The broadcast networks are at work on their new fall shows, which means some of your favorites will be moving on. Here are the series facing an uncertain future.
The network wants to bring back Desperate Housewives but still has to make deals with the show's stars. "Everyone is hopeful and optimistic that we'll be returning for an eighth season," executive producer Marc Cherry tells TV Guide Magazine. "But until the women have signed on, there's no guarantee." ABC needs Housewives for at least another year to launch something new in the slot that follows it, especially if Brothers & Sisters doesn't return. "Unless they reduce the cost structure, I don't see it coming back," says one producer. The dramas likely to face extinction are No Ordinary Family, V and Detroit 1-8-7, which recently hit a ratings low. The network is still evaluating the future of Off the Map, which is by no means a hit but has performed better than its other new 10pm dramas. While freshman sitcom Better With You has done a serviceable job between The Middle and Modern Family on Wednesdays, programmers will look at its new comedy development before deciding on a second season. "It's all about what you have to replace it with," says one exec.
Some networks would be happy to have the ratings of a couple CBS shows that are not guaranteed to come back in the fall. $#*! My Dad Says loses as much as 30 percent of its lead-in from The Big Bang Theory on Thursdays. "It's a big drop-off," says an exec at a competing network. "I'd try another comedy there." The chance of a second season of $#*! would ride on whether or not CBS decides to expand its schedule from six to eight comedies (all the networks are looking to add more comedies). Legal drama The Defenders is also fighting for its life, but the ratings bar for renewal will be lower in its new Friday time slot.
With such low circulation during the summer, it's simply too hard for the network to promote more than two new fall shows. So with the exception of Smallville, in its final season, and the already canceled Life Unexpected, all of the current CW scripted series could return, including the seemingly indestructible One Tree Hill, which will soon be older than many of the network's viewers.
Already locked in for fall are Simon Cowell's new show, The X Factor, and Terra Nova, so Fox can be picky about which underperformers get renewed. The small but loyal cadre of fans for Fringe has followed the show to its new time period, Fridays at 9pm — doubling the rating of the canceled The Good Guys. It looks promising for a fourth season if Fox and the show's studio, Warner Bros., can agree on a lower license fee. The network will also have to make judgment calls on Lie to Me and Human Target.
The network has a new owner, a new entertainment chief and no shortage of time periods where it can improve. Which shows are in the most trouble? Chase has failed to capture viewers in two time slots and was just put on hiatus. The Event faded after a strong opening and will have the difficult task of starting up again after a long break — never easy for a serialized show. The Cape had its order cut from 13 to 10 episodes. NBC execs believe in the idea of Law & Order: Los Angeles, but it will have to prove itself when (and if) a retooled version returns. Perfect Couples and Outsourced are the weak links in the Thursday comedy block. Monday's Harry's Law is off to a strong start, but NBC will watch how it performs against first-run competition from CBS' Hawaii Five-0 and ABC's Castle.