By Lynette Rice
Updated January 14, 2009 at 06:55 AM EST

Prison Break is going to that great, big slammer in the sky: Fox has announced that its once-signature drama will end its four-season run later this year. Exec producer Matt Olmstead tells EW exclusively that there was ”nowhere to go beyond this season,” adding that he ”didn’t want the show to become a parody of itself.” Ratings-wise, the decision was easy since viewership is down 22 percent from last year. Luckily, fans will get some closure. Break returns April 17 to air its remaining six episodes. Michael and Lincoln (Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell) will finally catch a break — at a huge cost — in May’s finale. Says Olmstead, ”There will be deaths.” But since Fox extended Break‘s 22-episode order by two hours earlier this year, that ”finale” may not even be the show’s last gasp. Olmstead has filmed a couple of extra segments that he says ”address a couple of other storylines [and] can play as a standalone [movie].” What’s more, there are rumblings that Break might get a stay of execution under somewhat different circumstances. Explains exec producer Dawn Parouse, ”I would love to do a show about a women’s prison. It would have to be a fresh start — if not by us, then somebody.”

addCredit(“Richard Foreman/Fox”)