WHY SHE’S A KEEPER:For starters, show boss Ryan Murphy just recently proclaimed, “Anybody who was a regular is coming back” for Season 4 — if not necessarily for all 22 episodes. And storyline-wise, there was that smoldering smoocherooni she shared with onetime baby daddy Noah Puckerman….
BUT IF SHE IS A GONER….: With Quinn and her magically healing body off to Yale, we can’t really see the show juggling a narrative split between three cities (including Lima and Rachel in the Big Apple).
Christa B. Allen, Revenge
WHY SHE’S A KEEPER: Um… Because she’s a living, breathing reminder of Victoria’s affair with the late David Clarke…? (Sorry, that’s all we’ve got.)
BUT IF SHE IS A GONER….: Show boss Mike Kelley did tell us that at least one person died in the season finale, though we may not yet realize it. The photo above would kinda say it all, no?
Jessica Capshaw, Grey’s Anatomy
WHY SHE’S A KEEPER: Because she’s one of the few Seattle Gracers to walk around with a sunny disposition amid so much Sturm und Drang. And coming off a rather inconsequential season for her and wife Callie, is that really how you would abruptly end things between them? Uh, no.
BUT IF SHE IS A GONER….: We’d probably learn in the season opener that in addition to ill-fated Lexie, fellow plane crash victim Arizona did not survive the wait for rescue or trip home — and then we’d sit back and witness Emmy-caliber work from Sara Ramirez.
Chevy Chase, Community
WHY HE’S A KEEPER: Following a sophomore season that made Pierce Hawthorne quite unlikeable, Season 3 dialed down the negativity (some) and even left him opening a sandwich shop with Shirley. (Aww, that’s nice.) Plus, with Dan Harmon out as showrunner, Chase — if only Chase — should be a happier camper.
BUT IF HE IS A GONER….: For one, that’d be some irony there. As for why Pierce would disappear now… maybe he goes to help newfound half-brother Gilbert run the family biz?
Tim Daly, Private Practice
WHY HE’S A KEEPER: Perhaps the show’s darkest and edgiest character, we are compelled by his latest predicament, in which he’s been jailed for compassionately ending the life of a patient kept alive by machines. Or “murdering” the guy, depending on who you listen to. Plus, we really want to see him and Violet make their marriage work again.
BUT IF HE IS A GONER….: Private Practice wouldn’t be faulted for cutting overhead as it enters its abbreviated, 13-episode Season 6. But worst case, Daly appears here and there for the purpose of prison visits from Pete’s lady love, though he doesn’t vanish completely.
WHY HE’S A KEEPER: We’ve enjoyed seeing “McSteamy” evolve into Derek’s bro (of sorts), Jackson’s multi-purpose mentor and Callie’s baby daddy. Plus, why controversially kill off Lexie if the man who loved her isn’t around to mourn the loss?
BUT IF HE IS A GONER….: Mark looked pretty worse for the wear in the wake of the plane crash. In fact, for a moment there we feared that two major characters had been snuffed. Perhaps it turns out that he didn’t survive the long wait for rescue and/or trip home?
Taye Diggs, Private Practice
WHY HE’S A KEEPER: We’d hate to see any original cast members walk off into the Santa Monica sunset just yet — especially Sam, who always seems to see happiness elude his grasp.
BUT IF HE IS A GONER….: Fact is, Private Practice was riding that renewal bubble, and with a 13-episode order for next season, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the budget (read: head count) trimmed in the process. So, storylinewise, if Addison were to snub Sam’s marriage proposal, who could blame the fella for cutting his losses and getting out of Dodge?
Cory Monteith, Glee
WHY HE’S A KEEPER:Stop us if you heard this before, but show boss Ryan Murphy recently proclaimed, “Anybody who was a regular is coming back” for Season 4 — if not necessarily for all 22 episodes. Besides, you’d milk much personal drama for NYC-based Rachel if her One True Love is located a good 7,000 miles away in, say, hinky Afghanistan.
BUT IF HE IS A GONER….: War isn’t pretty.
Grace Park, Hawaii Five-0
WHY SHE’S A KEEPER: Kono is part of the original Five-0 task force, she’s Chin Ho’s cousin and she’s pretty badass (as well as just plain ol’ pretty).
BUT IF SHE IS A GONER….: The Season 2 finale sure left the law woman in dire straights, all tied up and sinking ever deeper into the Pacific. Plus, Michelle Borth’s Catherine Rollins is now a regular, and the producers did say that tragedy would make Chin Ho a changed man come Season 3. Maybe Malia isn’t the great loss he suffers as result of that season-ending Sophie’s Choice?
Amber Riley, Glee
WHY SHE’S A KEEPER: Though Riley seemed to Tweet her Glee days goodbye last month, Ryan Murphy countered that her words were not only “misconstrued” but that the actress/singer is in fact “excited about where her character is going” in Season 4. And as much as we love Ivy League schools, if we had to check in on someone not living in Lima or NYC, we’d rather it be Mercedes-the-L.A.-based backup singer.
BUT IF SHE IS A GONER….: For one, nobody will ever question Riley’s tweets again.
Mark Salling, Glee
WHY HE’S A KEEPER: No, it’s true — Ryan Murphy recently said, “Anybody who was a regular is coming back” for (at least some of) Season 4.
BUT IF HE IS A GONER….: Frankly, with Quinn off to college and Finn enlisting with Uncle Sam, we have to wonder what stories are left to tell with Puck. Does he become the local tough-guy sage a la Fonzie? (Does Breadstix have a jukebox?)
Catherine Tate, The Office
WHY SHE’S A KEEPER: After receiving a somewhat tepid welcome as boss lady Nellie, by season’s end we liked her, we really liked her, as she formed bonds with the likes of Pam and Darryl. But wouldn’t you know it, she had to go and “do the right thing” and give Andy his job back.
BUT IF SHE IS A GONER….: Maybe that secret adoption she had in the works came through, and she sets off to start a life away from Scranton?
Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray and Pauley Perrette, NCIS
WHY THEY’RE KEEPERS: Because when you have TV’s far-and-away most-watched drama series for umpty-ump years running, you do not mess with the formula. You just don’t.
BUT IF ANY OF THEM IS A GONER…: That season-ending explosion sure makes it easy to account for any reduction in head count due to creative decisions and/or one of the above’s inability to ink a new contract for Season 10.
Tristan Wilds, 90210
WHY HE’S A KEEPER: Dixon is part of the CW sudser’s DNA, as one half of the brother-sister relationship that was once at its core.
BUT IF HE IS A GONER….: Did you see that season finale car accident? Ouch. Seems it’d be easy enough to write out someone who is not directly tied to what has in recent years become The Naomi Show.