TV Cancellation Watch: Which Shows Are Still on the Bubble?

  • Publish Date: April 20, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 74 user comments

Decision time is approaching

ImageOne way to end an alien invasion: cancellation

During the week of May 17th, the major broadcast networks will announce their fall primetime schedules, at which point they will also reveal the fates of any existing shows that haven't yet been renewed or canceled. Many programs -- from first-year hits like Modern Family to veterans such as Survivor -- have already received word that they'll be back in the fall, while others (like Fox's 24 and ABC's Ugly Betty) are officially ending this season. But that leaves a number of programs in limbo over the next few weeks as they await an official announcement.

ABC's biggest bubble shows are sci-fi serials V and FlashForward, while the uncertainty at CBS chiefly revolves around its comedy lineup, which could see a shakeup in the fall. At Fox, Human Target and Lie to Me face uncertain futures, while the fate of the CW's new Life Unexpected is the biggest mystery there. (Many experts believe that Life is competing against One Tree Hill for the network's final open slot.) NBC's major question mark is Heroes, which recently completed its most poorly-rated season to date and seems unlikely to return. Fellow Monday night series Chuck looked like a sure thing for renewal after its strong start this year, but has been shedding viewers over the past month and now could be in trouble.

Below is a our latest scorecard listing the current status of all primetime programs on the five major broadcast networks. You can also read about current (and previous) fan campaigns to save these and other network shows.

Current status of all network primetime shows

Key to show status:
Renewed = Officially renewed Canceled = Officially canceled or series ending this year Uncertain= In limbo; no official announcement yet

ABC ABC Primetime Programs, 2009-2010 Season
Status Show Notes
Uncertain 20/20 Very likely to return for a 29th season
Uncertain AFV America's Funniest Home Videos Could return for a 21st season
Uncertain The Bachelor Very likely to be renewed
Uncertain Better Off Ted Almost certain to be canceled; 2 more eps may air at some point
Renewed Brothers & Sisters Renewed for a 5th season
Renewed Castle Renewed for a 22-episode 3rd season
Renewed Cougar Town Renewed for a 2nd season
Uncertain Dancing with the Stars Extremely likely to be renewed
Uncertain The Deep End Almost certain to be canceled; 1 episode never aired
Uncertain Desperate Housewives Extremely likely to be renewed
Canceled Eastwick Canceled
Uncertain Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Will probably come back for an 8th season
Uncertain FlashForward Very likely to be canceled; has performed poorly since returning
Uncertain The Forgotten Almost certain to be canceled; 2 episodes left to air at some point
Uncertain Grey's Anatomy Very likely to be renewed
Canceled Hank Canceled; 5 episodes have yet to air
Uncertain Happy Town Yet to premiere (series debuts April 28th)
Uncertain Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Uncertain; ratings falling, but does OK in timeslot
Canceled Lost Series concludes May 23rd
Renewed The Middle Renewed for a 2nd season
Renewed Modern Family Renewed for a 2nd season
Uncertain Private Practice Likely to be renewed
Uncertain Romantically Challenged Too soon to tell; new series premiered Monday to mediocre ratings
Uncertain Scrubs Unofficially canceled; Zach Braff (but not ABC) announced end
Uncertain Shark Tank Uncertain; didn't do great, but is cheap to make
Uncertain SuperNanny Could return
Canceled Ugly Betty Canceled; series finale aired April 14th
Uncertain V Cancellation possible; a return depends on ratings of remaining eps
Uncertain Wife Swap Too soon to tell; season debut was in early April
CBS CBS Primetime Programs, 2009-2010 Season
Status Show Notes
Uncertain 48 Hours Mystery Can't see why this wouldn't return
Uncertain 60 Minutes Extremely likely to be renewed
Uncertain Accidentally On Purpose Cancellation possible; unlikely that all bubble sitcoms will return
Renewed The Amazing Race 17th cycle will air during 2010-11 season
Renewed The Big Bang Theory Will return for a 4th season
Uncertain Cold Case Very likely to be canceled; next episode may be its last
Uncertain Criminal Minds Very likely to be renewed
Uncertain CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Extremely likely to be renewed
Uncertain CSI: Miami Extremely likely to be renewed
Uncertain CSI: New York Likely to return, although it is the lowest rated of the CSI franchises
Uncertain Gary Unmarried Cancellation possible; unlikely that all bubble sitcoms will return
Uncertain Ghost Whisperer Could return; ratings aren't great, but good enough for Fridays
Renewed The Good Wife Already renewed for a 2nd season
Renewed How I Met Your Mother Renewed for a 6th season
Uncertain Medium Cancellation possible, but syndication profits mean it could return
Uncertain The Mentalist Very likely to be renewed
Uncertain Miami Medical Almost certain to be canceled; started low and is dropping fast
Uncertain NCIS Extremely likely to be renewed
Renewed NCIS: Los Angeles Already renewed for a 2nd season
Uncertain The New Adventures Of Old Christine Cancellation possible; unlikely that all bubble sitcoms will return
Uncertain Numb3rs Almost certain to be canceled; has likely aired its final episode
Uncertain Rules Of Engagement Likely to be renewed
Renewed Survivor Renewed for a 21st and 22nd season, both to air during 2010-11
Renewed Two And A Half Men Renewed for 2 additional seasons, but will Charlie Sheen be back?
Renewed Undercover Boss  Already renewed for a 2nd season
Canceled Three Rivers Canceled
CW CW Primetime Programs, 2009-2010 Season
Status Show Notes
Renewed 90210 Renewed for a 3rd season
Renewed America's Next Top Model Will return for at least two additional cycles (the show's 15th and 16th)
Canceled The Beautiful Life Canceled
Uncertain Fly Girls Cancellation possible; ratings are weighing down high-flying reality show
Renewed Gossip Girl Renewed for a 4th season
Uncertain High Society Very likely to be canceled; reality show is getting crushed in ratings
Uncertain Life Unexpected Cancellation possible; LUX is the CW's biggest question mark
Uncertain Melrose Place Very likely to be canceled; ratings are low even by CW standards
Uncertain One Tree Hill Some danger; could return despite ratings drop, but not if LUX is renewed
Renewed Smallville Will return for a 10th (!) season
Renewed Supernatural Comes back for a 6th season in the fall
Renewed The Vampire Diaries The CW's biggest hit has already been renewed for a 2nd season
Fox Fox Primetime Programs, 2009-2010 Season
Status Show Notes
Canceled 24 Canceled, but concept will move to the big screen
Uncertain America's Most Wanted Has been on the air since 1988, and won't be going away anytime soon
Renewed American Dad Renewed for another season
Renewed American Idol Will be back for a 10th season next January, but without Simon Cowell
Renewed Bones Renewed for a 6th season
Canceled Brothers Will not return for a 2nd season
Renewed The Cleveland Show Already renewed for a 2nd season
Uncertain Cops Like AMW, this long-running (and profitable) series should stick around even longer
Canceled Dollhouse Series finale aired in January
Renewed Family Guy Renewed for another season
Renewed Fringe No worries this year; it will definitely be back for a 3rd season
Renewed Glee Already renewed for a 2nd season
Renewed Hell's Kitchen Will return for two additional cycles next season
Uncertain House Not yet renewed, but it certainly will be
Uncertain Human Target Cancellation possible; first-year action series is helped by 24 cancellation
Renewed Kitchen Nightmares Coming back for a third season next year
Uncertain Lie to Me Cancellation possible; depends on Fox's needs in fall, and Human Target decision
Canceled Our Little Genius Had the rare distinction of being canceled without ever broadcasting an episode
Canceled Past Life Canceled after just 3 episodes; remaining 4 hours to air in May/June
Renewed The Simpsons Back for a 22nd season in the fall
Uncertain Sons of Tucson Effectively canceled already; has been pulled from schedule, but returns in June
Canceled 'Til Death This 4th season is its last; currently burning off remaining unaired episodes
NBC NBC Primetime Programs, 2009-2010 Season
Status Show Notes
Renewed 30 Rock NBC's entire Thursday night comedy block renewed for another year
Renewed The Apprentice A non-celebrity version will air next season
Renewed The Biggest Loser A 10th season will begin in the fall
Uncertain Chuck Slight danger; originally a lock for renewal, its ratings have been dropping
Renewed Community NBC's entire Thursday night comedy block renewed for another year
Uncertain Dateline Long-running newsmagazine will likely be on call in case other shows fail
Renewed Friday Night Lights A 5th and final season will air on NBC after debuting on DirecTV
Uncertain Heroes Cancellation possible; ratings say cancel but one final season possible
Canceled The Jay Leno Show We hope Leno bounces back and finds another job
Uncertain Law & Order Cancellation possible, but NBC has holes to fill and few better shows
Uncertain Law & Order: SVU See above.
Renewed The Marriage Ref Poorly-reviewed, Seinfeld-produced reality show gets 13 additional hours
Uncertain Mercy Very likely to be canceled; first-year series is a poor performer
Renewed Minute to Win It New game show picked up for 10 additional episodes to air next season
Renewed The Office NBC's entire Thursday night comedy block renewed for another year
Renewed Parenthood Renewed for a 2nd season
Renewed Parks & Recreation NBC's entire Thursday night comedy block renewed for another year
Renewed The Sing-Off A 2nd competition will air next season
Uncertain Trauma Almost certain to be canceled; eliminating 2 eps this year not a good sign
Renewed Who Do You Think You Are? An 8-episode 2nd season will air next year

What do you think?

What bubble shows would you like to see return, and which deserve to be canceled? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (74)

  • tina  

    save trauma..was very upset the way it was left off, leave us hanging wasn't right,we used to have a "trauma night" every monday night,thats dedication!! not too worried about the csi series, they will be back, but why get rid of the shows that ppl are watching? networks need to listen to the ppl and not the $$$$ signs

  • L  

    Chuck has been renewed for a fourth season!!! YAAYYY!! Best show ever! Filled with Comedy, Action and Romance. It IS AWESOME!!! GO CHUCK!!

  • JESSICA  

    OK, if they keep freaking gossip girl than ONE TREE HILL better be renewed bc GG is nowhere near as good as OTH! Lie to me is amazing as is CSI NY and law and order SVU. to cancel these shows the networks would have to be the BIGGEST idiots in the world... Let's see how intelligent these network people really are.

  • guapito  

    chuck is in trouble because it's gotten so formulaic. Used to like it, now i hate it. I refuse to watch him "flash" every 5 minutes with the same look on his face (he looks like he's pissing himself) coupled with those terrible graphics that NEVER change. kill me. better yet, kill CHUCK, save TED.

  • Dwessie  

    A lot of good ones being possibly cancelled and a lot of crap staying...again. Jeez, nature and people are already going to hell, why not ruin my TV too? How much longer till I actually DO give up on life.
    Nobody cares about those stupid model shows! GRAAAAAAGH! *explosive rage fit*

  • I-KnowFunny  

    How I Met Your Mother...___LOSER!!!!

  • I-KnowFunny  

    Runway Models and Americas Top Model, BARF! There are men out here! Give us a break!

  • I-KnowFunny  

    I was glad to see Rules of Engagement back. This is one that needs to stick around.

  • I-KnowFunny  

    Take Charlie Sheen out of Two and a Half Men and you might as well cancel the show. His moochy brother (Alan, not Emillio) certainly isn't any good without Sheen. Dropping Charlie from the cast would be a fatal mistake for the show! If anybody, drop the brother. Maybe a nice car wreck. Better yet, put him prison for some type of perversion for 20 years. Write him out as lost at sea, just write him out, but keep Charlie and Sponge Bob no clue. With Alan lost at sea, Charlie could take the methane cloud in full time. Now, there's a sitcom!

  • Save our show…  

    [...] beyond shows like Lost and 24 which are being ‘concluded’ rather than ‘cancelled’. Of the shows in danger (‘on the bubble&#8217 at the moment, the only ones I would really miss are Trauma and Lie [...]

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