He’s done it again! Escape artist CHUCK, which has successfully cheated cancellation for the past two years, will be coming back to fight again next season. I hear a deal is being finalized for a 13-episode order to the NBC spy dramedy. (The other Warner Bros.-produced, yet-to-be-renewed NBC series, David E. Kelley’s HARRY’s LAW, has long been considered a good bet to return). It is unclear what CHUCK‘s renewal bodes for NBC’s other big bubble Monday show, LAW & ORDER: LA. After getting a rare second chance with a complete reboot that has largely failed, it is unclear what more NBC can do with the show. But as they say, never bet against Dick Wolf. PARENTHOOD, which has done solid business in its Tuesday 10 PM slot, is expected to return, while THE EVENT is not. Also probably out is comedy OUTSOURCED despite a fan campaign to save the workplace show.

Last year, CBS went for a bloodbath, canceling seven series, including some decent performers like The Ghost Whisperer and The New Adventures of Old Christine. The network, which is yet to find a series that does as well as Ghost Whisperer in the Friday 8 PM slot, is not expected to go for such a dramatic overhaul this year. I hear a deal is almost done for RULES OF ENGAGEMENT to be renewed as CBS seems to be summoning all of its veteran comedies as flagship Two and a Half Men faces an uncertain future. There is even talk about possibly bringing $#*! MY DAD SAYS sans star Jonathan Sadowski. Even long-forgotten legal dramedy THE DEFENDERS is not completely dead. As one insider noted, the show starring Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell did better than any other CBS series in the Friday 8 PM season this season. Things don’t look good for midseason comedy MAD LOVE, though CBS brass loooove Jason Biggs, while CBS’ other midseason entry, crime drama spinoff CRIMINAL MINDS: SUSPECT BEHAVIOR, is at 50/50 as its performances has been largely disappointing given its pedigree. As for CSI: MIAMI and CSI: NY, word is that the entire CSI franchise, a big off-network and international seller, is safe for next season.

At least two of the CW’s three bubble dramas, NIKITA, ONE TREE HILL and HELLCATS, are expected to come back. Freshman NIKITA and veteran ONE TREE HILL, which have stronger ratings, are considered sure bets. Additionally, NIKITA is a big international seller for CW co-owner Warner Bros TV, it has been on a ratings upswing lately, and I hear its meeting pitching next season went well. OTH continues to be solid and may be used to launch a new series, while HELLCATS has been soft in the ratings.

ABC has a lot of bubble shows, but only a couple have a shot at returning next season. Midseason drama BODY OF PROOF and comedy HAPPY ENDINGS seem the most likely to score a renewal, with Body of Proof almost a lock as it has been the highest-rated new ABC drama this season and logged another solid showing last night. Meanwhile, Happy Endings has a lot of support within ABC. We will see this week if the comedy will get a bump from all the publicity surrounding the muted out Osama bin Laden joke last Wednesday. The other two freshman comedies awaiting their fate, BETTER WITH YOU and the Matthew Perry starrer MR. SUNSHINE are considered longer shots, while dramas DETROIT 1-8-7 and NO ORDINARY FAMILY are pretty much dead. As for V, most believe that the alien drama has no chance but it is not 100% dead. But BROTHERS & SISTERS looks good to return for an abbreviated final season.