Kirk Acevedo, Maria Bello, Prime Suspect

Patrick Harbron/NBC

Maria Bello, you can leave your hat on. But you might not need it for work any more.

NBC has removed Prime Suspect (along with Community) from its midseason schedule, and now Variety is reporting that production is shutting down.

So is Prime now canceled?

Sources at NBC point out that Prime Suspect has not been officially canceled, at least, not yet. NBC will produce the initial order of 13 episodes and then the network will determine its fate later in the season. As always, the final decision on Prime's fate will need to be made by mid-May, when the 2012-13 TV season schedule will be announced. (Ditto Community.)

That said, the chances of Prime scoring a second season are slim. NBC will air two new dramas in early 2012 in the hopes that they'll do better: The Firm (of John Grisham origin), premiering Jan 12, and the much buzzed-about Smash (with Debra Messing and Katherine McPhee), debuting Feb. 6.

Prime Suspect, which has struggled in the ratings despite twice-a-week airings recently, comes from Friday Night Lights producer Peter Berg. And Maria Bello herself told me she was hesitant at first to do the series, but a certain super-motivational coach you FNL fans know so well talked her into the gig.

"Kyle Chandler told me that it was the most creative experience of his life and that it was so amazing and that he still had a life with his family and that I should enjoy," Maria remembers. "And so I agreed, and by the way, it's been like that. It's been incredible."

Prime Forever?

Are you hoping for a miracle that Prime will  survive? Sound off in the comments.

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