Are Bubble Shows CHUCK, OLD CHRISTINE, and GHOST WHISPERER Safe? Is ONE TREE HILL vs. LIFE UNEXPECTED a Sophie’s Choice for The CW?

     May 3, 2010

Last night gave us some insight into the fates of Chuck, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Ghost Whisperer, One Tree Hill, Life Unexpected, and Medium as well as some potentially bad news for CBS comedies Gary Unmarried, Rules of Engagement, and Accidentally on PurposeDeadline put their ear to their ground and reported the “rumblings” around town regarding certain renewals, likely cancellations, and even a couple cases of the rare network switcharoo–it may be wise to update my comprehensive bubble show report.

In short Chuck, Old Christine, Ghost Whisperer, and Medium should all have a home next year, while One Tree Hill, Life Expected, and the lesser performers among the CBS comedies may be left out in the cold.  Details after the jump:

News for Chuck fans may come as early as this week, and the odds are looking good (“a lot better than last year”) for a season four.  Co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak are pushing the network to notify them sooner rather than later so they can maintain the excellence of the writing staff.  If tonight’s episode nets a solid viewership, Chuck may have some celebrating to do come Tuesday morning.  Good luck with your flash mobs this afternoon, Chuck fans.

For the past three Mays, ABC has spread the rumor that they’d pick up Old Christine if CBS decides to cancel it.  This is the first May where the alphabet network actually has a cushy slot on the schedule for it, though, in the relatively successful Wednesday comedy block among The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar TownChristine has squeaked out a reprieve the last two seasons, but it may be the rare show for whom cancellation is not a death knell.  The comedy pilot orders at CBS are strong enough that the network may only renew How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men to premiere alongside three brand new comedies in the fall across Monday and Wednesday.  That may spell bad things for Christine, Gary Unmarried, and Accidentally on Purpose, but they can always hope for a midseason replacement order.

ABC is also interested in the Jennifer Love-Hewitt vehicle Ghost Whisperer–which ABC Studios co-produces with CBS Studios–if the show’s ratings declines were too much for CBS to tolerate this season.  Such an event is improbable unless CBS wants to drastically alter their scripted mindset re: Fridays.  It’s likely we’ll see Ghost alongside Medium for the 8-9 hour, with a non-freshman in the 10:00 slot.  Deadline suggests CSI, but I’m thinking The Good Wife might get the move to keep the female-friendly throughline for the night: {Jennifer Love-Hewitt–> Patricia Arquette–> Julianna Magulies} is a more fluent progression than {Jennifer Love-Hewitt–> Patricia Arquette–> Laurence Fishburne}.

Lastly, insiders continue to pit One Tree Hill against Life Unexpected in The CW’s renewal decisions.  One Tree Hill has a proven track record, but Life Unexpected is fresher and cheaper to produce.  Reportedly, the two may share a time slot over the 2010-2011 season with partial orders, but that does not seem to jive with the business model of a network that refrains from programming the weekend and schedules month-long blocks of reruns to keep overall production costs down.  I’m still going to throw it out there that both may be cancelled to make room for hot new teen dramas (with names like Betwixt), but I’ll give Life has the edge if it really is an either/or situation.

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