It’s that time of year again. Networks will be announcing their fall lineups next month, and it’s getting to be do-or-die time for shows that are on the bubble and may or may not be renewed. So start your e-mail-writing campaigns, fanboys and girls, here’s a look at the most endangered shows.
“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” has reportedly already fallen to the ax this week. “Dollhouse” is about to get whacked too, unless some miracle occurs. Creator Joss Whedon hasn’t completely given up, which could give fans a glimmer of hope. “Fringe” will definitely be back, which I wouldn’t have predicted last fall.
The only true bubble show here is “Sit Down, Shut Up,” an animated series that debuts Sunday. It’s gotten lousy previews, so don’t expect to see it come fall.
“Chuck” is the big bubble show here. It has a rabid cult following, but has never drawn particularly good ratings. It’s got a strong grass roots movement growing behind it though. If you want to join the Nerd Herd, try here and here for starters.
The big question for NBC is what will it do with its 10 p.m. series now that Jay Leno will fill that timeslot five nights a week.They simply have too many shows for not enough slots, not to mention the question of whether a gritty, intense cop drama like “Southland” is appropriate at an earlier hour. “Heroes” is safe for another season. But “Southland,” “Medium,” “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU” will battle “Chuck” for four timeslots. Count the two “L&O’s” safe. “Life,” ironically enough, appears to be dead, along with “Kings.”
Amy Poehler’s new show, “Parks and Recreation” is in the mix too, but that’s probably safe. It has a good resume, and will likely get room to grow, much as “The Office” did. “My Name Is Earl” is surprisingly on the bubble. Its ratings are waaaay down, but NBC doesn’t have a whole lot else for its Thursday night comedy lineup, so it’ll probably survive.
“Cold Case,” “Without a Trace” and “The Unit” are all reportedly in danger of missing the cut, largely because of their relatively big budgets. There are a few sitcoms sitting on the fence too: “New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Gary Unmarried” (which I haven’t watched even though it co-stars a guy I went to high school with — sorry, Al), and “Rules of Engagement.” Honestly, I wouldn’t miss any of them.
“Scrubs” changed networks, but faces the same uncertain future that it does almost every year. The season-ender next month will serve as a series finale, and Zach Braff is being written out of the series. But there’s talk of bringing the show back for another season with a mostly new cast. I’m dubious. The new characters are boring, and even the old ones have lost their comedic zing.
“The Unusuals” is probably on the way out. Only five of its 10 episodes will air this spring, and it’s gotten tepid ratings and reviews. Also on the unlikely-to-be-renewed list: “Samantha Who” (they’ve been killing it with awful scheduling) and “Surviving Suburbia” (thank God).
The real bubble shows are “Better Off Ted,” “In the Motherhood,” “Cupid” and “Castle.” Any one of those could go either way. If I had to bet, I’d say “Castle” has the best chance of coming back.
“Reaper” is almost certainly gone, but that’s not stopping its loyal fans. “Save ‘Reaper’” campaigns have popped up here and here. As much as I’d like to see it come back, I don’t think its chances are very good. The show’s two co-creators have signed onto a new series, and co-star Tyler Labine has been cast in a pilot.
“Privileged” is also in danger, but that show targets The CW’s teen girl demo, so I’d lean on the it’ll-be-back side. “Everybody Hates Chris,” on the other hand, probably won’t be back.