Every year it becomes more difficult to guess a show's odds for renewal because the TV landscape continues to evolve as networks consider an array of metrics. No longer do executives decide a show's fate based simply on overnight ratings. Today, they also factor in how much of a bump any series gets from DVR-inclusive ratings. And they also consider the value of a show's unquantifiable buzz.
No matter, viewers just want the opportunity to weigh in, to play programmer and make their voices heard about which prime-time series to keep or cancel. That's where the Post-Gazette's annual Keep or Cancel? poll comes in. Cast your ballot with the online version of this story or find a link online at http://old.post-gazette.com/tv/poll/default.asp.
One vote per computer will be accepted. Series receiving an inordinate, unbelievable number of votes will be disqualified. If you don't own a computer or more than one person in your household wants to vote, send me a letter -- no phone calls or email votes accepted -- with your choice of shows to keep and/or cancel, your age, gender and ZIP code. One ballot will be cast per envelope received. (The Post-Gazette's mailing address is 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.)
Votes will be tallied through April 21, and shortly thereafter the results will be published in a Friday Tuned In column. We'll send the results to each broadcast network president before the week of May 12 when the networks announce their new fall schedules.
If you want to beseech a TV network on behalf of a specific series, we've included network addresses, which are always available online at http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-radio/ under "TV/Radio Resources" on the lower right side of the page (scroll down to find the link).
Already-canceled shows that aired during the 2012-13 TV season are included on our ballot specifically so voters can voice their opinions on these programs, even if we know they won't be back.
Programs that have yet to premiere but are scheduled to debut during the polling period are also included. Some viewers might consider waiting to vote until closer to the deadline if there are particular upcoming series that they would like to check out before voting.
Here's where some of the most vulnerable series stand as of early March:
2300 Riverside Drive, Burbank, Calif., 91521
The alphabet network may have the greatest number of shows on the bubble. "Zero Hour" probably has zero chance at a second season. And the ending may be less than happy for comedy "Happy Endings."
ABC has given "Body of Proof" plenty of chances to become a ratings winner, but it hasn't happened so expect it to wind up in the TV show morgue, too.
And while Wednesday night shows "Nashville" and "The Neighbors" are on the bubble too, they have a better chance of returning. The same may be true for Friday sitcoms "Last Man Standing" and "Malibu Country."
4024 Radford Ave., Studio City, Calif., 91604
After getting shuffled around the schedule persistently through its life, "Rules of Engagement" may finally hang it up. "CSI: NY" has likely solved its last case, and the odds don't look favorable for "Vegas."
"The Good Wife" is the network's prestige project and is likely to return, and "The Mentalist" could go either way.
Box 900, Beverly Hills, Calif., 90213
"The Following" made a case for its renewal but "Touch" is a goner.
"Glee" will surely be back, and Fox renewed "New Girl," "The Mindy Project" and "Raising Hope" earlier this month.
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, Calif., 91608
Where to begin?
After staging a comeback in the fall thanks to "Sunday Night Football," "The Voice" and "Revolution" buoying its schedule, NBC has sunk back into fourth place and even got beat by Univision among adults 18-34 and 18-49 during last month's sweeps period.
"Revolution" and "The Voice" return this week, which may help, but NBC has a lot of holes to fill. Dark horse freshman drama "Chicago Fire" seems like a lock to return, but "Smash," despite being a pet project of NBC's top exec, is likely to get the hook.
"Community" and "1600 Penn" are likely to get cut, and even "Parks and Recreation" may be in danger. "Deception" will be canceled, too.
"Parenthood" saw ratings improvement this year, so it's likely to be renewed.
"Go On" and "The New Normal" performed OK this past fall but cratered without "The Voice" lead-in; still, expect at least one of them to be back.
3300 W. Olive Ave., 3rd Floor, Burbank, Calif., 91505
"Arrow," "The Vampire Diaries" and "Supernatural" have already been renewed. "Cult" was D.O.A., so it won't be back. The jury is still out on "The Carrie Diaries," "Hart of Dixie," "Nikita" and "Beauty and the Beast."
The CW announced last month that school is out forever for "90210."
This year we've added two more networks to the poll: TV Land, due to popular reader demand last year, and Cinemax, which has ramped up its production of original series.
There are too many original cable series in production to go into much depth in this space on which shows might be on the chopping block. Two programs in danger: ABC Family's low-rated, smart and gentle drama "Bunheads" and TNT's excellent cop drama "Southland," which is averaging just a little more than 1 million viewers in its premiere broadcast on Wednesday nights.
Rob Owen writes this Sunday TV column for Scripps Howard News Service. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.