Viewer neglect. It's the leading cause of death among TV series. While publicity hogs 24 and Lost got 21-gun send-offs, sadly a number of shows recently met the Grim Reaper of cancellation largely unremarked.

As Willy Loman's wife insisted in Death of a Salesman, attention must be paid.

So, we offer a few final words for these prime-time foot soldiers.

Henceforth, Heroes will be hard to find. It's always tragic when a promising show peaks early. In the case of NBC's sci-fi Hindenburg, that was about a dozen episodes into its first season in 2006.

Law & Order is the cruelest cut. Couldn't NBC have given it three episodes next fall before taking it off? Then it would have reached the coveted distinction of being the longest-running nighttime drama in TV history. This was like firing a guy the week before his retirement party.

The New Adventures of Old Christine has gone down for the count. You'll never stay on the air with the word Old in your title. Another kiss of death: "Ye Olde."

'Til Death was finally put out of its misery. The atrocious Brad Garrett sitcom was harder to kill than Rasputin. Nobody liked it, but eerily it kept getting renewed. Until now.

Melrose Place fell victim to TV Rule No. 14: Remakes of classic TV shows never succeed. (Memo to the cast of 90210: This is not the time to apply for a mortgage.)

Flash Forward was doomed by TV's newest Rule, No. 267: the Lost curse. It featured Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger (Charlie and Penny on Lost). The castaways are show-killers.

By the way, the two aforementioned rules (Nos. 14 and 267) don't bode well for CBS's forthcoming Hawaii Five-O, a remake featuring Daniel Dae Kim (Jin on Lost).

You may be wondering, how does Flash Forward get the hook while V gets renewed? After all, V is both a remake and it stars Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet on Lost).

Well, the show has a hefty insurance policy. ABC spent so much building that lavish replica of an alien spacecraft that the network is determined to get its money's worth out of it.

I'm willing to bet that after V is inevitably canceled next season, the next medical drama that ABC airs will take place in a hospital that looks a whole lot like the Visitors' mother ship.

Two step. This week, gossip generator TMZ alleged that VH1's Celebrity Rehab offered $500,000 to Liza Minnelli to appear on the detox saga.

You have to wonder how much Lindsay Lohan would fetch. Oops, I forgot the rumors that Celebrity Rehab dangled $1 million under LiLo's button nose.

Talk about rewarding bad behavior. How about Sarah Ferguson? Now how much would you pay?

The curious thing is that an offer from Celebrity Rehab is always immediately followed by a recruitment call from Dancing With the Stars. I think the two shows share the same booker.

The people have spoken. Following the successful campaign on Facebook to get Betty White to host Saturday Night Live, fans on the service are now lobbying for George Takei to appear on the show.

I don't like the idea of SNL hosts' being chosen by popular acclaim. I prefer the traditional method: Choosing an actor with a film that opened in theaters the previous day.

Maiden names. After a vexing hiatus, Jon Stewart returned to The Daily Show this week in fine form.

Talking about the "top kill," BP's recent effort to stop the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Stewart warned viewers not to confuse it with Bravo's reality competition of the same name, a show "hosted by Rebecca Romijn and G. Gordon Liddy. I'm sorry. G. Gordon Liddy Stamos. Does he still use the Stamos? I know she dropped it, but did he drop it as well?"

His voice laden with sad resignation, Stewart concluded, "Everybody drops the Stamos eventually."

Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/ daveondemand.