The 10 Biggest Bubble Shows of 2012: Will They Be Renewed or Canceled?

Now that we've officially started tracking what's renewed, what's canceled, and what's still dancing precariously on the line between the two with our mega-ginormous list of show statuses, it's time to take a closer look at the season's biggest bubble shows. The fates of the following 10 series are still very much up in the air, so we've gone ahead and made our guesses as to which way each one will go. Of course, networks sometimes do some crazy things (final decisions will be made by mid-May), so anything can happen!



Alcatraz

UPDATE: Fox has canceled Alcatraz (and renewed Touch).

The Situation: Alcatraz has a big name behind it in J.J. Abrams, and his shows tend to attract a loyal fan base regardless of their quality. Peoples be loving mysteries, yo! And that was obvious in Alcatraz's impressive start: More than 10 million viewers tuned in for the two-hour series premiere! But the drop-off after that was brutal, and the season finale, which should have sucked in viewers with its promise to answer big questions, only pulled in 4.75 million viewers, a series low. If you're an executive, you look at those numbers and realize they'll never get back up to 10 million. Is that worth a renewal? Ehhh...

Alcatraz is fighting Touch and Fringe for a limited number of "weirdo drama" slots on Fox's schedule, and right now Touch has the advantage of being fresh in viewers' minds and Fringe has the advantage of critical acclaim. Fox has little to gain in renewing it. If I'm Fox, I'm passing and leaving things open for Netflix to come in and pretend to revive it. Sorry, Rebecca Madsen, looks like you're dead for reals.

Our Take: Alcatraz won't escape the jail of cancellation. The show is on death row.



The Secret Circle

The Situation: If we'd had this conversation a few months ago, I would've said The Secret Circle was a lock for renewal. But in recent weeks the teen drama has fallen like a witch who realized the broom she's flying is just a regular broom or like a really bad witch's broom metaphor. Last week's episode lost half of its The Vampire Diaries lead-in and struggled just to put up a 0.5 rating in the adult demo. What gives? I thought you kids would just watch both of them together!

Making things look even worse for The Secret Circle are the potential replacements currently in The CW's pilot pipeline. The network's Beauty and the Beast remake and Cult would both fit nicely behind The Vampire Diaries (which will definitely be renewed, duh), but the biggest threat to TSC right now is The Hunger Games-ish The Selection, which could easily take over TSC's slot. You know how The CW do, keep churning 'em out and hope one is a hit.

Our Take: The Secret Circle won't go unbroken. With plenty of potential replacement projects waiting in the wings, it's a goner.



Parenthood

UPDATE: NBC has renewed Parenthood for a fourth season.

The Situation: The family drama is liked by critics and is arguably NBC's best series. Parenthood was also on the bubble last season, but got renewed and actually showed little deterioration in Season 3, consistently hanging around the 5 million viewers mark. That's especially impressive considering it aired in a 10pm time slot. But most importantly, the series ticked up at the end of the season, and that goes a long way with executives. That's the good news.

The bad news? The buzz on Parenthood is but a low hum, and that's the cost of being a good show on NBC. The network is looking to change its reputation, and that starts with cultivating new hits, not keeping decently performing shows around.

Our Take: We're going to lean toward good news here and predict a renewal, though that could change if NBC likes the looks of its drama pilots.



Cougar Town

UPDATE: ABC has passed on the show, but TBS has saved it! A fourth season should air on the cable network in early 2013.

The Situation: Cougar Town got screwed, plain and simple. It was left off the fall schedule, pushed back even in the midseason, and then returned to follow the multi-cam Tim Allen comedy Last Man Standing? Weak. It's no surprise that the ratings are scraping series lows in recent weeks even with weird guerilla marketing.

I don't really have any reason to think this, but if you ask me it sounds like ABC is just parting ways with the show. Unless it's planning on reshaping its mini Tuesday-night comedy block, where's Cougar Town going to fit? It might work in the Wednesday comedy block, but Modern Family is a lock to return, Suburgatory is almost certain to be back, and Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 look like decent bets, too. Plus The Middle is the perfect 8pm show, and we haven't even considered whatever comedy pilots ABC has prepped. This might be a case of odd man out.

Our Take: It's done.



Fringe

UPDATE: Fox has renewed Fringe for a 13-episode fifth and final season. Woohoo!

The Situation: First, let's applaud Fox for keeping Fringe on the air for four seasons when it didn't have to. Clearly the network loves the show, how else would you explain its surviving beyond Season 2 with the pathetic ratings that it gets? So thank you, Fox. Now we beg: would one more season kill ya?

It's a bit much to ask for a full 22-episode final season of Fringe, but a 13-episode half season is a distinct possibility. It's all going to come down to how much Fox wants the show to end things on its own terms and how much the network is okay with Fringe fans storming Fox HQ armed with Twizzlers and tabs of LSD. Fox won't win any PR battles if it cancels Fringe, and in the long run, it might not even make financial sense since this is a show that I think will hold up well after it's gone and will be discovered by new audiences in years to come.

I want this show renewed just as much as the next person, but we need to prepare for the worst. Fox producers certainly have, by shooting two endings for the Season 4 finale: one that keeps things open for Season 5 and one that closes the door on the series. This all comes down to how passionate Fox is about the project and whether it's willing to save the show from death one last time.

Our Guess: This is probably the biggest question of the season, and it's going to come down to the wire. We wouldn't be surprised either way, but have our fingers crossed for a 13-episode final season. PLEASE FOX!



Community

UPDATE: NBC has renewed Community for a shortened fourth season. Maybe the network is more streets ahead than we thought!

The Situation: Oh boy, here we go. Based on overall audience alone, Community should be expelled. But this comedy has so much cache among critics and web dwellers that it makes more sense for NBC to keep it than to dump it. If the network was able to keep the similarly adored but barely watched Friday Night Lights around as long as it did, it should find a way to keep Community on the air. Even if NBC couldn't float it, it seems like the kind of show that DirecTV or Netflix would actually save.

What's more, on its return from hiatus, Community showed great performance among the 18-34 age demographic, even beating juggernaut American Idol. Translation: Internet support plus Nielsen 18-34 ratings mean young people watch this show, which means advertisers should want to pay money to brainwash them. That's admittedly very forward-thinking data, but the world is only getting younger and digital-er and it's time networks recognize that. Unfortunately, Community's most recent episode was a low point, ratings-wise, so a lot of that momentum is deader than Chang's Dungeons and Dragons character.

Our Take: It's very dicey at this point, but we have hope that NBC will keep Community alive for a syndication jackpot. Pushed one way or another, we say it will be back, but only because of #sixseasonsandamovie #anniesboobs #streetsahead



Nikita

UPDATE: The CW has renewed Nikita, along with Hart of Dixie and Gossip Girl.

The Situation: Nikita is in the same boat as The Secret Circle. It's paired with a signature CW show (Supernatural in Nikita's case) and just not showing the same numbers. However, Nikita does have a more impressive overall audience and last week even outdrew Supernatural.

Again, it all comes down to what The CW likes in its development slate, and the likely show to replace Nikita is Arrow, the new superhero drama that's considered to be a successor for Smallville. But would The CW try to launch a new series on Fridays, assuming Supernatural stays put?

Our Take: Super close call, guys. Flip a coin.



Awake

UPDATE: NBC has canceled Awake. Wahhhhh!

The Situation: We love Awake here at TV.com, and it has a mystery we're actually invested in thanks to the giant emotional anchor the show has planted in our spines. But its ratings stink (under 3 million viewers in each of the last three weeks), even for NBC (the NoBody's C-ing these shows network). It's in the tough 10pm hour on Thursdays, it doesn't really belong on network TV, and as far as we know, there's no singing in it. So this should be dead in the water, right?

Well, here's what Awake has going for it: Critics like it. Creator Kyle Killen is the type of talent who's going to develop a massive hit at some point, and forging a good relationship with him means a network will have a better chance of grabbing that hit. It's also the type of show that could show up come awards season. NBC wants Awake to work, so much so that press screeners of the next three episodes appeared in my inbox yesterday. Why would NBC send out advanced screeners of a show it didn't want to bring back? I'm guessing NBC is pushing for a late surge as the series hits its home stretch, and is hoping the media will spread the word. Or maybe I'm just looking into these things way too much.


Our Take: Awake is still a long shot for renewal, but things at least look a tad better than they did yesterday.



The Office

UPDATE: NBC has renewed The Office; will Season 9 be the show's last?

The Situation: The Office is almost certainly coming back, but I included it on this list because there's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding it. The rate at which this comedy has deteriorated from, you know, actually being funny to going through the motions has been staggering. Several principal cast members still haven't signed contracts for next season and it's super obvious that they'd rather pursue movie careers than stay aboard this sinking ship. There are also discussions of revamping the series altogether or spinning off Dwight Schrute, a clear indication that no one has any idea what another season of The Office would look like.

But NBC knows that not bringing back The Office next year would essentially turn the foundation of its once-famous Thursday night into rubble (even if it's already showing cracks). No other NBC comedy is quite ready to take on the burden of being a comedy block cornerstone, so NBC needs The Office to stick around for one last season and hope that Parks and Recreation can finally become a mainstream hit. But it'll limp out like a two-legged dog.

Our Take: I don't see a revamp or spin-off in the future of this series. But who knows, NBC doesn't always make decisions that make sense. The Office will be back, and NBC will pay its stars for one final painful season that it can market as an end of an era.



Supernatural

UPDATE: The CW has renewed Supernatural for an eighth season.

The Situation: Supernatural's seventh season has been up and down and down even further, hitting series lows in ratings and quality of episodes (blame Becky Larson!!!). But it's still Supernatural, it's given people a reason to watch The CW on Fridays, and it's currently being syndicated on TNT, meaning it's going to make some money on every episode it produces. Smallville stuck around for 10 seasons and said goodbye with a heavily publicized farewell season, and I see The CW doing something similar with Supernatural. Whether that'll happen next season or the one after that, we have yet to find out.

But the best sign that Supernatural will probably be back is the addition of Jeremy Carver as showrunner for a potential Season 8, to take over for Sera Gamble. An energized Carver will lay out his plans for Season 8, CW execs will be impressed, and it will be all green lights from there.

Our Take: Coming back for Season 8, but please, no more Leviathans and no more Becky Larson. Unless there's an episode where Becky gets eaten by Leviathans and gives them such foul indigestion that they explode.



Remember, with death comes new life. If your favorite show does get canceled, it could prove to be the fertilizer for a new show that you'll fall in love with. Or it could give way to a multi-camera sitcom about a husband who needs to cross-dress to get a job.


Which of these shows do you think will survive? Which ones will you miss the most if they die?


RELATED STORY: What's Renewed, What's Canceled, and What's Still In Between? (2012 Edition)


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (203)
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I would like to see another network, like TNT, pick up Alcatraz and maybe even The Finder. I have given up on the major networks!
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Renew Hart of Dixie!!!! Get rid of Ringer, Secret Circle, and Nikita!
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Dammit, I knew they would cancel 'Alcatraz' without ever giving us any kind of explanation or closure! FOX just keeps on teasing people with new shows only to cancel them after one season! :(



Why do they even bother with those genre shows when they never have the balls to go through with it anyway?!
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Awake really needs to survive, but with these ratings, it will be a miracle if it does.
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I'm glad both Fringe and Supernatural have been renewed, now just renew Nikita for a third season as well and I'll be really happy!!
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Filipinos love the mysterious - that makes Supernatural and Fringe a favorite here,digital or cable versions - like myself - i'd be at lost if these shows were...er lost.
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I LOVE Supenatural, I like Fringe so I am happy both shows are sticking around. Awake is a good show, but you have to pay attention to it. It's not a show you can turn off on, so I see why some don't watch it because if you don't pay attention you are lost and have no idea what is going on. But MANY MANY thanks to the CW for renewing Supernatural. I know it's years are numbered, but I will take as many as I can get!!
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Thanks to TNT and an old high school buddy I watched supernatural from the beginning and caught up in real time taping it...and it was worth it. Trust me I thought it would be crap but I love these guys. I am happy they will be back but its purely because I am attached to the characters. Fringe, why the heck hasn't John Noble gotten a golden globe/emmy....the man is an amazing actor, hell for the first 2 years he was the whole reason I watched as it was confusing between years 1 and 2, clearly switching gears. Joshua Jackson and John Noble are the heart and soul of this show....13 episodes I wish was 23. Just happy they didn't get the disrespectful endings that many shows get with a flat out cancelation and no wrap up. Glad JJ Abrams is involved so it gets better treatment than others like Medium.
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I like Supernatural and Nikita. They are both really good shows. I watch the earlier episodes of Supernatural on TNT whenever I can. I was just wondering if you are going to let us know about the future of other shows that are on the bubble.
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Glad to hear 2 of my favorites have been renewed; Fringe & Supernatural. I even watch the reruns of Supernatural on TNT every weekday. The three that I am still waiting on are 1)Awake, 2)Parenthood and 3)Secret Circle. Here's hoping!!!
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Great news on Supernatural and Fringe. And I, for one, am up for a 10th season of Supernatural; even as "a shadow of it's former self", it still has more substance than 99% of network fare. Community and Parenthood? Seriously? That crap? Let them go, NBC. Save Awake and The Firm instead. And I'd love to see Alcatraz renewed, but Fox isn't known for sticking with shows (Fringe being a "prestige" exception).
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Ugh, I hope Supernatural doesn't dragged into a 10th season. It used to be one of the best shows on the tv, and now it's a shadow of its former self. Finish it out with an 8th and let the show go out with a bang. I really don't want to be saying, "This is still on?!" about one of my favorite shows
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Yes!!! Fringe and Supernatural will be back. But I really don't know what to think about The Secret Circle, I mean, at first I was really caught, but lately it's just nonsense. I really thought it would work, but I guess they couldn't find a plausible way to adapt the story as they did with The Vampire Diaries. Anyway, I'm really happy for Fringe!!! It deserves a decent final season at least.
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I thoroughly enjoyed Alcatraz and am greatly disappointed at the thought of canceling it. This show should have a second chance. It was well done in all aspects. I would say the reason it came up against low viewer numbers in the end is that stupid Bachelor show had so many people sucked in to watching its final show that it took away from a show that is of some assemblage of quality. Keep Alcatraz alive please.............
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I couldn't care less about any of these. I like AWAKE. But can give it up with NO problem.

I'm worried about CSI:NY. Some of these are WAY below the quality of CSI:NY.

Their curse is being a CBS show, where they cancel Top 25 shows that other networks would kill to have.
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I'll be sad to see The Office go. It was one of the very few shows that actually made me laugh out loud. I guess I'll have to go to Robot chicken and TMZ for a few laughs... and re-runs of the office of course.
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YAY! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GLAD SUPERNATURAL'S BEEN RENEWED!
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I'm a loyal FRINGE fan, and I would be sorry if it were cancelled, but I like the idea that they have created two endings, just in case. I also like AWAKE, which has hinted at a rather sinister plot, that I would like to see more developed. And ALCATRAZ is a series that also has a rather sinister sub-plot, along with really great writers, directors and actors portraying the last Alcatraz prisoners. ALSO, i totally agree with slh53041, that if a show is on the "bubble", at least give it a second season to solve the puzzle.
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NBC should pair Grimm with Awake But Not on Thursdays! Ugh killer night for new shows that don't pretend to have a talent and sing half naked etc. lol Touch could survive before House or Fringe Only. I don't care about Bones or Bones 2. I will miss House and Fringe. I love the ABC comedies Middle, Sub and Apt. B. I watch SYFY between Survivor and 10pm. lol depending on what Syfy has for 9pm slot. I wish Idol to go away and its spin off copies too. Pair that with Bones instead. I love Supernatural. It is only CW series I see. Alcatraz is ok but can live without it. Though I like Hurley and Sam Neil. Don't know who others are. I am not a sheep watching Community either, busy with ABC 's Missing . Sorry. I love Parks however on NBC.
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The one of all of these that I would most like to see return is Parenthood. It has wonderful acting by adults and young people.



I also like Awake, although when I have to choose between it and The Mentalist, the latter wins. I will search out the episodes of Awake that I have missed on On Demand or the internet if they are available.
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I wanted to like The Secret Circle, but just don't care what happens to any of the characters, none of them hooked me. Supernatural is my favorite show on any channel, but am with you on the Levis, they were the worse big bads EVER. Hope they don't come back for season 8 and hope Sera stays around to do some writing. Love most of her eps.
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The only three that I really care about are Fringe (already renewed), Alcatraz, and Awake. Community has run its course for me. Although I am an avid science fiction fan, I never got in to Supernatural, but I've heard it is a quality show and hope it gets renewed for those who do love it. None of hte others hold any interest for me at all.
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How many Nikita's were made till now? Got sick & tired of it.
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The only show on your list that's worth spending any time on is "Parenthood". All the rest is the usual juvenile crap that's been cluttering our screens for a generation. Networks need to grow up and catch up with cable if they hope to survive.
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Shows like Awake (Rubicon) deserve at least a second season to solve the puzzle they have created.



Not 6 seasons, like Lost, to end with agroan.
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Nikita, Supernatural & The Secret Circle please be renewed!!!!!!!
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"...momentum is deader than Chang's Dungeons and Dragons character.



Our Take: It's very dicey at this point..."



Was the "D&D/dice" pun on purpose? LOL





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I really really hope that Supernatural, The Secret Circle and Nikita get renewed for another season. They all deserve it.
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Please renew Alcatraz!
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Please don't cancel Nikita :(
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just don't cancel "NIKITA"
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I'm thrilled that FOX finally did the right thing and gave Fringe their final season. Hopefully the CW keeps The Secret Circle and Nikita around. Supernatural killed everybody off so the show isn't the same with just the brothers. If the get rid of the people eating creatures, maybe they can salvage something for a final season. Awake is a good show and so is Parenthood. Maybe NBC will do the right thing and keep them. Cougar Town totally got screwed. I don't think this show will be coming back. I did love Cougar Town.
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I kind of like Nikita.
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Nikita, The best show on CW. If they cancel it, I hope someone else picks it up. I like Awake too, Change the time slot for it....,
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Keeping my fingers crossed for TSC, would be reeeaaally sad if it gets cancelled.. :(

It needs a chance to be renewed for at least a second season!!

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It's not going to be canceled. TSC's average rating is just a little over average for the CW at this point (with many shows being below average because TVD is doing so much better than any of the CW's other shows). They're not going to cancel an above-average rated show. They also have One Tree Hill ending, Ringer dead, and Nikita< Hart Of Dixie and Gossip Girl all averaging reasonably lower than TSC. The CW only has so many potential pilots and they can't cancel everything. TSC is quite safe, at least for one more season. If TSC wasn't safe (because of one episode?!?) then nothing else other than TVD on the CW is safe.



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TSC is really dead, the show has lost a lotta focus, yay for fringe, love it
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Supernatural is a survivor. There's no way that Supernatural will be cancelled after all these years of work. I know that it will have an awesome FINAL season, just like Smallville did. I hope Nikita stays as well. Nikita is getting better and better. Same with The Secret Circle. I could care less about Alcatraz because I barely got through the first season without falling asleep and the finale of that just proved how long that show will probably last before cancellation. My top show here is Supernatural. That's the biggest one that I care about. Heck, if you get rid of Supernatural, then you should just get rid of all the other shows as well because nothing beats Supernatural. TIME FOR SEASON 8 of SUPERNATURAL!!
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Supernatural is going to renewed.. for sure!

I agree about "Community", "Nikita" and "Awake".. Great television series !

"Alcatraz" and "Secret Circle" are just ok!

Yay for FRINGE !
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The Office has been a bit of a let down this season I'm sad to say....
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Great to hear that Fringe has been renewed but please give Awake another chance, absolutely fantastic series with so much to offer, great acting, stories and loads of potential to go in many different directions. Not only is Awake a cop show it also has an even better human side to it. Also have a bit of a soft spot for Alcatraz, it's perhaps a little samey but options for the 2nd series are there rather than just murderer comes back and murders someone, sniper comes back and shoots someone. I wanna find out what happens with the Warden (best character).



Cancel all reality TV instead.
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I definitely agree on that. They should cancel all reality TV shows. Reality shows isn't as interesting.
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I choose Nikita over Secret Circle anyday. I like both shows but if one has to go, let it be The Secret Circle. I love Nikita and I dont think its like too many other shows, how many other spy shows are there??? I reallllly hope they dont stop Cougar Town, its such a good show, they should give it what is due, instead of screwing it over and leaving it off schedules!!!
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I LOVE Cougar Town...So Damn funny, but you really need quick to understand the jokes. My 23 niece is like WTF did they say..Well, let's just say she's at that age were her IPhone is the only thing crucial in her life. Supernatural will be renewed...but it hasn't been the same since the killed off dear Ol" Dad. Fringe is good , but the after the 1st season, it got lazy, but still good.
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NIkita is honestly the best show on CW right now! They wanted 3 seasons they shoud give them that. I don't watch TSC but 90210, for example, I've stopped coz it was so low... Nikita is interesting and funny and surprising in every episode... If it gets cancelled it'll be a really big loss.
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Supernatural, Fringe ans Community won't get cancelled. Alcatraz should be cancelled.

Don't care about others.
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Nikita is the best show out there! The writing is great, unexpected twists! Don't cancel it until they take division down!
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First, If the Secret Circle gets canceled it's because the story quality is awful and cheesy and the characters are not likeable, especially the lead female, which the writers made a very annoying person, so honestly that is not a surprise!! Second, I agree wholeheartdly with the comments about Supernatural, this season has not been good.. The Leviathan story line is a bust, lets end it and move back to Cass,the Angels , and the head Grim Reaper "Death" , my favorite character by the way!!! If Becky Larson is the problem lets get rid of her and move on to someone else, do not let this series be bought down by one person like the Sliders series!!
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Secret Circle must never die. Nick just came back!!
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Which ones would you miss the most if they died?



Supernatural and Awake.
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I want Alcatraz to be renewed. I know I'm probably alone in this, and I realize it's not the best show on TV (heck, it's not even that good) but I really do enjoy it. And also: Yay Fringe!
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I am crossing my fingers for Cougar Town and Community. Cougar Town is such a feel good show, and I have laughed out loud many times during the last few episodes. I wouldn't mind if they kept Awake either. And I don't know what I would do without Troy and Abed.
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