Bubble Watch Special: "Leave Bill Alone & Watch Robert Eat His 'Fringe' Crow" Edition

Categories: Broadcast TV,Bubble Watch

Written By

April 26th, 2012

I could say “See, Fringe did get canceled (after 13 more episodes)!”  While that’s technically true, it’s outside of the spirit of Bubble Watch (and Renew/Cancel Index) predictions which forecast whether shows will be renewed for the following season.

I could also say had I seen @MaskedScheduler’s tweet earlier this month predicting better than a 50-50 chance, I would’ve at least upgraded Fringe to the Bubble.  That too is true, and since Bill is always needling me that you need to call bank shots in advance, I did at least get it on the record a couple of days in advance of the renewal announcement!

But the fact is I was wrong.  All season long.  I don’t view it as the biggest mistake I’ve ever made – Dollhouse’s season two renewal still stands as the worst mistake because I predicted certain cancellation for Dollhouse, and with Fringe only likely cancellation.

Where I had Fringe as a likely cancellation practically the whole season, Bill had Fringe on the bubble (or as a toss-up in Renew/Cancel Index parlance)  all season long and so no matter the outcome, he could rightfully claim “No big surprise” since when you say “it could go either way” whichever way it goes can’t be surprising.

Anyway, please refrain from bashing Bill for my prediction!  Bash me for the prediction all you want though. I was wrong and I will eat my crow with only a little salt and maybe a dash of mustard to mask the gamey taste. It’s kind of funny to see people equate a prediction with a rooting interest, though that shouldn't surprise me at this point. Millions more people saw Barry Melrose predict the Washington Capitals would lose game 7 to the Boston Bruins last night than saw me predict Fringe would be canceled, and I’m sure he had way, way more harsh tweets from Capitals fans than “Haha, suck it @TVbytheNumbers!”

He wasn’t rooting against the Capitals though, he was just making a prediction.  Similarly, I wasn’t rooting for Fringe to be canceled, just making the incorrect prediction that it would be. But I was wrong and if you can’t wait until next week when I’ll retake the @TVbytheNumbers reins, you can go ahead and send your “ahahhaha suck it” to @Seidman (or post below in the comments.)

Trust me, I wasn’t rooting for Fringe to be canceled. And not just because I’ve watched every episode, but because as a web publisher, it’s better for us if it’s renewed.  Though it would’ve been a little better still for us if it had been renewed without announcing it as a final season i.e., there wasn’t nearly the interest in Chuck ratings in its final season as in previous seasons.

If  you want to harass Bill for constantly antagonizing crazy fans, that’s fair game. But spare him the grief over incorrectly predicting Fringe would be canceled at the end of this season.  That’s all on me.

The regular weekly Bubble Watch will be posted sometime Sunday morning (Pacific Time.)

  • joethehobo

    Robert predicted ‘likely cancellation’ and it truly was likely of cancellation. He made a judgment based on the information he was given and I still think his reasoning was more sound than Bill’s- Bill just happened to be right. While I think this was a mistake by Fox, I’m happy for the Fringe fans who got their show renewed.

  • jl

    So Robert, as a fan, did you do a little happy dance too, or are you too dignified for such frivolity?

  • Lane

    All Tv shows > Fringe

  • cimmer

    It’s not your fault, you were simply expecting Fox to act like the Big Three and Fox often acts more like a cable channel than a Broadcast Channel. I think it’s part of their upstart image, they like to play it a little outlaw, makes them seem more hip. lol

  • skyroom80

    While resigned to its cancellation, I am a Fringe fan who’s very happy to see it renewed. Partly because … the 2036 episode was beyond brilliant and I hope to see Henry Ian Cusick reprise his rebel agent/scientist role. As long as Olivia is also part of it.

    Also …someone really needs to get Desmond out of that amber!!! :-D

  • Survivor Fan

    I have never watched Fringe, but this is very interesting news.

    By the way, is Fringe the first scripted Big Four program to drop to an 0.9 and still be renewed?

  • Tessa

    Look at it this way. When next season, after the 13 episodes air and Fringe goes out with a whimper (much like Chuck did,) you can say you at least had a better swan song in mind for it.

  • TV Gord

    Tessa, Chuck was the same damn show every week, so that’s why it went out with a whimper. You can’t say that about Fringe.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “If you want to harass Bill for constantly antagonizing crazy fans, that’s fair game.”

    Antagonizing crazy fans will proceed as usual. ;)

  • marsinvestigations1

    Just economics. 100+ is a stronger sell for syndication than 88 (in terms of getting a better price per episode, etc). The show does well on DVD/Blu-ray, etc. I’m sure WB made it attractive for FOX.

  • Al
  • Dennis

    oh I am so very happy.

    That is all

  • Marko DaKing

    ah, Dollhouse! best show ever, right next to Fringe…

  • KS

    @Bill and Robert

    I guess you are sad to hear Fringe’s renewal, because of two reasons. One, you have predicted that it would be cancelled on your bubble watch and didn’t give a good status on R/C index. Two, Fox has given Fringe an early renewal and this is gonna affect the traffic of your site enormously.

    All you can wait for is CW to prolong its renewals. So, that site traffic would be intact.

  • Hugh

    Gents, I’m glad one of you had it as “likely cancelled”.
    The numbers alone justified it.

  • Ewaut

    I really still don’t understand why it has been renewed, what the real influence for the decision was. We’ll probably never really know. I sure know your prediction was the fairest of’m all, it’s the craziest renewal of the year.

    Love the show though (please don’t bash me *protects face with arms*)

  • Justin121

    OMG where was I?

    this is almost as exciting as last year. Heck even more.

    Congrats to the Fringe fans and all low rated shows with passionate fanbases :D

    I’m not telling you to eat crow ’cause it was perfectly reasonable to predict toss-up to likely cancelaation.

    This is an instant where the distinction between “likely” and “certain” doom predictioons would’ve caused a lot of crow-eating :D

    That said I think your site would’ve tripled its page viewes had THH Index predicted cancellation.

  • jasterisk

    It’s funny that I know this only may play a small part, but since I have been coming to tvbythenumbers and running an f.y.e. that those shows that have smaller ratings but are up for a possibility of renewal always get some kind of special renewal when their DVD sales are better than most. This especially has applied to shows like Heroes, Fringe, and Chuck. Both Chuck and Fringe did well for us in their season leading up to their final year announcements. However, Heroes plummeted it’s final year and was eventually cancelled. Maybe somehow this too, predicts the outcome of a series (I know it helps make up for cutting syndication fees but to me is still a funny indicator). It’s why I thought that Fringe would indeed get one more season. Community is another one of those shows that is on that bubble that sells well. So I think that will probably get renewed. Cougartown on the other is not and probably will not (I hope that it does).

  • Justin121

    @Bill Gorman (or @Rober Seidman),

    In another thread I suggested that, in addition to the magic 88 episodes every show needs, serilized shows also need final seasons now. I hope you take that into consideration or write an article about it.

    Helpful tip: it started with Lost. After that, networks and studios reaized that it’s in their best interest to bill a “final season” to most long-running serilized dramas.

    2010: LOST.
    2010 in-season: 24.
    2011: Smallvile.
    2012: Desperate Housewives, One Tree Hill, Chuck.
    2012 in-season: House.
    2013: Fringe.

    I seriously think the Lost phenomenon changed the way networks and studios look at syndication requirments for dramas by seeing the additional benifits an announced final season does to: ratings stability, syndication value and DVD sales.

    Note it’s a spectrum that goes from most- to least-heavily serilized dramas. No CBS shows and FOX only did in-season announcments until Fringe.

  • MattG

    @Justin: That would leave the writers of a show too much power over the renewal. Often there would be an option to bring an easy to an end (or many shows keep that option in mind).

    As for the prediction: Based on how FOX usually behaves… it made sense to assume it. Technically you were not wrong. It was likely to be cancelled (but that doesn’t mean certain).

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