April 5, 2010 / 5:15 AM / 8 years ago

"FlashForward," NBC medical dramas face ax

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - After returning from a four-month hiatus, a pair of ABC sci-fi dramas face diverging hopes of renewal.

“FlashForward” is considered highly unlikely to get a second season, as its ratings have dropped below the 2.0 threshold in the key adults 18-49 demographic on Thursdays.

After its midseason premiere last week, “V” remains uncertain, but if it can maintain its current ratings level, the show’s evil reptiles will most likely invade ABC next season.

On NBC, “Heroes” is the network’s biggest question mark, with the Peacock strongly considering a final-season order. “Chuck” is less of a mystery, but the network is more optimistic this year than last. If freshman drama “Parenthood” can remain stable in the coming weeks, NBC likely will give the series another shot in the fall.

“Law & Order,” now in its 19th season, is costly and modestly rated — the two most common causes of death for older shows — but NBC will find it tough to resist the lure of making “L&O” the longest-running drama series in history.

NBC’s medical dramas are another story. “Trauma” is headed to the morgue, and “Mercy” is on life support. NBC keeps pulling for “Mercy” to succeed and feels the show has creatively improved, but its numbers are below the line.

NBC’s other game show, “The Marriage Ref,” is considered a lock for a pickup. Although its ratings have slipped a fair amount, the Jerry Seinfeld-produced advice show has performed solidly for an unscripted program in a tough time Thursday period.

Fox, which recently canceled “24,” has only a couple of “bubble” shows that could go either way: “Human Target” and the new comedy “Sons of Tucson.” “Target” has managed to win a humble Wednesday time period with an equally humble number. But the network likes the show, and its ratings have appeared to stabilize at a level Fox finds acceptable for its slot. Like most live-action comedies put into Fox’s Sunday animated lineup, “Tucson” has struggled to gain traction and is considered a long shot for a comeback.

For a network with few slots to fill, CBS has plenty of bubble shows: “Cold Case,” “Numbers,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Medium,” “Accidentally on Purpose,” “Gary Unmarried” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

This group is tougher to prognosticate as all the shows are fairly stable in the ratings, and CBS pilots will play a heavy deciding role. “Numbers” and “Cold Case” are considered the least likely to return among the dramas, with “Old Christine” the most likely renewal on the comedy side.

On the CW, veteran “One Tree Hill” and freshman “Life Unexpected” are duking it out for a presumed single slot on next season’s schedule, with the former tending to pull stronger ratings but the latter a less expensive show.

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