NBC will be the first network to announce which shows return in the fall on May 4, but ABC has already jumped the gun by announcing several renewals April 23. However, most of the listed programs were already considered sure things for new seasons, so there was more attention paid to those programs
that weren't mentioned.
The dual night-time soap operas Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice will both be back, as well as the Sunday night tandem of Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. A few people had issued some worried e-mails over the fate of Ugly Betty, but it is also on the return list.
Then comes the usual onslaught of unscripted shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Wife Swap and Supernanny. Finally, the sixth and final season of Lost completes the current list.
Three programs with decent chances of getting new ABC seasons are Samantha Who?, Castle and Better Off Ted. Everything else is either doomed or very iffy, and none of that prior trio should be considered a lock. ABC formally announces the rest of its fall lineup May 19.
CBS is the only network to enjoy a major jump in audience this season (approximately 13 percent) and they have an overabundance of riches. This would normally be considered a good thing, but in the current environment it means CBS will be cutting good shows strictly for cost reasons, or because they just want to put something new on their schedule.
The latter might result in the demise of The Unit, while the former has reportedly resulted in a choice having to be made between Cold Case and Without a Trace. CBS notifies audiences about their lineup May 20.
Fox precedes everyone else except NBC, as they’ll be announcing their plans May 18. Some sources claim Lie to Me is secure and others put it on the bubble, but it now seems a good bet for a second season.
Unless a miracle occurs, you’ll have to get future Terminator epics on the big screen, because it looks like The Sarah Connor Chronicles are headed to DVD land, joined by Dollhouse.
The CW has publicly stated it is getting out of the sit-com business. Everybody Hates Chris has enough episodes for syndication, and The Game’s creator Mara Brock Akil wants to change it to a one-hour dramedy in hopes of keeping it on the air.
Since the CW isn’t exactly overloaded with minority programming, The Game might have a slim chance of succeeding in this new format, though there’s not overwhelming audience sentiment for retaining it at this point, judging from the results of the Zap2it.com poll results.
The CW’s fall lineup will come out May 21. Incidentally, no decision had been made at press time about Privileged, while Reaper star Taylor Labine is already doing pilots for new shows, not
exactly the posture of someone anticipating their show being renewed.
What this season, the first complete one since the ravages of the writers strike, has shown is that the creative slide affecting network television is far from over. When the only new hit on any major outlet this season is The Mentalist, which despite the protestations of its numerous media champions is a rip-off (albeit a good one) of USA Network’s Psych, that speaks volumes about the dearth of ideas in both dramas and sit-coms.
Fans who want to express their sentiments about which shows should be retained can vote online in Zap2it.com’s "shows on the bubble" poll up to May 4.