The decision comes per request from series mastermind Louis C.K., who wants more breathing room in creating the next season.
He anticipates the show will begin shooting in September for a May 2014 launch, which will allow him to space out the scripting, shooting and editing schedules.
"The last three seasons have been this surge of fun and work and stories and it's been great, but I want the show to keep getting better," C.K. said in a conference call with reporters today. "That's my goal, and I don't want it to be making the donuts, I want it to be something that comes from somewhere important and stays funny. It's a luxury I asked for ... season four is my job right now, but I'm going to take a whole lot of time to turn it in.
"I want season four to go somewhere new, even if it's only a slight shift."He also said that he thinks in trilogies and that the first three seasons completed one such trilogy, and so he wanted to take some time to set up the next trilogy. He speculated that, "pie in the sky," the show might go nine seasons — i.e., three trilogies.
"This is certainly one of the finest television series I've ever had the opportunity to work on," FX prexy John Landgraf said."It's been unbelievable to see what Louis' been able to do when left to his own devices."
Landgraf said he and C.K. talked about deconstructing the sitcom form from the very beginning and not being wedded to traditional structure.
"My goal from the very beginning is not to force Louis to adapt his skills to a specific structure of story," Landgraf said. "Why does it have to be one thing? Why can't it be anything Louis wants it to be? Louis will do whatever he wants to do, and we'll try to figure out from a channel standpoint how to support that.
"You have to live as an artist in order to grow and recharge your batteries, and sometimes there's not enough time to live when you have a really successful show."
C.K. said that he's "eager" to get back on the air but that the desire to make the show better superceded that, though he realized he was putting more pressure on himself to deliver.
"Louie" won this year's Emmy for comedy writing and was nominated for two others. C.K. was also nominated for three other Emmys for his "Live at the Beacon Theater" comedy special.