Many TV series face uncertain futures

Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:49am EDT
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - At this point in the season, the strictly defined countries of "renewed" and "canceled" have acres of gray area in between.

A couple dozen shows are clustered near the border, on the verge of being declared dead or alive for next season.

Without belaboring the obvious (ABC's "Cashmere Mafia" isn't coming back; Fox's "Bones" is), here's the latest industry buzz on some of the most talked-about titles:

- "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." Fans need not worry: Sources say that "Terminator" will be back. Fox executives like the creative product and thought the finale's performance last week was solid. The network also spent a considerable amount marketing the show, giving Season 2 some cost benefit. Also: The fourth "Terminator" movie comes out in 2009, and as "The Simpsons Movie" proved, there are promotional advantages to film-TV synergy.

- "Scrubs." The dead comedy-turned-backroom hot commodity remains poised to jump to ABC from longtime home NBC. The cast has been told to return to work March 24. Cast member John C. McGinley said recently that he was told that "the 18 episodes we're going to do starting that day will be on ABC next fall." But the show's producer, ABC Studios, insists the work is just "reshoots." Just, you know, everyday reshoots of a series NBC has refused to order more episodes of.

- "How I Met Your Mother." Granted, "Mother" usually is the weakest ratings link in CBS' Monday night comedy lineup. But that lineup sets a high bar, representing the most successful comedy block on television. The headline-making stunt casting of Britney Spears in an upcoming episode is sure to boost viewership. Not to mention, CBS' comedy-starved rivals would be tempted to snatch up the show if canceled. Verdict: Probably not going anywhere.

- "Knight Rider." The February movie performed well for NBC. Sources say the network is in talks with a producer who is familiar with NBC primetime, which suggests a regular series order is likely.

- "Moonlight." CBS is playing wait-and-see with this Friday night show about a vampire private detective. The network is curious whether the show's fans return once it comes back from its strike-induced hiatus. But "Moonlight" fans are passionate, the show fits well into CBS' Friday night alternative crime block and an eventual pickup is probable.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Zach Braff answers questions during the panel for the NBC series "Scrubs" at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California July 16, 2007. The dead comedy-turned-backroom hot commodity remains poised to jump to ABC from longtime home NBC. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>