Even as speculation heats up that “Dollhouse” might yet return for another season, there remain plenty of shows on the bubble the Friday before upfront week. What’s different this year, however, is why they’re on said bubble.
“Usually, 80% of bubble shows are there for creative reasons, with 20% on the bubble because of financial matters,” one top agent says. “This year, the equation has been reversed.”
Take “Chuck”: NBC has decided it wants the show to return. (Yay!) But multiple sources said the network is looking to cut costs dramatically. Given that the show is already produced on a relative shoestring, Warner Bros. TV may have to scramble to make “Chuck” work.
TVMoJoe’s suggestion: Change the name of the show to “Subway Presents Chuck.” Or perhaps “Five Buck Chuck,” in honor of Subway’s budget sandwich line.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of haggling going on over price points for three other bubble series: NBC’s “Medium” and the CBS hours “Cold Case” and “Without a Trace.”
If CBS Paramount can make a deal with NBC, some insiders think CBS might yet decide to pick up “Medium.”
Likewise, industry oddmakers predict CBS will pick up either “Without a Trace” or “Cold Case,” but not both—and possibly neither. “Case” seems to have an edge over “Trace,” though all remains in flux.
Finally, this bit of scheduling gossip: CBS seems to be warming up to the Warner Bros. Television pilot “Miami Trauma.”