James Tupper (Men in Trees), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Alex O'Laughlin (Moonlight)


We hear you. And feel your pain.

Many of you have been writing in since the strike's end to ask about the fate of your favorite series this season—and beyond. And while the official word on most series won't be handed down until the new season is unveiled in New York City May 11-15 (mark your calendars!), we figure it's only fair to let you know what we're hearing about the current status of shows that are "on the bubble." So, click on to find out which shows are in trouble of cancellation...and how likely they are to be saved.

The crowd of angry villagers is gathering in Comments; the protest captains are handing out pitchforks and torches. And we storm the castle at midnight.

Connie Britton

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

There's a Reason They Call It the Death Slot

Friday Night Lights (NBC)
Moonlight (CBS)
Women's Murder Club (ABC)

If you weren't around for, say, The Tragedie of the Firefly Ship, by bard of the globe Joss Whedon, you might not have heard about this thing called the "death slot."

We fans use the term to refer to any and all shows that get scheduled on Friday nights, where they die a slow, sleepy death because everyone's out getting drunk or at least sleeping off the workweek and then receive a eulogy in the trades that sounds like, "Alas, poor show, we hardly knew ye..." It's a veritable tautology of television: If you get the death slot, you die.

As such, no one should be surprised that three Friday-at-9 p.m. shows are in trouble, namely America's best-ever reality show (Friday Night Lights; nothing else on television is more genuine); a cult-fave vampire detective show (Moonlight); and a smart, fast-talking girlie crime drama (Women's Murder Club). In the end, it's like Jessica Rabbit said, if she were a TV producer instead of a bombshell, "I'm not a flop, I'm just scheduled that way."

For more on the status of FNL, click here!

Aliens in America

Marcel Williams/The CW

No Laughing Matter

Aliens in America (CW)
Carpoolers (ABC)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

Important confession: Aliens in America has been my number one comedy pick during the strike hiatus. And I have to say, after catching up on the original 10 eps, I'm pretty much convinced this heartwarming yet totally hilarious series just might be one of the season's best freshmen. (Stand by for more raving when Aliens returns for eight more original episodes Mar. 2. In the meantime, set your DVR!)

That said, Aliens and Carpoolers are both in trouble. The ratings, 2 millionish and 4 millionish, respectively, are sadly nothing to write home to Pakistan about. But Aliens in America has some solid critical support (Dawn Ostroff: see above!), so there's a chance they might sneak in under the wire.

And now, the jaw-dropper: The fact that How I Met Your Mother is on the bubble again is the highest order of ridiculous. Among other things (like the fact that it's flipping hilarious), it's one of the few shows on CBS that appeals to audiences with all their original teeth (the much-sought-after 18-49 demographic). If nothing else (beyond the fact that it's flipping hilarious), good half-hour comedies are thin on the ground these days, and you'd think CBS would be interested in at least getting it to the golden 100-episode mark, after which everybody starts making a trillion dollars in syndication money. Oh, wait, the show is produced by Fox, so CBS won't see any of that trillion. Huh. Hey, Kevin Reilly, could we interest you in some vertical integration and/or a beloved, smart, sweet and flipping hilarious comedy?

Laura Prepon, October Road

ABC Gale Adler

Girl Power?

Men in Trees (ABC)
October Road (ABC)

The good news for these two shows is that they fit perfectly into the character-driven, female-focused drama orientation of the ABC schedule, something the net has emphasized in the wake of Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and Ugly Betty. The bad news is that the ratings and the critical reception are both more middle-of-the-Road (ba-dum-bump) than the network honchos might prefer...

Bottom line: If you love life on the Ridge or in Elmo, Alaska, as much as I do, you might want to tell a friend or two to start watching (Road airs Mondays on ABC and Men in Trees finally returns to ABC for Wednesday at 10 p.m.).

They need you!


CBS/Ron Jaffe

What's a Boy to Do?

Cane (CBS)
Shark (CBS)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox)
The Unit (CBS)

The girls aren't the only ones with troubles...Three of CBS' series have yet to be renewed for next season: James Woods' Shark, Jimmy Smits' Cane and the action series The Unit are all on the bubble. Shark and The Unit have ratings that, say, the CW would kill for (11 million, give or take a few mil), and Cane's 8 million or so ain't shabby either. Ditto for Terminator's 8 million viewers, with some cult-show buzz and positive critical reception to boot. CBS, Fox, we know the grass is always greener on the other side of the development season, but we recommend you take a page from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on this one: "If you can't be with the one you might love, honey, don't cancel the one you're with." That's how it goes, right?

Now post your love for the series you're most worried about below...And pay it forward by telling just one friend (or 20) to watch it. (Rerun and Internet numbers do count!)

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