Ever since October, Susan Dey has been saying this was her last season on "L.A. Law."

And events on the show the past couple of weeks have seemed to open the door wide for the exit of her character, Grace Van Owen.But now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that we may see more of Dey when the series returns for its sixth season in the fall.

The Times quotes David E. Kelley, the show's executive producer, as saying that Dey is currently in negotiations about continuing with the show. "It's not a conclusion she's leaving," he said. "We're hopeful she may come back."

As far as we know, Harry Hamlin is still set to make his exit when the curtain rings down on the current run of episodes. And Jimmy Smits might come back for a few episodes but won't be back as a regular.

Not to mention the fact that Kelly himself is leaving, but he will remain with the show as a consultant.HERE WE GO AGAIN: It's been wonderful - not to mention surprising - lately to have so many new episodes of "L.A. Law."

But, alas, it couldn't last. Reruns are scheduled tonight and next week.

But there is hope. The May sweeps are just around the corner.GOOD RATINGS NEWS: The return of "Northern Exposure" was a hit in the ratings on Monday night.

The series won its time slot and led among most of the demographics networks and advertisers covet. The 13.9 rating and 24 share was "Exposure's" highest numbers ever, not to mention the best CBS has done with a series on Mondays at 9 this season.

If the show can keep this up, it will be around for a while.THEY'LL BE BACK: ABC has renewed most of its half-hour comedies for the fall - "America's Funniest Home Videos," "America's Funniest People," "Coach," "Doogie Howser, M.D.," "Family Matters," "Full House," "Growing Pains," "Perfect Strangers," "Roseanne," "Who's the Boss?" and "The Wonder Years."

Conspicuous by their absence on this renewal list are "Anything But Love," "Davis Rules," "Married People" and "Baby Talk." The first three are almost certainly goners; "Baby," unfortunately, might well be back in the fall.

ABC also hasn't made any commitments to its drama series - "Equal Justice," "Gabriel's Fire," "MacGyver," "thirtysomething," "Father Dowling Mysteries," "Young Riders," "Life Goes On" and "Twin Peaks."

None of these shows are an absolute lock for renewal - and several are on very shaky ground - but the best bets to return are "thirty-something," "Dowling" and "Life."