TV.com Top 10: Shows in Danger

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If shows were kept around based on their quality, television would be unrecognizable. Unfortunately, great shows are often rewarded by throwing them out on the curb as the business is cruel to those that can't find audiences. Another round of eliminations is just around the corner, and several shows are in danger of being sent packing. We'll take a look at 10 of the more intriguing cases.

10. Without a Trace / Cold Case

These two procedurals pull in 10 million-plus viewers regularly, so why are they on the chopping block? Well, CBS--America's most watched network--has different standards than others... CBS is used to HUGE numbers and doesn't settle for less. As previously reported, rumor is CBS is looking to cut costs in a big way, and that means these two may not return.
Prognosis: With CSI, NCIS, and The Mentalist well over 15 million viewers, these two have near-impossible standards to keep up with. Not looking great.

9. Knight Rider

The last we heard about this show is it was undergoing a massive overhaul... but that was late last year. Cast members were cut, and the main story is supposed to simplify and harken back to the classic Knight Rider. Jay Leno's primetime talk show is going to kill a lot of NBC programs, and this pricey action show and ratings drag will probably be one of them.
Prognosis: We're not even sure how this got on television in the first place. But then again, NBC doesn't make the wisest decisions.

8. In the Motherhood

Just a few days after its premiere, In the Motherhood saw its initial order cut by more than half from 13 episodes to just six. Yikes. The debut numbers weren't great, but with ABC's full plate of shows this season and promising pilots next season, the network can afford to be extra picky now.
Prognosis: Throwing single moms out on the street isn't nice, but it is business. A goner unless ratings jump drastically.

7. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Fox absolutely loves Terminator... but Fox also absolutely hates poor ratings. However, Terminator has one great thing going for it--McG's Terminator: Salvation opens in theaters in May. If it's a hit, it could restrengthen the brand and give this promising show new life.
Prognosis: It sounds silly to say a TV show's fate relies on a movie's performance, but let's face it--the television industry is as wacky as they come.

6. My Name is Earl

NBC has milked this cow for almost all its worth (even die-hard fans will admit that seasons one and two were much better than the more recent seasons), and the network would love to throw something fresher in to strengthen its comedy block that's anchored by The Office. But Earl, on the expensive side of things as far as half-hour comedies go, still has some laughs left in the tank.
Prognosis: As Deadline Hollywood notes, Fox (which produces the show) may actually turn around and scoop up the show--which is close to having enough episodes for syndication. NBC may give up on it, but Fox stands to make a lot of money if it sticks around a bit. But if Parks & Recreation tanks, Earl may stick around NBC.

5. Kings

Kings is totally original, looks fantastic, and has some great acting talent. But nobody watches it. NBC is cutting costs left and right, so the chances of this epic (and expensive) drama coming back are minimal. Another victim of the falling economy and the Jay Leno effect.
Prognosis: This does have a chance if... who are we kidding? Checkmate--Kings falls.

4. Castle

ABC's Castle has had a pretty decent start. However, how much of that is due to being in the slot right behind Dancing with the Stars? Given the viewer erosion the show goes through in its second half-hour, lots. Another thing Castle has going against it--ABC is chock full of options just waiting for a spot on the schedule. On the other hand, the show isn't bad and hasn't lost as much of its audience as one would expect.
Prognosis: Star Nathan Fillion tells TV.com that ABC is really behind this show. At this point in time, it's looking 50/50.

3. Reaper

Hey, Reaper is awesome. You know it, I know it, The CW knows it. But the paranormal comedy is pulling in dreadful numbers. The CW saved this show from death once... it won't do it again, sadly. Even Tyler Labine, who plays Sock, seems to know it and has booked another gig.
Prognosis: Reaper has a slim to none chance of returning.

2. Dollhouse

The heavily hyped show from Joss Whedon has fallen on its face in the ratings department (last week's episode drew less than four million). Despite slight improvement in quality (the "game-changing" episode six was better, but still disappointing), Dollhouse just doesn't seem to have what it takes to draw an audience, even from faithful Whedonites. There's a solid foundation for a great show here... can Joss realize its potential?
Prognosis: Not looking good. But if Terminator can squeak out a deal, maybe it will take Dollhouse with it. One positive sign: the DVR stats for the show are great.

1. Chuck

NBC's Chuck is this year's "little show that could." You want it to succeed, it tries really hard, but it just can't seem to get over the edge and become a hit. NBC adores this action-comedy (we do too), so hopefully they can pull some sort of deal to save it like they've done before with another little show that could--Friday Night Lights.
Prognosis: Jay Leno is taking five of NBC's 5 primetime hours next season. Unfortunately, we think Chuck's hour will be one of them.

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