Renew/Cancel Recap: Who Says Zombies Are Better Than Rogue Submarines and What About 'Castle?'

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

October 21st, 2012

Weekly Recap:

There was some carnage over the past week: NBC's Animal Practice was canceled and ABC announced there would be no more episodes of  Private Practice after the 13 already ordered for this season finish airing.  There was some good news too though, at least if you're a Bob's Burgers fan. Fox ordered 22 more episodes for what it's calling a fourth season. If I did the math right it's the third production cycle for the animated comedy and it will leave at least 13 episodes on the shelf and available to air after the current 2012-13 season.

Back to a "no prediction designations" tablethis week. I realize fans of the Bubble Watch will not be happy about this. Maybe I will make them happier later in the season, maybe not! If you can't stand not having any predictions, you can head on over to the Renew/Cancel Index. There's usually not much disagreement anyway, and certainly not any big disagreements.

Last year the biggest disagreement I had with the Renew/Cancel Index probably involved the CW shows. I was not so sure about The Secret Circle sooner than Bill and liked Heart of Dixie's prospects better. But by the time May rolled around the gap wasn't very big. I gave Hart of Dixie the edge over The Secret Circle, but not a huge edge. Bill went the other way, but by the same small margin.

What About Castle?

This year Bill has already bumped Castle up to likely renewal. If there were designations this week, I'd still have it on the bubble. Castle's ratings haven't been great, or even good for ABC. But, they haven't been heinously awful either and, more importantly, there is already an off-net syndication deal in place with TNT. But, there will be over 100 episodes of Castle available by the end of this season (with the extra episode recently ordered for this season I count 105 episodes at the end of the season) and when I look at Castle's current ratings on ABC and its repeat airings on TNT, I see... a toss-up for renewal.

If Nielsen Won't Validate Your Worldview, Who Will?

On Monday after the ratings for the premiere of The Walking Dead came out, I got this e-mail:

From: Raymond Jenkins
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2012 2:54 PM
To: Robert Seidman
Subject: Proof the Nielsen Ratings Are Wrong!

Good day. Not that I needed more data to support the premise that Nielsen is a flawed and antiquated system, when I consider the ratings for the horrible, awful The Walking Dead vs. the ratings for the tremendous first rate  Last Resort (it's the best show on the air!) there's no other reasonable conclusion than that Nielsen's ratings system is horribly busted. It's not possible that so many more young adults prefer the abomination that is The Walking Dead to the wonderful Last Resort. Andre Braugher rocks!


Raymond Jenkins

My reply:

From: Robert Seidman
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2012 19:36 PM
To: Raymond Jenkins
Subject: Re: Proof the Nielsen Ratings Are Wrong!

But, alas, there are in fact other reasonable conclusions. Here are a few:

  1. Not only is it possible that more people prefer to watch The Walking Dead than Last Resort, more people actually do!
  2. You can't stand that many people don't share your taste in television programming and it drives you a little crazy
  3. Andre Braugher rocks, but zombies rock much harder!

A Quick note on Revolution:

I did want to note that yes, it would certainly have been upgraded to likely renewal had there been designations this week. I was waiting for some signs of stabilization after its first four weeks went: 4.1, 3.4, 3.2, 3.0.  A 3.3 adults 18-49 rating for its fifth episode is a good sign.

Show Network Renewal Status
Private Practice ABC Cancelled/Final Season
666 Park Avenue ABC
Last Resort ABC
Scandal ABC
Neighbors, The ABC
Castle ABC
Nashville ABC
Middle, The ABC
Revenge ABC
Grey's Anatomy ABC
Once Upon a Time ABC
Modern Family ABC
Made in Jersey CBS Cancelled
Partners CBS
Good Wife, The CBS
Mentalist, The CBS
Vegas CBS
Elementary CBS
Criminal Minds CBS
How I Met Your Mother CBS
Two and a Half Men CBS
Hawaii Five-0 CBS
Blue Bloods CBS
Person of Interest CBS
Mike & Molly CBS
2 Broke Girls CBS
Big Bang Theory, The CBS Renewed
Gossip Girl CW Final Season
Hart of Dixie CW
90210 CW
Nikita CW
Beauty and the Beast CW
Arrow CW
Supernatural CW
The Vampire Diaries CW
Fringe FOX Final Season
Mob Doctor, The FOX
Ben & Kate FOX
Mindy Project, The FOX
Bones FOX
Raising Hope FOX
Cleveland Show, The FOX
Glee FOX
New Girl FOX
Bob's Burgers FOX Renewed
American Dad FOX Renewed
Family Guy FOX Renewed
Simpsons, The FOX Renewed
30 Rock NBC Final Season
The Office NBC Final Season
Next Caller NBC Cancelled
Animal Practice NBC Cancelled
Up All Night NBC
Guys with Kids NBC
New Normal, The NBC
Chicago Fire NBC
Law & Order: SVU NBC
Parks & Recreation NBC
Revolution NBC
Parenthood NBC
Grimm NBC
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  • Chris

    If Castle comes back without the DWTS lead-in, or something equivalent, it’s going to lose a ton of viewers, even if the demo doesn’t get much lower than it currently is–and the demo will fall over the course of this season.

  • Ultima

    56 minute NFL overrun on CBS

  • USAmerica1st

    Last Resort is a great show as is Walking Dead, just don’t try eating dinner while watching WD, yuk: blood, brains, and amputation with an axe: double yuk!

  • Dan S

    I don’t think Revolution will need to be dependent on The Voice for long. It has a loyal following & I think it would be a great 9pm tent pole show. I can’t imagine it being pitted against Supernatural on Wed but Tues or Thur if they cutback on comedies. Not a fan of Castle but I’m certain it’ll see another full season beyond this 1. ABC has a lot of holes to fill since their rookie shows are bombing out. I’d say ABC is replacing NBC as the cellar dweller ratings network.

  • Anna Clarkwood

    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM
    @Anna Clarkwood,

    We all know that Rookie shows have a much lesser threshold than even Friday shows in regards to a 2nd season.

    I don’t know that…. Do you have any evidence to support that theory?

    Think about it for a second. 1st year shows have to prove themselves. If they don’t do decently well they won’t get a back order. Even if they get a back order, they have to prove that they don’t sink and can hold a decent rating.

    Friday shows are being used as syndication slots yes but also does have some shows like CSI:NY which is able to stick around for a couple years at least. Or like Fringe which went beyond syndication to even a final short season. A Rookie show getting Fringe’s ratings would not last. Nor would CSI:NY’s rating allow for more than 1 season, heck a 1.2 it would already be cancelled.

    I don’t think any rating (from this latest Fri) save for Shark Tank’s 2.0 is high enough to warrant a 2nd season if it were a Rookie show. Execs know that in general as a show ages the demos only get worse. So, the Rookie shows need a higher demo rating to start off. Friday shows are mostly filler. Not really worth cancelling to replace with something else. Unless you are CBS.

    For Friday, to get a demo of 2.0 is hard, heck even 1.5 is usually near the top, so it’s expected. Whereas, the rest of the week esp for Rookies, 1.5 is dangerously close to cancellation, unless you are NBC. 2 weeks of 1.1 no matter the network for Rookies spells cancellation. Friday they can be @ 1.1-1.3 for the whole season and be just fine.

    Obviously, CW is a different beast in regards to demo esp.

  • Dan

    @Robert – Castle will not be cancelled at the end of this season and here’s why.

    1) ABC has no hit dramas out of the gate this season, Last Resort and 666 look to be done soon and its too early to tell about Nashville but its not looking to good.

    2 ABC has Private Practice ending and their other dramas are on the fence Scandal, Body of Proof

    3) If we are to assume that Grey’s Anatomy, Revenge and OUAT will be the only other dramas definitely renewed, Revenge and OUAT are doing OK in their slots and while Grey’s still does great, realistically how much longer can Grey’s last. ABC can always use Castle in the slot while they wait for more dramas to work.

    4) Even if it loses to the venerable Hawaii 5-0 and NBC’s Voice powered Revolution, it still holds up pretty well and I don’t think ABC is ready to try a new drama in the Monday 10pm slot when Castle clearly works.

    5) ABC owns Castle and 1 more full season = Syndication even if its just reaching 100 episodes in this season.

    All this talk about Castle being on the bubble is likely nonsense. If ABC cant find any dramas that work this season, Castle is getting renewed in May.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    To me, a Revolution drop of a full point from 4.1 to 3.0 and then a tick-up is not a good sign. That tick-up could go away this week and it’s back to 3.0 (or lower). What matters is the trend and the trend is not good. One tick-up does not destroy a trend.

    As for the dude who thinks Last Resort is better than Walking Dead – hey, I agree! But then I’m one of the few geeks who isn’t impressed by zombies. Season two of TWD was a sluggish disaster.

    The problem for the dude is as Robert says: more people disagree with him than agree. And in fact, I disagree because I think Last Resort is not particularly good – although it does has its moments, it has some decent acting, and it could have some potential IF it got past the stupid notion that a rogue nuclear sub would be allowed to exist, launchable nukes or no. That sub could be taken out easily without any warning whatsoever to the crew and therefore no risk of another launch (even if the Captain really intended that which it’s obvious he doesn’t) and there’s absolutely no doubt that whoever is behind the conspiracy would definitely have done so by now. They need to get past that crap, dump the island with its thugs, and move on to the overall conspiracy.

    But they probably won’t. So the show is doomed.

    I think Castle will get one more season for no known reason. HFO will get another season. PoI and Revenge are good for another season. Grimm will get another season. UOAT still doesn’t impress me, but it will get another season.

    Beauty and the Beast is doomed. Arrow will survive if they don’t screw up. Nikita will get one more season no matter how low it goes because the CW wants to syndicate it or get the DVD revenue (if any).

    I mean, look at the CW. They went from teen stroke shows to the new SyFy channel. Everything that’s doing half decently on that network is either vampires, monsters, or superheroes. That’s the future of the CW and they’d better understand that. Dump Hart of Dixie and 90210 and replace it with more superheroes. Become the “DC superhero” channel or something… It can’t be any worse than where they were last year.

  • Percysowner

    @Douglas from Brazil

    I honestly don’t remember the trajectory of Smash, but I thought it dropped faster than Revolution has. I could be wrong. In any case, the history of a time period gives us some information, but is not really predictive. Wednesday at 10:00 killed a bunch of shows and then Revenge was a success. Fridays are considered a death slot for network shows, but Grimm is holding its own there. Lead ins and time slots are factors in a show’s success. But the real factor is having people find the show in the first place and then having people want to watch the show, for whatever reason. It may be that Revolution is only being watched because people are too lazy to turn the channel after The Voice, although it gets a huge increase in DVR viewing which indicates that people are willing to go to the effort of watching it when it doesn’t follow The Voice, as well. If Revolution is a success, it will eventually be one because it keeps viewers coming back. Yes, we will get a better sense of this when it doesn’t follow The Voice, but for now, it is doing better than any other 10:00 show and that means someone is watching and it may have developed its own audience.

  • Nate

    Well, I guess this guarantees Walking Dead will be shut out of Emmy consideration.

    Strike 1: Genre

    Strike 2: High ratings

    Strike 3: Embarrassing the broadcast network’s crapfare in what really matters. Cable shows are to be critically admired, not watched by the masses.

    = No Emmy “promotion” love

  • Percysowner

    @Dan S Although I agree that if Revolution holds its ratings it could be a good tentpole show, I really hope it doesn’t go against Supernatural. One, because I like both shows and don’t want them to duke it out. Two, because I would hate to see Eric Kripke’s two shows going head to head. Three, because I like genre shows and I would like to see them get a chance to make an impact by not pitting them against each other. If Revolution does go head to head with Supernatural I will watch one (probably Supernatural) and DRV and then watch the other immediately after, so I’ll get both. But I would like them to be pitted against shows that are different so they can both keep going.

  • Anna Clarkwood

    Castle has basically the same cast set-up as Law & Order SVU did until Chris Meloni finally left. 2 leads with a few but small other regular cast. Unless, ABC gets more shows with really good demo’s, the cast decides to ask for too much or the cast or the producers want to end the show on their own terms, I see no reason for the show not to go for another 100+ episodes. ABC owns the show so it’s very cost productive. ABC doesn’t have many long term shows out there for Syndication like CBS and even NBC do. I bet ABC wants to be apart of that market. Lastly, a 2.0 10.87mil and 2.2 10.56mil viewers @10PM Mon, the toughest 10PM slot, the past 2 weeks seems like a nice demo for even other times and slots. Talk to me demo wise when we near 1.5. Sure, that might happen in the spring w/o DWTS but who’s to say just how many won’t have DWTS. DWTS by BTW has a 2.1 the past 2 weeks with only 2-3mil more viewers. True, it’s a whole different expense and genre but it gives you an idea. 2.0 and 10+mil is quite good. Not sure why it’s Renew/Cancel Index is .77

  • KJ Styles

    I like The Walking Dead, but I agree with that guy. Last Resort is a much better show. I don’t care what the ratings are.

    Sadly, a second season for LR is unlikely. I hope ABC at least gives it a full 22 episodes. It’s not like anything else they have would draw much higher in that spot against the juggernaut Big Bang Theory.

  • KS

    Revolution has to seriously improve its quality. I have expected a lot from this show, but it didn’t satisfy me. I am supporting this show only for Kripke. Especially the lead is a big turn-off. As of now I would give this show 4 / 10.

    And I strongly believe we will have an idea, by the mid season, where exactly this show stands. Personally I require an entire season to comment on the quality. Right now whatever I or anyone say is debatable.

    And the ratings I think are not going to drop and it would stabilize at 2.5 at the end of the mid-season, but still good for NBC. But it will go for 4 seasons.

  • Bill Gorman

    “Robert and Bill, still on the first page topic of the site making some sort of prediction on the cable shows, don’t you think that at least on basic cable the metric would be similar? And even if it would’t be as efficient as renew/cancel metrics, where you guys have an almost perfect batting average, don’t you think it would be something that would interest viewers? The aforementioned Suits renew took two months, there is no word yet on Leverage or Hell on wheels. That could make for some interesting topics, even if your batting average would drop a little. Best regards, love the site.”

    It’s not that “our batting average would drop a little”, we’d just be guessing. I don’t like guessing. I’ll leave the guessing to the chuckleheads in the rest of the TV media.

    Our method just doesn’t work for cable shows, because cable networks behave differently.

    The most basic reason is that broadcast fills every Sunday-Friday primetime hour with something original, cable does not.

    That means that broadcast *has* to cancel existing shows to make room for new shows. That makes predicting what they’ll do much more systematic. Cable does not have to cancel existing original shows to add new ones. For example, look at how many new shows USA has added in the last few years, while canceling relatively few. There are lots of reasons for that I won’t bother to go into.

    Our prediction method is based on broadcast networks canceling their lower rated shows (with allowances for Friday, and syndication situations, and a few other things).

    Cable networks simply don’t behave that way, because they don’t have to. They don’t cancel all their low rated shows on an annual basis.

  • Just Looking

    I don;t even get why people would try to compare Last Resort with The Walking Dead. The plot for Last Resort is just so implausible (U.S. nukes Pakistan, yeah right!) that it being made into a series is kinda a miracle. Atleast The Walking Dead doesn;t have to jump through a roller coaster to make a plot. Zombies are always better unless you’d rather watch a show about the cross between The Rock (Nicolas Cage) and 50 First Dates.

  • Holly

    @Anna Clarkwood,

    OK, I’m confused. Are you saying that rookie shows can get renewed with lower ratings or not?

    Fridays having a lower threshold is obvious and easy to prove, but the same cannot be said for first year shows.

  • Holly

    @Just Looking,

    Did you just claim that a zombie apocalypse is plausible?

  • Anna Clarkwood


    Rookie shows will most likely not get renewed with low ratings. They may get a back 9. But to get a 2nd season the ratings better not be low. A back 9 usually means a strong start. But if it finishes bad, it’s out.

    Networks would be much more willing to cancel a New show with an .80 rating than a second or 4th year show with an .80 that airs on Friday. (3rd is syndication so probably renew, 5th and up gets into actor salaries etc) Though, the second year .80 would be predicated on outside factors of just the rating aka how are the other shows doing w/n the network, how many veteran series are leaving and the strength of the pilots.

    What do you mean it’s not easy to prove? How many Rookie shows from say just last year are around today? What were their 1st year ratings? What were the first year ratings, esp the last few weeks of all the 1 and done shows from last year? If you or I or anyone actually went through all that it would very easily show that Rookie shows that get a 2nd year did decently well and those that got canceled didn’t. Not sure but Up All Night is probably a special case. Same with Harry’s Law. But NBC was in bad shape and I hear that UAN really worked hard to please the execs and retool their show. And I hear that while Harry’s Law had the viewers they didn’t have the demo esp compared to the competition.

    As far as which as the lower threshold aka % that stick around that is also easy to see. When was the last time you saw a Friday show pulled early on in the season that wasn’t a Rookie show? Whereas every year a number of Rookie shows don’t even make it to Nov sweeps. And, that is just one point of threshold difference. Rookie and Friday of course was a doubly whammy and Dead Man Walking for Made In Jersey.

  • Tyson

    When NBC was airing two cycles a year of The Biggest Loser, there was barely a three-week break between seasons, let alone three months. As previously stated, The Voice was held until February last year in order to get a Super Bowl launch.

    No such option exists for NBC this season. American Idol typically debuts in mid-January. I think The Voice will debut the same week as does American Idol.

    I believe NBC will be emboldened by its strategy of using The Voice to poke holes at X Factor’s ratings. I think NBC will attempt the same plan against American Idol.

  • Dean-W

    Castle will be renewed but it should move to Friday at 9:00PM next season.

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