'The Unit,' 'Earl,' 'Medium' canceled

'Earl' could have second life on Fox or ABC

Belt-tightening broadcasters continue to take hard-line stances against older, modestly performing shows.

CBS has canceled long-running military action-drama "The Unit," veteran crime drama "Without a Trace" and NBC is putting an end to Thursday night comedy mainstay "My Name Is Earl" and thriller "Medium." The moves come after late-in-the-game saves for relatively new fan favorites like NBC's "Chuck" and Fox's "Dollhouse."

There's some potential silver lining -- "Medium" producer CBS TV Studios is close to setting the show on CBS, while "Earl" studio 20th TV is talking to Fox and ABC about one of the networks possibly picking up the comedy.

In the wake of the cancellation by NBC, CBS Studios issued a statement blasting the network about its decision and the way it was handled.

ABC in particular has been receptive to picking up rival shows, having taken "Scrubs" after NBC canceled the series last year and committing to take on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" should CBS cancel the series (The eye network ultimately opted to renew the comedy).

Both "Earl" and "The Unit" ran four seasons; "Medium" for five; "Trace" for seven. "Earl" averaged 4.5 million viewers and a 1.7 adult demo rating this season; "The Unit" pulled 9.6 million viewers and a 2.4 rating; "Medium" had 7.2 million viewers and a 2.2 rating.