Chase: No encore for ‘Sopranos’

10-episode sixth season will be the last

It’s still over.

David Chase, creator of HBO mainstay “The Sopranos,” stood firm that there would not be a surprise seventh season of the acclaimed mob drama.

Series will bow out with a truncated 10-episode season, he said during HBO’s portion of the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour.

“The 10th episode will still be the finale. It’s not going to go 13,” Chase said via satellite from Paris. Creatively, he said, “10 should probably do it.”

Star James Gandolfini expressed mixed feelings about the show’s impending end.

“I’m not ready to say goodbye to the character, but I’m not going to miss him,” he said. “But when it’s over the right way, it’s ‘I’ll see you later.’ ”

Per usual, Chase was mum on fifth-season specifics except to say that it will continue Tony Soprano’s journey. “It has to do with the limitations of families and friendships in a materialist world. And also the fact that Tony Soprano is sort of a mature boss…. He’s been doing this for quite a while now, and it’s about what it takes to be a leader despite your feelings.”

Fifth season will bow March 7.

Also on the HBO docket:

Chris Rock has signed to headline his fourth special for the channel in April, based on material from his Black Ambition Tour. Spec will run in April.

Pay cabler will bow the fourth season of “Six Feet Under” this summer. Ellen DeGeneres and Veronica Cartwright will guest star, joining previously announced Mena Suvari. Returning guest stars include Kathy Bates, Joanna Cassidy, Patricia Clarkson, Ben Foster, Richard Jenkins, Peter Macdissi, Justina Machado, Justin Theroux and Rainn Wilson.

Scribes Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”) and Richard Price (“Changing Lanes”) have come aboard as writers for the third season of crime drama “The Wire,” which bows 12 new episodes this summer. Writers for the series include creator exec producer David Simon, Edward Burns, Rafael Alvarez and Joy Lusco Kecken.

And “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” will return for a 10-epsiode fourth season this year.

Elsewhere, Court TV announced its 2004 spring slate:

Cabler has greenlit “Psychic Detectives” a half-hour dedicated to the real-life teamwork between detectives and psychics in cracking cases. Show bows Feb. 18.

Also premiering in the second quarter is “House of Clues,” which tracks two aspiring sleuths who determine people’s personalities by examining their homes.

Series pilots airing this year include the reality skein “The Chase: Trackdown,” letting amateur trackers hunt down two “fugitives”; and “Head Games,” exploring how profilers do their job.

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