Bubble Watch Season Finale: On 'Fringe,' 'Chuck,' and 'V' One More Time

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May 14th, 2011

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.

 

This Isn't The Renew/Cancel Index

Though the methodology is the same, unlike the Renew/Cancel Index which predicts what would happen if the season ended now, Bubble Watch seeks to prognosticate on what will happen by May.  The two are still usually fairly closely aligned, particularly as we near the end of the season.


With NBC's fall schedule likely to be announced tomorrow (Sunday), the season finale of the Bubble Watch gets the Saturday burn off treatment!

Old Dogs, New Tricks

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and generally I agree with them. But there's no shortage of cliches here: once bitten, twice (three, maybe four) times shy; fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...

Sadly for "V" fans our methodology worked perfectly and I think the methodology was fine for Chuck and Fringe as well, but with a big fat caveat about data interpretation.

A few weeks ago commenter Tom noted that he wasn't really surprised by Fringe's renewal because it is rare where a series that is renewed for a third season doesn't get renewed for a fourth.  I agree that it sure seems to be the case that no matter how lucrative or paltry a show's syndication prospects are, if it's within 22 episodes of 88 episodes, the studio will bend over backwards, including going very low on the licensing price to make it to 88 episodes.

So there will be one adjustment for me next year, and I'd guess for Bill too.  Regardless of the number a seasons a show has*, if at the end of the current season a show is within 22 episodes of 88** total episodes (and especially if it is within 13 episodes of 88 episodes) and regardless of the ratings, my prognostication won't be any worse than on the bubble, and I'd guess a toss-up for renewal in the Renew/Cancel Index.

Regardless of the ratings***, look for Cougar Town and Community to be listed as no worse than on the bubble in Bubble Watch and a toss-up in the Renew/Cancel Index. Same for The Good Wife if it's renewed.

*Episodes are more important than seasons in this rule. Chuck was already in its fourth season, so it's not about the number a seasons a show has under its belt but how close it is to 88 episodes.

**What's so magical about 88 episodes? The prevailing Hollywood mindset is that 88 episodes is the minimum number of episodes necessary to be able to "strip" a show in syndication, i.e., run it Monday-Friday at the same time.  All shows, regardless of number of episodes can be sold into syndication, but shows that can be stripped can command higher per-episode pricing.  The magic number for being able to strip a show in syndication used to be "100" but at least for the last few years it has been 88.

***Sure, if Cougar Town has a 0.5 adults 18-49 rating I'm still going to predict it's likely to be canceled, but if it has a 1.5 rating, even if that's way below ABC's average, I won't be listing it as any worse than on the bubble for renewal.

Other Notes:

This will be the final "Bubble Watch" post of the season, though I will do a final post updating the table below with the as yet undecided outcomes at CBS and the CW.

I'm guessing Breaking In is actually canceled, but there is some "is it, or isn't it" floating out there so I've left it at merely "likely to be canceled" here. I believe when Fox's fall schedule is announced on Monday, Breaking In won't be anywhere on it, and that it won't be mentioned as a mid-season replacement either.  Fox has rejiggered the show's schedule next week to see how it will do without the American Idol lead-in and it's easy to predict that it won't do well, but either way, the results of that experiment will come after Fox has already announced its schedule.

For months I had Brothers & Sisters as likely to be canceled, and then, swayed by rumors, I upgraded it all the way to likely to be renewed. Since it's already beyond 88 episodes, none of that thinking applied and I should've stuck with the ratings based predictions!

Despite a couple of swings and misses, Bubble Watch has been renewed!  Look for it to return in the fall. It's been a fun season, thanks!

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