Bubble Watch: ‘Chuck,’ ‘Fringe’ Still on The Bubble for Now, ‘The Chicago Code’ Too

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When it comes to bubble status, like the Renew/Cancel Index we’re focusing on the likelihood that a show will be renewed for next season (2011-12).  Certain shows are toss-ups where based on the ratings, the renewal decisions could go either way and not be surprising.

New Shows

A few new shows premiered this week.  The Chicago Code premiered on Monday, and I’ve listed it “on the bubble” this week, but I’m not very optimistic that it won’t slide to into “likely to be canceled” territory  very quickly.  Its 2.4 adults 18-49 rating after a fair bit of promotion in the most-watched television show in the U.S. of all time, and after a supercharged House was disappointing.  Consider that it hardly did better than Lie to Me (which is likely to be canceled) did the previous week when it had a 2.2 adults 18-49 rating without any Super Bowl promotion and without a highly-rated episode of House as its lead in.

Traffic Light premiered to a 1.9 rating on Tuesday night and I’ve designated it as likely to be canceled.  For those of you who want to shake your fist in the air and say “you can’t designate it as likely to be canceled after only one data point!”  you’re wrong.  I can!

Mr. Sunshine premiered to a 3.7 adults 18-49 rating on Wednesday and for now I’ve designated it as likely to be renewed.  Sure, it had a series high level Modern Family (5.1 adults 18-49 rating) as its lead-in and sure, it is most likely to go down in the coming weeks.  How far it drops will tell the tale, but for now there is quite a bit of room between it and the bubble.

Things I Thought About Changing But Didn’t

Fourth Friday Fringe Fizzles?

I gave quite a bit of thought to moving Fringe into likely to be canceled territory.  And it was a toss-up decision to keep it on the bubble for another week.  Its 1.4 rating on Friday was down from last week’s 1.6 adults 18-49 rating after a 1.9 rating for each of the first two episodes.  Even if you take Kevin Reilly at his word, the 1.4 rating is lower than the lowest (so far) of Reilly’s utterances. Reilly initially suggested Fringe needed to keep 100% of its Thursday ratings, then lowered it to 90% and then lowered that to 80%.  I agree with Bill that regardless of what Reilly said at 70% of Fox’s scripted average it would be likely to be renewed.   The 1.4 on Friday is well below 70% of Fox’s scripted average and its four week Friday average is below 70% too.

Harry’s Law & Outsourced

Up against full competition on Monday, Harry’s Law slid to a 1.7 adult 18-49 rating.  I’ve left it in the “likely to be renewed” category for now.  I’m definitely not a retentionista, but Harry’s Law has a miserable lead-in (The Cape) and built on it.  Even if it stays down at the 1.7 level, I think it’s still likely to be renewed, but let’s see what happens.

Outsourced slipped to a 1.7 rating on Thursday.  Bill has discussed the difficulties of prognosticating about Outsourced.  I’m leaving it on the bubble for now and perhaps for quite a while.  For all the critical love of Parks & Recreation (and NBC’s devotion to Amy Poehler),  at 9:30p in the fall Outsourced outperformed Parks & Recreation’s recent performance.

The Good Wife

Every week we hear grief about The Good Wife and to be fair, every week I think about ratcheting it up to “likely to be renewed”  But…

It’s CBS lowest-rated non-Friday show excluding shows that have moved to Friday (The Defenders) or will be moving back to Fridays (Blue Bloods).   CBS is likely to cancel two out of the four of The Good Wife, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami and Blue Bloods.  Obviously the older shows are more expensive (though syndication and international could offset some of the extra expense of the CSIs) but, if I had to guess, The Good Wife would perform worse on Friday than any of the other three would.

No matter how it’s spun in the press, unless the ratings change somewhat dramatically by the end of the year for all four shows, these won’t be easy decisions for CBS, and they are not easy to predict.  Will CBS say “We must keep The Good Wife for another season, its critical acclaim offsets the downside of moving it to Friday where its ratings will be hit hard!

The critical acclaim (to be more specific, the cachet of being nominated for and winning awards) certainly can’t hurt The Good Wife, but its ratings don’t help.  And if either or both of Chaos and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior perform well, the decisions about the fall schedule get even tougher.

Note: only scripted shows that have aired at least one episode are in the table below.

Show Network Status
My Generation ABC Already Canceled
The Whole Truth ABC Already Canceled
Medium CBS Already Canceled
Life Unexpected CW Already Canceled
Lone Star Fox Already Canceled
Running Wilde Fox Already Canceled
The Good Guys Fox Already Canceled
Chase NBC Already Canceled
Outlaw NBC Already Canceled
Undercovers NBC Already Canceled
Detroit 1-8-7 ABC Certain To Be Canceled
No Ordinary Family ABC Certain To Be Canceled
The Defenders CBS Certain To Be Canceled
The Cape NBC Certain To Be Canceled
Perfect Couples NBC Certain To Be Canceled
Off The Map ABC Likely To Be Canceled
V ABC Likely To Be Canceled
$#*! My Dad Says CBS Likely To Be Canceled
Human Target Fox Likely To Be Canceled
Lie To Me Fox Likely To Be Canceled
Traffic Light Fox Likely To Be Canceled
The Event NBC Likely To Be Canceled
Better With You ABC On The Bubble
Brothers & Sisters ABC On The Bubble
Blue Bloods CBS On The Bubble
CSI: Miami CBS On The Bubble
CSI: NY CBS On The Bubble
The Good Wife CBS On The Bubble
American Dad* Fox On The Bubble
Bob’s Burgers Fox On The Bubble
Fringe Fox On The Bubble
The Chicago Code Fox On The Bubble
Chuck NBC On The Bubble
Community NBC On The Bubble
Law & Order: Los Angeles NBC On The Bubble
Outsourced NBC On The Bubble
Mr. Sunshine ABC Likely To Be Renewed
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Likely To Be Renewed
Rules of Engagement CBS Likely To Be Renewed
90210′ CW Likely To Be Renewed
Gossip Girl CW Likely To Be Renewed
Hellcats CW Likely To Be Renewed
Nikita CW Likely To Be Renewed
One Tree Hill CW Likely To Be Renewed
Harry’s Law NBC Likely To Be Renewed
Parenthood NBC Likely To Be Renewed
Parks & Recreation NBC Likely To Be Renewed
Desperate Housewives ABC Certain To Be Renewed
Criminal Minds CBS Certain To Be Renewed
CSI CBS Certain To Be Renewed
How I Met Your Mother CBS Certain To Be Renewed
Mike & Molly CBS Certain To Be Renewed
NCIS: Los Angeles CBS Certain To Be Renewed
The Mentalist CBS Certain To Be Renewed
Supernatural CW Certain To Be Renewed
Vampire Diaries CW Certain To Be Renewed
Bones Fox Certain To Be Renewed
Family Guy Fox Certain To Be Renewed
House Fox Certain To Be Renewed
Law & Order: SVU NBC Certain To Be Renewed
The Office NBC Certain To Be Renewed
Castle ABC Already Renewed
Cougar Town ABC Already Renewed
Grey’s Anatomy ABC Already Renewed
Modern Family ABC Already Renewed
Private Practice ABC Already Renewed
The Middle ABC Already Renewed
NCIS CBS Already Renewed
The Big Bang Theory CBS Already Renewed
Two and a Half Men CBS Already Renewed
Glee Fox Already Renewed
Raising Hope Fox Already Renewed
The Cleveland Show Fox Already Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Already Renewed
30 Rock NBC Already Renewed
Smallville CW Final Season

*Though I’ve seen no official confirmation as far as renewal for next season for ‘American Dad’ it will have enough episodes left to air some next season whether it’s renewed or not.  At this point nothing would surprise me much, including flipping ‘Bobs Burgers’ to the Sunday 7:30p timeslot and moving ‘American Dad’ back in the primary lineup.

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