to join the original cast.[28] He auditioned for the role while he had a recurring role as Tommy Ravetto on North Shore. Since working on John Doe, Purcell has had an amiable relationship with Fox. Hence, he was sent the pilot script of Prison Break.[5] Scheuring's first impression of Purcell did not convince him as a fit for the role since the actor went to the audition with his hair styled and a tan. However, Purcell's acting won the role. He arrived on the set on the first day of filming with a shaved head, which amazed Scheuring with the physical likeness of the series' two leading actors.[29]
  • Wentworth Miller as Michael Scofield (Season 1–4): Michael is Lincoln's brother and worked as a structural engineer before devoting full-time to his brother's case. In order to save his brother's life, Michael creates an elaborate plan to help his brother escape from prison. In an interview, Paul Scheuring recalled that most of the actors who tested for the role "would come in playing mysterious, but it was so cheesy and false."[29] A week before the start of production, Miller auditioned for the role and impressed Scheuring with his performance; he was cast the following day.[28]
  • Robin Tunney as Veronica Donovan (Season 1–2): Veronica is Michael and Lincoln's childhood friend and decides to review Lincoln's case at Michael's insistence. She becomes Lincoln's lawyer and appears as a major character in the first season.
  • Marshall Allman as Lincoln "L. J." Burrows Jr. (Season 1–3): L. J. is the teenage son of Lincoln Burrows and is greatly affected by his father's death sentence. He is forced into hiding after he becomes the target of the people who want Lincoln dead.
  • Amaury Nolasco as Fernando Sucre (Season 1–4): Sucre develops a friendship with Michael during time at Fox River State Penitentiary, where he was his cell-mate. He becomes Michael and Lincoln's ally, and provides comic relief to the show. His character's story focuses mainly on his wish to reunite with his girlfriend. Upon receiving the pilot script, Nolasco's first thought was that it was "one of those failed pilots that the network didn't really want" since most of the series pilots would have started production by that time. Admitting that he doesn't like to read, Nolasco was amazed that the script was a "huge page-turner". Prior to his last audition for the role, Nolasco recalled his nervousness, which grew when Paul Scheuring told him that he was their favourite choice. Subsequently, he was cast in the role.[30]
  • Robert Knepper as Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell (Season 1–4): T-Bag appears in all four seasons of the series as a cunning, violent and manipulative psychopath, consistently underestimated by those around him.
  • Peter Stormare as John Abruzzi (Season 1-2): Due to his role as the leader of a Chicago mafia, Abruzzi became a prominent figure at Fox River State Penitentiary. He agrees to provide an escape plane for Michael in exchange for the location of the eyewitness to his crimes, Otto Fibonacci. He appears regularly in the first half of the first season and makes selected appearances towards the end of the first season and the beginning of the second season.
  • Rockmond Dunbar as Benjamin Miles "C-Note" Franklin (Season 1–2): Desperate for his family, C-Note blackmails Michael at Fox River to join his escape team. He appears in the series as a major character in the first and second seasons.
  • Wade Williams as Brad Bellick (Season 1–4): Appearing in all four seasons, Bellick was introduced as the captain of Fox River's correctional officers. After reading the pilot script, Williams initially did not want to portray the role of Bellick because the character was "horrible and despicable". His reluctance stemmed from being the father of a four-year-old daughter. However, his manager persuaded him to audition for the role and Williams landed the role of Bellick.[30]
  • Sarah Wayne Callies as Sara Tancredi (Season 1–2, 4): Sara is the prison doctor at Fox River and the daughter of Governor Frank Tancredi, who is linked into the plot that brings Lincoln to Fox River. She takes a liking to Michael and eventually aids his escape. She ultimately joins them on the run. Callies was the first actress the producers saw at the audition for the role of Sara Tancredi and was also the first to become a principal cast member.[28][31]
  • Paul Adelstein as Paul Kellerman (Season 1–2): Kellerman was introduced as a Secret Service agent working for the Vice President to make sure that the execution of Lincoln Burrows goes smoothly. Eventually, his character changes from that of a villain to an ally to Michael and Lincoln. He appears as a major character in the first and second seasons.
  • William Fichtner as Alexander Mahone (Season 2–4): Introduced as an FBI agent in the second season, Mahone's assignment was to locate the fugitives. Mahone is intellectually matched with Michael and his background unfolds as the series progresses. In season 3 he finds himself incarcerated with Michael in Sona and is eventually forced to become his ally through season 4.
  • Chris Vance as James Whistler (Season 3-4): Whistler is incarcerated in Sona for the murder of the Mayor's son and appears as a major character in the third season. He also stars in the first episode of Season 4.
  • Robert Wisdom as Norman "Lechero" St. John (Season 3): Appearing as a major character in the third season, Lechero is a prisoner at Sona who rules the prison as a dictator and a Panamanian drug kingpin.
  • Danay Garcia as Sofia Lugo (season 3): Sofia was introduced in the third season as Whistler's girlfriend, at the beginning of season 4 it is revealed she has started to date Lincoln Burrows.
  • Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Gretchen Morgan (Season 3–4): Introduced as "Susan B. Anthony", Gretchen is an operative for the company who is in charge of ensuring the escape of James Whistler.
  • Michael Rapaport as Donald Self (Season 4): Introduced in season 4, Self is a Department of Homeland Security special agent who teams up with the gang to take down The Company.

[edit] Season synopsis

[edit] Season 1

The first season follows the rescue of Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), who is accused of murdering Terrence Steadman (Jeff Perry), the brother of the Vice President of the United States. Lincoln is sentenced to death and is incarcerated in Fox River State Penitentiary where he awaits his execution. Lincoln's brother, brilliant structural engineer Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), is convinced of Lincoln's innocence and formulates an escape plan. In order to gain access to Fox River, Michael commits armed robbery. Michael befriends the prison doctor Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) when he pretends to suffer from Type 1 diabetes, in order to gain daily access to the prison's infirmary. The brothers' fight to ward off the execution is aided by their lifelong friend Veronica Donovan (Robin Tunney), who begins to investigate the conspiracy that put Lincoln in jail. However, they are hindered by covert agents, members of an organization known as The Company. The Company was responsible for framing Lincoln, and they did so because of Lincoln's father, Aldo Burrows, and his former connections to the company. The brothers, along with six other inmates, Fernando Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell (Robert Knepper), Benjamin Miles "C-Note" Franklin (Rockmond Dunbar), David "Tweener" Apolskis (Lane Garrison), John Abruzzi (Peter Stormare), and Charles "Haywire" Patoshik (Silas Weir Mitchell), who come to be known as the Fox River Eight, escape in the season finale.

[edit] Season 2

The second season begins eight hours after the escape, focusing mainly on the escapees. Series creator Paul Scheuring describes the second season as "The Fugitive times eight" and likens it to the "second half of The Great Escape".[14] The fugitives split up and journey to locations across the country with the authorities close behind them as they each pursue their individual goals. Brad Bellick (Wade Williams) gets fired from the prison where he worked as a guard and chases after the inmates himself for the reward money. Several of the escapees reunite in search of a large cache of money buried long ago by another prisoner. Federal agent Alexander Mahone (William Fichtner) is assigned to track down and capture the eight fugitives, but is revealed to be working for The Company, which wants all eight men dead. When Sara discovers her dead father, Governor Frank Tancredi, she meets with Michael, remaining with him as the brothers try to bring down the current President, a Company member. To ensure the brothers' safety, Sara allows herself to be arrested and faces trial. During the trial, the testimony of former Secret Service agent Paul Kellerman, who used to work for the Company-controlled President, exonerates Lincoln and Sara. Several of the escapees are killed or recaptured, but the brothers make it to Panama. Michael, T-Bag, Mahone and Bellick are arrested by the Panamanian authorities and imprisoned at the Penitenciaría Federal de Sona.

[edit] Season 3

The third season follows both Michael inside Sona and Lincoln on the outside in Panama. Sona is a prison that has been run by the inmates and guarded only from the outside since a riot the year before. Burrows is quickly contacted by Gretchen Morgan (a Company operative who was in charge of operations in Panama) who kidnapped his son LJ (Marshall Allman) and Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies), the woman Michael loves. He is told that The Company wants Scofield to break James Whistler (Chris Vance) out of Sona. The season follows Michael and Whistler's trials in formulating an escape plan, as Michael has to deal with extreme tension and as Lincoln deals with the Company's operative Gretchen Morgan (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe). Sucre gets a job at the prison to aid Michael in his escape plan. When Lincoln attempts to rescue Sara and LJ following a clue provided by Sara, Gretchen claims to have beheaded Sara and sends Lincoln a head in a box as a warning. As the season ends, the pair manage to escape along with Mahone, and another inmate McGrady leaving behind several accomplices including T-Bag and Bellick. Sucre's identity is discovered by a prison guard and is thrown into Sona just after the escape. LJ and Sofia (who was captured for a guarantee that Whistler would go with her) are traded for Whistler, and Michael is out for revenge against Gretchen for Sara's death.

[edit] Season 4

The fourth season starts with Michael avenging Sara's "death", before learning that Gretchen did not kill her as he thought. Michael also learns the truth about Whistler, that he has secretly been working alongside Mahone to take down the Company. A Company operative takes Whistler's life shortly after this. Sona has burned down and Sucre, Bellick and T-Bag have escaped during the chaos. After returning to Chicago to look for Sara, Michael is arrested and recruited by Don Self (Michael Rapaport), a Department of Homeland Security agent, to help bring down the Company in exchange for his freedom. Lincoln, who was arrested in Panama is transferred to Chicago, and along with Mahone, Sucre, and Bellick with whom a deal is made. Also joining the group are Sara, who escaped from Gretchen which resulted in Gretchen's own captivity by the Company, having failed to secure a valuable item, and Roland (James Hiroyuki Liao), a hacker who was assigned to help them after getting arrested for identity theft. Together, they devise a plan to retrieve Scylla, thought of as the Company's 'little black book', from the Company that will help to destroy them. In the meantime, Wyatt (Cress Williams), an agent from the Company, attempts to track Michael and Lincoln down. When the group eventually succeeds in stealing Scylla, Self betrays them and tries to sell Scylla, but fails. Right before the mid-season break, it is revealed that Michael and Lincoln's mother is still alive and has obtained Scylla. The 2nd part of the season will start on April 17th.

[edit] Response

[edit] Ratings and critical reception

The following seasonal rankings are based on a weighted average total viewers per episode as recorded by Nielsen Media Research. The recording period begins in late September (the start of the U.S. network television season) and ends in late May.

Season Broadcast period Timeslot Ranking Average viewers (in millions)
1 2005–2006 Monday 9:00 pm ET
(8:00 pm ET midseason)
#55 9.2[32]
2 2006–2007 Monday 8:00 pm ET #51 9.3[33]
3 2007–2008 Monday 8:00 pm ET #73 8.2[34]
4 2008–2009 Monday 9:00 pm ET
Friday 8:00 pm ET (mid-season)
#86 6.1[35]

Fox backed Prison Break with a large advertising campaign. The show debuted on August 29, 2005 to an estimated audience of 10.5 million viewers. Fox has not seen such success for summertime Monday numbers since Melrose Place and Ally McBeal aired in September 1998. The two-hour premiere was credited as two episodes by the network.[36] The premiere was ranked first in both the 18-49 and 18-34 demographics.[37] The strong debut performance was also matched by various positive reviews. According to The New York Times, Prison Break was "more intriguing than most of the new network series, and it certainly is one of the most original", complimenting on its ability to create a "suspenseful thriller" and its "authentic look".[38] Gillian Flynn of Entertainment Weekly dubbed it as one of the best new shows of 2005.[39] On the other hand, The Washington Post criticized the show for its "somber pretentiousness" and "uniformly overwrought" performances.[40] Due to its ratings success, Fox decided to extend Prison Break by an extra nine episodes, making it the first new series in the 2005-06 TV season to receive a full season order of 22 episodes.[41] The series averaged 9.2 million viewers per week in its first season,[32] and was renewed for a second season.

The premiere of the second season of Prison Break obtained an average of 9.4 million viewers.[42] The decline was steeper among young-adult viewers with a decrease of 20 percent in the 18-49 demographic compared to its series premiere, but its household rating grew from 3.6% to 3.9% during the last half hour.[43] Robert Bianco of USA Today commented on the "harebrained absurdities that have swamped this show", and blamed the writers for being "incredibly lazy" for the continuous use of the tattoo as an "all-purpose plot fix".[44] Contrastingly, Detroit Free Press commended the second season premiere on matching the standard set by the first season, which delivered a "rocking good entertainment" due to its "motley crew of cellblock characters" and the "taut, ingenious storytelling of series creator Paul T. Scheuring and his staff."[45] The second season obtained its largest audience on the original airdate of the episode, "Chicago" with an average of 10.1 million viewers.[46] Overall, the second season averaged 9.3 million viewers per week.[33]

The premiere of the third season obtained an average of 7.51 million viewers,[47] while the special two-hour premiere for the fourth season attracted even fewer viewers at 6.5 million, however, the show led in the ratings among the 18-49 demographic.

[edit] Classification

Due to its storyline and setting, Prison Break's target audience is the 18–34 age group. The show contains adult content including violence, coarse language, sexual and drug references. Concerns have been raised by the Parents Television Council in the United States about the timeslot in which Prison Break is broadcast (8:00 pm ET) since the show features some scenes which contain graphic content.[48] The series is given a TV-14 rating in both the United States and Canada. A similar rating is also used in other countries. Prison Break is rated M in Australia and New Zealand, A+18 in Chile, PG in Hong Kong, 18PL in Malaysia, 12 in The Netherlands, PG13V in South Africa, 15 in the United Kingdom for the DVD release, and a PS rating in the Republic of Ireland. In France, the broadcasting watchdog, Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), also complained that the violence in some episodes exceeded the amount allowed for its rating, which is "not for under 10s". Under France's regulations, any higher ratings would move the show away from its current primetime timeslot to a later timeslot. However, their decision to change the rating will only affect the first season, which has already been broadcast, and not the second season.[49] To keep the original timeslot, French broadcasters M6 used censorship on the most violent scenes for season 2 and also produced a disclaimer before airing each episode in primetime. In Greece, the first season of the show was broadcasted with the rating "Necessary Parental Advice", while the second season is broadcasted with the rating "Optional Parental Advice", concerning the official classification of TV programs in Greece for the protection of TV viewers.

[edit] Awards and nominations

Following a successful airing of the series' first thirteen episodes, Prison Break was nominated for its first award, the 2005 People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama. The other nominees in the same category were Commander in Chief and Criminal Minds. Prison Break won the award in January 2006 and it is the only award the show has won to date. In January 2006, the show had two nominations at the 63rd Golden Globe Awards, which were Best Drama Television Series and Best Actor in a Drama Television Series for Wentworth Miller's performance. The show's lead actor, Wentworth Miller, received another nomination for his performance in the first season at the 2005 Saturn Awards for Best Actor on Television. Likewise, the series was nominated for 2005 Saturn Award for Best Network Television Series. At the 2006 Television Critics Association Awards, the show was nominated for Best New Drama Series. Nominations for technical awards include the 2006 Eddie Award for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Commercial Television (Mark Helfrich for the pilot episode) and the 2006 Primetime Emmy award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music (Ramin Djawadi). In December 2006, Robert Knepper was nominated for the 2006 Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

[edit] Alleged copyright infringement

On October 24, 2006, the Associated Press reported that Donald and Robert Hughes filed a lawsuit against Fox Broadcasting Company and the show's executive producer and creator, Paul Scheuring, for copyright infringement, seeking unspecified damages and other costs. They claimed that in 2001, they had sent Fox their manuscript which was based on their own experiences of a prison break at a juvenile facility. In the 1960s, Donald Hughes planned and successfully executed a prison escape for his brother, Robert Hughes, who was wrongfully incarcerated.[50][51]

[edit] Distribution

[edit] Television

[edit] Canada

In Canada, Prison Break broadcasts on Global one hour before it airs on FOX, except in the Maritimes where it airs two hours before FOX's airing. Prison Break was the only new television series to be positioned in the top 20 television shows of 2005/2006 in Canada, achieving an average of 876,000 in the key demographic of 18–49 and 1.4 million viewers nationally for its first season.[52]

[edit] Oceania

Prison Break premiered on Australian television network Seven on February 1, 2006 to an average audience of 1.94 million, as well as making its peak at 2.09 million viewers.[53] The hype of the show was later complemented with encore screenings in the second week, before being set into a concrete time of 8:30 pm on Wednesday nights. The first season attracted an overall average of 1.353 million viewers.[54] The popularity of the first season of the show was also evident in New Zealand, where Prison Break won the People's Choice Award for Favourite New Television Drama.[55]

The second season, promoted by Australia's Seven Network as Prison Break - On the Run, premiered on January 31, 2007 at a new time of 9:30 pm, with 1.226 million viewers (47% share).[56] With ratings dropping consistently throughout the second season, Seven decided to air the Season 3 episodes as close as a day after their U.S. airdates in an effort to win back viewers before their release on DVDs or the Internet.[57] Despite Seven's attempts to draw in extra viewers, the premiere received only 899,000 viewers, ranking as the eighteenth most watched show of the night,[58] and Wednesday nights soon became Seven's "Achilles' heel" of the week.[59] After the fourth season commenced on October 9, 2008, the show was relegated to a later timeslot at 10:30 pm. Repeats are shown on the Australian pay television channel FOX8.

[edit] Europe

The first and second seasons initially premiered in the UK on Five for the first season, then subsequently replayed on UKTV Gold before the second season debuted on Five. Prior to the start of the third season, Sky One acquired the rights to broadcast Prison Break, paying £500,000 per episode.[60] In the Republic of Ireland, Prison Break has been scheduled to air on RTÉ Two a day after it is aired in the U.S. as is the case in the UK on Sky One. The series premiered in France on August 31, 2006 with an average of 5.5 million viewers (25.8% share).[61] Prior to its second season premiere in France, Prison Break was heavily advertised by its local television network, M6 and Fox, which was aided by the appearances of Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell and Paul Scheuring at MIPCOM in Cannes.[62] The last episode of the first season and the first episode of the second season aired to 7.5 million viewers (29.0% share) on November 8, 2006, making it one of the most watched series for the 2006 year on M6.[63] The second season premiered on September 13, 2007 to 5.3 million viewers (21.3% share).[64] The third season premiered on November 29, 2007. The series are also a huge success in Portugal. In Portugal the series are broadcasted on public channel RTP1.

[edit] Asia

The first season's broadcast in Hong Kong on TVB Pearl during September 5, 2006 and January 21, 2007 was a success, receiving the largest audience Hong Kong has ever had for a foreign drama and broke the record previously set by The X-Files. The series premiere obtained an average of 260,000 viewers while the first season finale obtained an average of 470,000 viewers (7.3%) and peaked at 590,000 (9.1%).[65] Due to its overwhelming response in Hong Kong, TVB Pearl purchased the copyright of Season 2 and started to air it from March 6, 2007. The second season premiere received an average of 270,000 viewers while peaking at 310,000.[66] On the other hand, Prison Break is not imported by China but the series is available for free downloads, online TV, as well as on the black market on bootleg DVDs among many other American TV shows.[67]

[edit] Home media

DVDs Episodes Discs Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 22 6 August 8, 2006[68] September 18, 2006[69] September 13, 2006[70]
Season Two 22 6 September 4, 2007[71] August 20, 2007[72] September 17, 2007[73]
Season Three 13 4 August 12, 2008[74] May 19, 2008[75] December 3, 2008[76]
Season Four 22[77] TBA TBA June 1, 2009 [78] TBA

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc sets of each season are released after their television broadcast and are available in various regions. In the United Kingdom & Ireland, the seasons have been split into halves with the first half released during that season's initial run. At the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment announced that the complete first season of Prison Break was to be released in the Blu-ray Disc format in early 2007.[79] The release date was later announced to be November 13, 2007 and Prison Break became the first TV show to be released on Blu-ray Disc by Fox. The Blu-ray Disc box set contains six discs and includes all the DVD box set's special features.[80] Although Season 2 has yet to be released in Blu-ray format, Season 3 was made available on Blu-ray. A DVD set containing all three seasons was released on May 19, 2008 in Region 2.

[edit] Online distribution

In addition to the television broadcast of the show, episodes of Prison Break has also been released on the internet. Towards the end of the first season, episodes of Prison Break were made available for purchase online at the iTunes Store, which began on May 9, 2006. After the premiere of the second season of Prison Break, Fox began allowing online streaming of the current episode for free via more than 50 websites including AOL, Google, and Yahoo!, as well as its own extensive network. However, this was restricted to the United States only. The first three episodes of season 2 were broadcast commercial free, available for a week after their television broadcast date.[81] Online streaming of episodes was postponed after the third episode. However, due to the show's three-week broadcast hiatus prompted by Fox's broadcast of the Major League Baseball playoff games in October, a strategy was developed by News Corporation (the parent company of Fox Broadcasting Company and MySpace) in an attempt to maintain their viewers' interest in the show. Starting from October, Fox began to stream past episodes of the second season on the social networking site MySpace and websites of the network's owned and operated stations (the stations are part of the Fox Television Stations Group). Although commercials are to be aired throughout the broadcast, the episodes are free of charge.[82]

[edit] Other media

Derivative work of the show has been produced in the form of short videos for mobile phones. There has also been several official tie-ins in print and on the internet.

A spin-off series, Prison Break: Proof of Innocence, was produced exclusively for mobile phones and was broadcast first to Sprint customers in April 2006 via on SprintTV's Fox station. The first episode of Prison Break: Proof of Innocence became available on the internet for viewing on May 8, 2006. This was an exclusive deal made between Toyota Motor and News Corporation's Fox network, allowing Toyota to sponsor exclusive content of the show and to obtain advertising exclusivity.[83] During the show's third season, a series of six online shorts, collectively known as Prison Break: Visitations, were made exclusively for Fox. They feature the characters Lechero, Sammy, McGrady, T-Bag, and Bellick. They were distributed on the internet and are available for free from iTunes.

In printed media, the show's tie-in products include an official magazine and a book written in an in-universe perspective. The official magazine, published by Titan Publishing, was launched on November 21, 2006. Each issue contains interviews with selected cast and crew members with other feature stories. The tie-in novel, Prison Break: The Classified FBI Files (ISBN 1-4165-3845-3), contains details of the show's characters pertaining to the second season's storyline. Written by Paul Ruditis, the book is published by Simon & Schuster and was released on May 8, 2007.[84]

There is also a live feature called "Prison Break LIVE!", created by The Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company, which is an interactive experience aimed at bringing to life the atmosphere from the television series. The attraction toured the US, Australia, UK, China, Germany and Mexico from 2006 to 2008.[85]

A video game based on Prison Break was in development for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, as confirmed by a Brash Entertainment spokesperson, and was scheduled for release in February 2009.[86]

[edit] Spin-off

On October 24, 2007, The Hollywood Reporter reported that a spin off was under development, tentatively titled Prison Break: Cherry Hill. The series is said to revolve around an upper-middle-class housewife, Molly, and her stint in a women's prison.[87] However, the producers' original idea to introduce Molly in the third season of Prison Break was later dropped due to the writers' strike. The new series would instead begin under the Prison Break brand similar to CSI: Miami and CSI: NY.[88]

[edit] References

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