This is better for the show's long-term financial future in syndication, as Fox recently revealed Fringe actually costs them money because the audience just isn't strong enough to off-set expenses via advertising. I guess it's lucky Fox's execs appear to really love the show and what it adds to people's perception of the network--primarily online.
The writers had taken the precaution of filming two endings for season 4's finale, incase Fox pulled the plug, but fortunately that ending will never see the light of day. (Unless it becomes an intriguing special feature on the final season's box-set, of course.)
Kevin Reilly, Fox President:
"Fringe is a remarkably creative series that has set the bar as one of television’s most imaginative dramas. Bringing it back for a final 13 allows us to provide the climactic conclusion that its passionate and loyal fans deserve. The amazing work the producers, writers and the incredibly talented cast and crew have delivered the last four seasons has literally been out of this world. Although the end is bittersweet, it’s going to be a very exciting final chapter."I'm glad Fringe is getting a solid half-season to finish its story, although I haven't been too keen on the show this past year. However, recent developments with the storyline suggest a very entertaining new direction, pregnant with amazing potential. I also think giving writers a clear goal is beneficial to a show's creativity, too, so I'm very excited to see what they come up with next season. And with fewer episodes in the pipeline, I wonder if Fox plan to hold Fringe back for mid-season (i.e early-2013), or continue as usual from September and have the show conclude around Christmas.