Scott Brown
September 26, 2006 AT 06:08 PM EDT

Hiatus: It’s the kinder, gentler cancellation. It is the undiscovered country, from whose bourn few TV shows return. It is where Fox’s Happy Hour has gone. It’s where Fox’s Justice is going. Is it the shape of things to come?

Both Happy Hour (starring Lex Medlin and John Sloan, pictured) and Justice were about 35 percent off their pilot numbers, but the ratings gloom is hardly restricted to Murdochland. Across the tube-iverse, the outlook is the same: No breakout hits. Sure, there are plenty more frosh hopefuls still-to-matriculate (the promising-looking Heroes, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock), but you can bet that last week saw a lot of network nails chewed down to the second knuckle. There’s no glimmer of the next Housewives, the next Earl, the next out-of-the-gate contender. (Sorry, Studio 60.)

Fox has the rest of baseball season to figure out how to stop the bleeding, but maybe you can save them (and the other networks) some time: What have you liked so far? What deserves to stay on the air? What’s the next brilliant-but-cancelled series? Who’ll get the first high-profile letter-writing campaign? Who’s most likely to perish, only to get a Family Guy resurrection? And, most important,  where can I buy bootlegs of Costello?

addCredit(“Happy Hour: Justin Lubin”)

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