Bubble Watch: A Departing 'House' Probably Won't Help 'Terra Nova,' But Will A Falling 'Alcatraz?'

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

February 12th, 2012

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** (2012-13).  Certain shows are toss-ups where based on the ratings, the renewal decisions could go either way and not be surprising.

Here, “canceled” is used interchangeably with “won’t be renewed with next season” and is not meant to imply a show will be yanked off the schedule in the current season though obviously the two outcomes are not mutually exclusive. The semantics police and lawyers should feel free to break out the handcuffs and plead their cases in the comments. Besides, no matter what anyone at ABC says, reasonable people know with certainty that Pan Am isn't coming back next season.

This Isn't The Renew/Cancel Index

Though the basic methodology is the same (intra-network relative ranking of shows by adults 18-49 ),unlike the Renew/Cancel Index which predicts what would happen if the season ended now, Bubble Watch prognosticates about what will happen by May. The two are still usually closely aligned, and almost certainly very closely aligned towards the end of the season.

Several changes from two weeks ago, so many I probably will miss a couple here:

  • The Firm, now banished to Saturday burn off is canceled.
  • House now “final season.”  Its final episode airs 5/21
  • Hart of Dixie and Ringer moved from the bubble to likely cancellation
  • In the list that didn’t get published last week (I figured it was better for us to promote the Super Bowl and Post Super Bowl show polls) I’d already moved Bones back up to likely renewal (mostly due to The Finder flailing), and with House’s final season set, that seems even more likely.
  • CSI: NY pushed back up to the bubble.
  • The Good Wife and Rob pushed down to the bubble
  • Person of Interest upgraded to certain renewal

Alcatraz Still on the Bubble, Terra Nova Too

Taking a week off definitely has its advantages. I’d upgraded Alcatraz to likely renewal, but didn’t publish the updated list. Then came the first full Monday of sweeps and it fell back half a point with adults 18-49. In the 2.8 range, Alcatraz was a lock for renewal. In the 2.3 range, not so much. Was last week just a blip? We’ll see.

House’s departure at the end of the season is definitely not bad news for Fox’s shows on the bubble. It could clear a path for a bubble show to survive, or it could clear space for another new show or two new comedies. There are cases where it makes plenty of sense to renew bubble shows, mostly to shepherd shows along to get to enough episodes for syndication. But that doesn’t make as much sense with first season shows with mediocre ratings, particularly for new shows with only 13 episodes in their first seasons (which is the case for both Terra Nova and Alcatraz).

Unlike Terra Nova, Alcatraz at least still has some opportunity to improve (of course, it also has the opportunity to keep falling).  No news isn’t necessarily good news for Terra Nova, but with long production lead times necessary for Terra Nova, Fox needs to make a decision very soon. The good news is we won’t have to wait until May to find out about Terra Nova’s fate. I’ll be surprised if we get to March without some announcement about Terra Nova.

CBS, A Relative Wealth of Riches, But…

Just because CBS has it good doesn’t mean they won’t be cancelling any shows. Of course it will and though Unforgettable and A Gifted Man are going to get cancelled, it’ll be a surprise if those are the only shows that are canceled (and if the forthcoming NYC 22 gets canned, it’ll be a surprise if those are the only three shows canceled).

Bill has a great discussion on “what happens if CBS introduces another hour of comedy next season."  If it does, that’s at least a little bit better news for ‘Rob’ and ‘Rules’ but it could mean CBS will have to cancel more dramas than normal or get creative with its scheduling. I’m not qualified to prognosticate on pilot season, but unless CBS hates its comedy pilots I’d be more surprised than not if CBS doesn’t add an extra hour of comedy.

With all that in mind I changed the fates of CSI: NY, The Good Wife and Rob to on the bubble.  As with last season, I will be surprised if CBS renews all three CSIs and with that thinking CSI: NY is the odd man out. But at this point its numbers are so close to Blue Bloods’ that it seems a little wacky to have CSI: NY as a likely cancellation and Blue Bloods as a likely renewal which had been the case on Bubble Watch previously (and a little wackier still in the Renew/Cancel Index where CSI: NY is a likely cancellation and Blue Bloods is a certain renewal.

Rob isn’t doing poorly, but if CBS doesn’t add another comedy block it will almost certainly want to try another comedy post Big Bang Theory to see if it can do even better.

I’d previously maintained The Good Wife as a likely renewal under the theory that CBS was in for a penny and in for a pound as far as shepherding it to enough episodes for syndication.  But here we are late in its third season and it still has no syndication deal.  Under normal circumstances its ratings would = likely (or even certain) cancellation. But throw in proximity to syndication and some Emmys and it’s not going to fall lower than “on the bubble.”

Other stuff:

  • There’s a case to be made that both  Last Man Standing and Up All Night could be on the bubble, but for now I’m holding off.
  • Crazed Supernatural fans (not all fans are crazed, I’m a big Supernatural fan too) are constantly irked that I have it on the bubble. Please don’t be irked. Its ratings say renew, and it’s only age of series and general mayhem at CW that have me being (perhaps overly) cautious. While I generally discount the positive comments from stars, producers and the CW’s entertainment chief, given CW’s general state and the shows age, I’m simply not sure what will happen. If you’re sure, that’s fine with me! Again, the relative ratings say “renew.”

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


Show Network Status
Charlie's Angels ABC Canceled
Man Up ABC Canceled
Pan Am ABC Canceled
Work It ABC Canceled
How To Be a Gentleman CBS Canceled
Allen Gregory Fox Canceled
The Firm NBC Canceled
Free Agents NBC Canceled
Prime Suspect NBC Canceled
The Playboy Club NBC Canceled
Body of Proof ABC Certain Cancellation
A Gifted Man CBS Certain Cancellation
Harry's Law NBC Certain Cancellation
Unforgettable CBS Likely Cancellation
Hart of Dixie CW Likely Cancellation
Ringer CW Likely Cancellation
Fringe Fox Likely Cancellation
I Hate My Teenage Daughter Fox Likely Cancellation
The Finder Fox Likely Cancellation
Are You There, Chelsea? NBC Likely Cancellation
Whitney NBC Likely Cancellation
Private Practice ABC On The Bubble
CSI: NY CBS On The Bubble
The Good Wife CBS On The Bubble
Rob CBS On The Bubble
Rules of Engagement CBS On The Bubble
90210' CW On The Bubble
Gossip Girl CW On The Bubble
Nikita CW On The Bubble
Supernatural CW On The Bubble
The Secret Circle CW On The Bubble
Alcatraz Fox On The Bubble
Napoleon Dynamite Fox On The Bubble
Raising Hope Fox On The Bubble
Terra Nova Fox On The Bubble
Touch Fox On The Bubble
Community NBC On The Bubble
Castle ABC Likely Renewal
Happy Endings ABC Likely Renewal
Last Man Standing ABC Likely Renewal
Revenge ABC Likely Renewal
Suburgatory ABC Likely Renewal
Blue Bloods CBS Likely Renewal
CSI CBS Likely Renewal
CSI: Miami CBS Likely Renewal
The Mentalist CBS Likely Renewal
Bones Fox Likely Renewal
30 Rock NBC Likely Renewal
Parks & Recreation NBC Likely Renewal
Up All Night NBC Likely Renewal
Grey's Anatomy ABC Certain Renewal
Modern Family ABC Certain Renewal
Once Upon a Time ABC Certain Renewal
The Middle ABC Certain Renewal
2 Broke Girls CBS Certain Renewal
Criminal Minds CBS Certain Renewal
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Certain Renewal
Mike & Molly CBS Certain Renewal
NCIS CBS Certain Renewal
NCIS: Los Angeles CBS Certain Renewal
Person of Interest CBS Certain Renewal
Two and a Half Men CBS Certain Renewal
Vampire Diaries CW Certain Renewal
Glee Fox Certain Renewal
New Girl Fox Certain Renewal
Grimm NBC Certain Renewal
Law & Order: SVU NBC Certain Renewal
Parenthood NBC Certain Renewal
The Office NBC Certain Renewal
How I Met Your Mother CBS Renewed
The Big Bang Theory CBS Renewed
American Dad Fox Renewed
Family Guy Fox Renewed
The Cleveland Show Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Desperate Housewives ABC Final Season
One Tree Hill CW Final Season
House Fox Final Season
Chuck NBC Final Season
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