It's that time of year: The networks are looking ahead to January and their midseason schedules, but some fall shows will have to be canceled to make room for the new stuff. Here's our list of 15 at-risk shows, many of which have posted significant ratings declines. Others are expensive to produce, a little long in the tooth, or just aren't performing as well as their timeslot competition — or even other shows on their own networks. Read about the issues each faces and then weigh in on which deserve to stay — or go.
(We'll keep updating the list of renewals and cancellations at the bottom of the page, so check back for the latest scheduling news.)
Brothers (Fridays at 8/7c, Fox)
Issues: This family sitcom hasn't connected with an audience, nor has its timeslot-mate, 'Til Death.
Cold Case (Sundays at 10/9c, CBS)
Issues: Show sources say that this is the final season of Cold Case. It's losing to Brothers & Sisters regularly.
Fringe (Thursdays at 9/8c, Fox)
Issues: It's been consistently fourth in its extremely competitively timeslot (opposite Grey's Anatomy, The Office and 30 Rock, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Supernatural), despite actually posting gains for Fox on Thursday nights over last season. But the relatively healthy Tuesday audience it used to have is shrinking.
Gary Unmarried (Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c, CBS)
Issues: Its ratings are decent, but nowhere near those of CBS' top sitcoms.
(Editor's note: Since publication, we've received word that Gossip Girl is safe.)
Law & Order (Fridays at 8, NBC)
Issues: It's losing to Ghost Whisperer, and it's been on the air for 20 years, which is about 140 in TV years. If it completes this season, it will tie Gunsmoke as the longest-running drama in history. NBC wouldn't pull the plug before that achievement, would it?
Melrose Place (Tuesdays at 9/8c, CW)
Issues: Yes, the CW has ordered 18 episodes for this season. Two cast members have been fired, and producers say they plan to change direction from the new Melrose Place's dark murder mystery. Will it be enough?
Numb3rs (Fridays at 10/9c, CBS)
Issues: At the same time that CBS announced it was increasing the episode orders of, oh, every other show on the network (see below), it cut Numb3rs' order — from 22 to 16.
New Adventures of Old Christine (Wednesdays at 8/7c, CBS)
Issues: See above for Gary Unmarried.
Three Rivers (Sundays at 9, CBS)
Issues: Critics hated it, despite their ongoing love affair with star Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight). And it's getting clobbered by Desperate Housewives.
'Til Death (Fridays at 8:30, Fox)
Issues: It's never been a ratings barn-burner, and its pairing with Brothers hasn't helped.
CANCELED/NOT RETURNING (most recent first)
Dollhouse (Nov. 11, 2009, after its 13-episode run)
Hank (Nov. 10, 2009)
Eastwick (Nov. 9, 2009, after its 13-episode run)
Trauma (Oct. 28, 2009, after its 13-episode run)
The Beautiful Life: TBL (Sept. 25, 2009)
PICKED UP FOR FULL SEASON
The Forgotten (Nov. 9, 2009, for 18 episodes)
CSI: Miami (Nov. 4, 2009, for 24 episodes)
NCIS (Nov. 4, 2009, for 24 episodes)
NCIS: Los Angeles (Oct. 7, 2009; Nov. 4, 2009, increased to 24 episodes)
How I Met Your Mother (Nov. 4, 2009, for 24 episodes)
Two and a Half Men (Nov. 4, 2009, for 24 episodes)
CSI (Nov. 4, 2009, for 23 episodes)
CSI: NY (Nov. 4, 2009, for 23 episodes)
Criminal Minds (Nov. 4, 2009, for 23 episodes)
The Good Wife (Oct. 7, 2009; Nov. 4, 2009, for 23 episodes)
The Mentalist (Nov. 4, 2009, for 23 episodes)
The Big Bang Theory (Nov. 4, 2009, for 23 episodes)
Southland (canceled by NBC on Oct. 8, 2009, then picked up by TNT, which will air the existing 13 episodes, on Nov. 2, 2009)
Community (Oct. 23, 2009)
Mercy (Oct. 23, 2009)
Parks and Recreation (Oct. 23, 2009)
Melrose Place (Oct. 21, 2009, for 18 episodes)
The Vampire Diaries (Oct. 21, 2009)
Castle (Oct. 20, 2009)
FlashForward (Oct. 12, 2009)
Cougar Town (Oct. 8, 2009)
The Middle (Oct. 8, 2009)
Modern Family (Oct. 8, 2009)
One Tree Hill (Sept. 23, 2009)
Glee (Sept. 21, 2009)