Entertainment

Living on the bubble

Two weeks ago, I wrote a bit on why I think NBC will decide to renew "Friday Night Lights," one of the many network series currently "on the bubble," which is network speak for they may or may not be canceled in the coming weeks.

Here's a short list of some other shows living on the bubble, with some thoughts about what future they might have. But if you see the names of some of your favorites, now's the time to start worrying.

• "Veronica Mars" and "Gilmore Girls." The former has been on the bubble practically since the cult show first launched. Alas, it seems time has finally run out for Veronica and friends. Despite the jump to a new network, The CW, and the benefit of following the more popular "Gilmore Girls," Veronica's ratings sagged again, and most are expecting that the show won't earn a last-minute reprieve this year, as it has the last two. Meanwhile, "Gilmore Girls" also suffered a ratings drop this year and the contracts are up for both Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. The rumor is that The CW is negotiating with the pair to return for a shortened 13-episode season. I think it's probably a better idea to let these two walk off into the sunset (gabbing all the way) while anyone still cares.

• "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." The one-time NBC powerhouse franchise took a hit this season with two of the three "L&O" series plummeting down the ratings chart. ("Special Victims Unit" still draws a crowd of watchers.) If NBC wants to get the franchise off life support, I'd advise canceling "Criminal Intent" and refocusing on the original. Current scuttlebutt is that "Law & Order" will return if NBC can work out budget cuts with the producers.

• "Jericho." Remember when this post-apocalyptic CBS drama was as buzzed about as fellow freshman series "Heroes"? That was last fall, but it seems like forever. "Jericho" went on hiatus over the winter, and when the show finally returned, its fans didn't come back to it. This is a problem that's hit many of the serialized shows that experimented with a break in the middle of the season this year, especially "Lost." However, "Shark" was the only other new CBS drama that really caught on this year, so I'm guessing the network will renew "Jericho" and try to get some of those viewers back.

• "Scrubs." No worries. Zach Braff's contract has been renewed for another season, and just like last year, if NBC cancels it, ABC is expected to pick it up.

• "Medium" and "The Ghost Whisperer." The first is on NBC. The second is on CBS. They're both about chicks who see dead people. "Medium" has traditionally posted solid ratings, but NBC really jerked it around the schedule this year. Meanwhile, "The Ghost Whisperer" pulls in OK numbers during the Friday-night dead zone. I don't see how either really hurts the network, unless they're trying to make room for a whole bunch of brilliant new shows they need time slots for. Umm, yeah -- I doubt that, too.

• "According to Jim" and "George Lopez." Seriously, does anyone even care? Personally, I hope "The Knights of Prosperity" somehow gets that second season, but ABC likes its comedies as cookie-cutter as possible. And nobody cuts more cookies than Jim and George. Thirty-three percent chance of renewal. Thirty-three percent chance of cancellations. Thirty-three percent chance nobody notices either way.

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