Thomas says death of show 'exaggerated'

It may take a certain amount of time travel, but “Veronica Mars” could be back on the CW schedule for 2007-08, despite ongoing conventional wisdom suggesting otherwise.

“We’re very much on the bubble,” showrunner Rob Thomas said. “I will say that the reports of our demise have been exaggerated. We are very much in the hunt for a shot next year.

“I think I’ve read in every paper across the country — USA Today declared us dead, the L.A. Times declared us dead. I don’t think we’re dead; I kind of like our chances.”

Expected to combine with fellow female-skewing drama “Gilmore Girls” to be a lynchpin for the first-year network, “Veronica” has battled disappointing ratings (and even some weakness in its habitually stout support from critics) throughout its third season.

In its return from hiatus May 1, “Veronica” averaged 2.35 million viewers and retained 62% of its 18-34 lead-in from “Gilmore Girls” (1.3 vs. 2.1) — down from its CW premiere in October, when it drew 3.37 million viewers and held 77% of its 18-34 lead-in from “Gilmore” (1.7 vs. 2.2).

The recent announcement that “Gilmore” will be gone for good after this season fed pessimistic projections for “Veronica,” but Thomas wasn’t folding his tent yet, and was even prepared to take a bold step into the future.

“We pitched them two different versions of the show,” he said. “One with Veronica continuing in year two of college, and one in which we fast-forward four years and she’s an FBI agent. I don’t know which version they might order.”

Reps from the CW and Warner Bros, which co-produces the show, declined to comment. The CW is scheduled to make its presentation at the upfronts in New York on May 17, which means that word on the fate of “Veronica” will come within a week.

“We tend to know a day or two early so we can put (series lead) Kristen Bell on a plane and get her out there,” Thomas said.

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