Just under 2 million people watched last weekend's premiere of HBO's much-touted miniseries Empire Falls, so not many people saw the surprise appearance by Tony Soprano. It was during the premiere that HBO began airing promos for the upcoming season of The Sopranos, which finally revealed the date when the show will return. Don't start baking the ziti just yet: It's March 2006, nearly two years after the last new episode aired in June 2004.
An HBO spokesperson confirmed to the New York Post that the Mob series would return next March, though she said the channel hadn't yet set a specific date during that month for the Season 6 premiere. The upcoming season is expected to be the show's last, though series creator David Chase hinted otherwise at a panel discussion last week at Syracuse University. ''It is possible,'' Chase said of a seventh season, though he insisted he still expected he'd be able to wrap up all the storylines in the sixth, which is still in production. ''It's just a question of whether the story works out creatively in six seasons, which I think it will. Then we probably shouldn't do a seventh.'' Of course, if there is a seventh season, fans will probably have to wait until sometime in 2008 to see it.