LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- NBC is in negotiations to bring back five series: "Chuck," "Law & Order," "Medium," "My Name Is Earl" and "Parks & Recreation."
Not so lucky: "Kath & Kim," "Knight Rider" and "Life," all of which are presumed dead.
As for the renewals, "Parks" and "Medium" are said to be the closest to done deals and could be announced during the Peacock's "infront" presentation tomorrow. The rest likely won't be finalized until the traditional "upfront" week (May 18-21).
At issue in each case: license fees and episode counts. In what is quickly becoming a standard tug of war between networks and studios, the former is pushing to lower the cost involved with licensing series while the latter is balking at a reduced back end as the result of 13-18 episode commitments instead of the standard 22. Studios traditionally produce series at a deficit, meaning they operate at a loss out of the gate. They in turn bank on its long-term success - most initial licensing agreements have the network paying more and more for a show with each passing year - not to mention its syndication and DVD sales, to cover the remaining costs.
Said issue is especially apparent for mid-tier offerings like "Earl" and "Chuck": NBC doesn't want to pay through the nose for so-so rated series while 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros. Television, respectively, don't want to eat even more of the production cost, especially with increasingly diminished returns from syndication and DVD.
"Earl," for example, earned a modest $600,000-$700,000 per episode from the syndication market, while "Chuck's" prospects of doing the same are slim at best.