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Tough decisions: Some of these shows may be gone

It's more difficult than ever to predict which TV shows will be renewed come spring and which will be canceled.

With ratings down across the board, that measurement tool is no longer a primary factor in network executives' decisions. Now the decision just as often can come down to production costs, DVD sales, streaming volume and whether a network owns a stake in a series.

Here's where some of the most vulnerable series stand as of early March:

ABC."Better Off Ted" is dead and "Scrubs" is out, too. The network already announced that "Ugly Betty" will come to an end. Beyond that, much of ABC's schedule is on the bubble.

"FlashForward" and "V" won't return until later this month, but "V" stands a stronger chance of continuing in the 2010-11 TV season.

Viewers seem to have forgotten about "The Forgotten," so it's unlikely to be back. Ditto for "The Deep End." The network already announced renewals for "The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town.""Castle" seems like a shoo-in for renewal given its ratings gains this season.

CBS. "Cold Case" barely got renewed for this season, and its ratings have fallen further; it's likely to be cold-as-a-corpse come May. "Numb3rs" is also liable to face the ax.

"Accidentally on Purpose" appears to be a longer shot for renewal than Wednesday night comedies "New Adventures of Old Christine" or "Gary Unmarried," but neither of these is a lock to return, either. Ratings this month for "Rules of Engagement" may determine its fate.

THE CW. "The Vampire Diaries," "Gossip Girl," "90210," "Supernatural" and "America's Next Top Model" will be back, but "Smallville" seems likely to return.

"One Tree Hill" is on the bubble along with "Life Unexpected." A "for rent" sign is sure to appear in the time slot for the new "Melrose Place," which will be condemned for lack of viewer interest.

FOX."The Cleveland Show" and other animated series have already gotten 2010-11 pickups. "Glee" and "House" will be back, along with "Bones.""Fringe" is likely to continue.

The big questions are whether "Lie to Me," currently on hiatus, will return, and whether Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) gets another day on the increasingly unwatchable "24."NBC. With so many holes in its schedule (thank you, "The Jay Leno Show"!), NBC seems best positioned to renew a raft of low-rated series, which could include "Mercy" and "Community.""Trauma,"though less likely, also could have a shot."Chuck," "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" seem likely to be back.

"Heroes" is also on the bubble, and although its cast members think it will return, it does not deserve that favor.

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