Bubble Watch: Nielsen Conspiracies Buy 'Alcatraz' Extra Time on the Bubble & 'Supernatural' Fans Don't Suck!

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

February 19th, 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 for 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.

No changes this week, but the regular Tuesday Renew/Cancel reports are going on vacation this week so I’ll be posting special “by network” versions of Bubble Watch on Tuesday and I’d look for changes then. As most of you know broadcast ratings took a hit at least Monday-Thursday leaving many wondering why, and others pointing a finger at Nielsen.  Though we’ll probably never be able to exactly quantify them for the most part I think there are reasonable explanations that don’t involve any problems at Nielsen or any conspiracies. Conspiracy theorists will probably never be able to quantify the conspiracies either. Or maybe they will!

So Alcatraz gets a couple of extra day on the Bubble in honor of Nielsen conspiracies, Fan Excuse Bingo and President’s Day. It’s fun to blame Honest Abe’s real birthday for last week’s broadcast ratings woes! Crazy as hell, but fun!

I’ve been taking flack in the comments for weeks because I’ve got Supernatural on the bubble rather than likely (or certain) to be renewed. Based on relative ratings for the CW alone, it is certain to be renewed but my hypothesis (which certainly could be proved wrong) is that things are so bad at the CW that relative ratings are dicey. To some degree it’s like the 2011 Chicago Cubs who finished 20 games under .500 (71-91) looking at their division’s cellar-dwellers, the Houston Astros (who finished a whopping 50 games under .500 with a record of 56 wins and 106 losses) and thinking “Hey, we’re pretty good!”

But there are some reasonable complaints about that approach which include:

  • Coward! This way whatever happens you can say you’re right!!
  • Too cautious!
  • Unimaginative!
  • Boring!
  • You’re wrong, Supernatural is a likely renewal!

Then there are the people who write 10 paragraph angry missives. Among the criticisms there:

  • It’s so unfair!  (me saying “I don’t know” is unfair?)
  • Like Dawn Ostroff before you, you are demeaning a show I love! (I love Supernatural too, and Dawn Ostroff… renewed the show to its seventh season. So demeaning!)
  • You’re saying the methodology your site uses doesn’t work! (not exactly, I’m saying ratings at CW are generally so bad I’m worried it won’t work well in the case of the CW).
  • You’re just baiting the Supernatural fans for more traffic!

So this week I am baiting Supernatural fans for traffic. But not the previous weeks. The only opportunity to bait fans for clicks is in a post’s headline. If you put something in the actual post that sticks in the craw of fans, only the people who were going to read the post anyway will see it. But having seen such comments for weeks now, I figured I’d go ahead and live up to that complaint.

To paraphrase the Mamas & The Papas: broke, busted, disgusted, internet commenters can’t be trusted.  But lest anyone think I’m ragging on the comments and the commenters, I’m not! Besides, many of our commenters are great. I’ll single one out, commenter “Tom” who has been commenting on the site for years. He’s rational and reasonable, he doesn’t think about things from the vantage point of a disgruntled fan and he’s open to different points of view. He’s also very thoughtful. On top of that, he coined the phrase “schedule spackle” or at least I first saw it used by Tom and I’ve since co-opted it and used it regularly.  Commenters like Tom make the site better.

And sometimes comments are just plain fun. Hands-down the specific comment I remember the most in 4+ years of this site comes from commenter “groove365.”  When Syfy announced it was developing a cooking show (that ultimately became ‘Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen”) groove365 commented “SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!” which was the perfect comment for the announcement of a cooking show on Syfy.

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
The River ABC Likely 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
Smash 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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