Renew-Cancel Recap/Bubble Watch: Why Are There So Few Cancellations This Year & Is 'Beauty & the Beast' This Year's 'Secret Circle?'

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

November 11th, 2012

Here we are, more than a third of the way into November and only two shows have been cancelled so far. I've gotten a few questions about why that is.

Meet This Year: Pretty Much The Same As Last Year and the Year Before!

It's true that the past two seasons by this time of year twice as many shows had been canceled. But that's one of those stats that sounds good in a press release (50% Fewer Cancellations!) but doesn't mean much of anything because the absolute numbers are so small. The past two seasons four shows had already been canceled by now. That only two are cancelled so far this season isn't really a deviation from the norm.  I've seen some suggest that it has been aided by NBC airing The Voice instead of scripted shows, but, nope, that's not it. Last year at this time were four hours of The Sing Off and The Biggest Loser on NBC Mondays and Tuesdays.

Me, I'd just blame it on normal variances, but if you absolutely have to have a culprit you can try "the debates and election" which caused slightly fewer airings of normal programming this season and/or weak bench strength at the networks.

Is Beauty and the Beast This Year's The Secret Circle?

While it's too soon for me to declare that's the case, on the heels of Beauty and the Beast getting a full-season pickup it's pretty clear it's not too soon for fans of The Secret Circle to be disgruntled!

I'm generally not a retentionista when it comes to predicting renewals. But in the case of the CW I made an exception to that rule last year because CW had one decent ratings performer (The Vampire Diaries) and a bunch of (for the CW) middling-to-bad ratings performers. The Secret Circle was a middling performer for the CW, despite having the best lead-in it could possibly have and because of the overall bleakness of the CW ratings landscape, I figured that was a case where retention would (and it seems, did) actually matter.

In one sense things are not so bleak for the CW this season.  They now have two decent performers (Arrow and The Vampire Diaries) and by moving Supernatural to Wednesdays to pair with Arrow, one pretty good performer.

If things continue on the same path, I'd guess that indeed, Beauty and the Beast is this year's The Secret Circle. Surely CW would like to find something to pair with The Vampire Diaries that performs about as well as Supernatural did out of Arrow last week where Supernatural held 77% of Arrow's 1.3 adults 18-49 rating.

Beauty and the Beast held less than 50% of The Vampire Diaries 1.5 adults 18-49 rating on Thursday.

But Beauty and the Beast has the gift of time. It seems unlikely it will improve, but it at least has that opportunity. It could also improve its lot simply by standing still while the rest of the CW crumbles around it.

My guess is that Beauty and the Beast is well on its way to becoming this season's The Secret Circle, but it will likely stay on the bubble a while.

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** (2013-14).  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. 

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.

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

Show Network Status
Made in Jersey CBS Canceled
Animal Practice NBC Canceled
666 Park Avenue ABC Certain Cancellation
Last Resort ABC Certain Cancellation
Partners CBS Certain Cancellation
Emily Owens, M.D. CW Certain Cancellation
The Mob Doctor Fox Certain Cancellation
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 ABC Likely Cancellation
Vegas CBS Likely Cancellation
Ben and Kate Fox Likely Cancellation
Guys with Kids NBC Likely Cancellation
Up All Night NBC Likely Cancellation
Happy Endings ABC On The Bubble
Last Man Standing ABC Too Soon
Malibu Country ABC Too Soon
Nashville ABC On The Bubble
Scandal ABC On The Bubble
CSI: NY CBS On The Bubble
The Good Wife CBS On The Bubble
The Mentalist CBS On The Bubble
90210 CW On The Bubble
Beauty and the Beast CW On The Bubble
Hart of Dixie CW On The Bubble
Nikita CW On The Bubble
The Mindy Project Fox On The Bubble
Chicago Fire NBC On The Bubble
Castle ABC Likely Renewal
Neighbors, The ABC Likely Renewal
Suburgatory ABC Likely Renewal
The Middle ABC Likely Renewal
CSI CBS Likely Renewal
Elementary CBS Likely Renewal
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Likely Renewal
How I Met Your Mother CBS Likely Renewal
Two and a Half Men CBS Likely Renewal
Bones Fox Likely Renewal
The Cleveland Show Fox Likely Renewal
Law & Order: SVU NBC Likely Renewal
Parks & Recreation NBC Likely Renewal
The New Normal NBC Likely Renewal
Grey's Anatomy ABC Certain Renewal
Modern Family ABC Certain Renewal
Once Upon a Time ABC Certain Renewal
Revenge ABC Certain Renewal
2 Broke Girls CBS Certain Renewal
Blue Bloods CBS Certain Renewal
Criminal Minds CBS Certain Renewal
Mike & Molly CBS Certain Renewal
NCIS CBS Certain Renewal
NCIS: Los Angeles CBS Certain Renewal
Person of Interest CBS Certain Renewal
Arrow CW Certain Renewal
Supernatural CW Certain Renewal
The Vampire Diaries CW Certain Renewal
Glee Fox Certain Renewal
New Girl Fox Certain Renewal
Raising Hope Fox Certain Renewal
Go On NBC Certain Renewal
Grimm NBC Certain Renewal
Parenthood NBC Certain Renewal
Revolution NBC Certain Renewal
The Big Bang Theory CBS Renewed
American Dad Fox Renewed
Bob's Burgers Fox Renewed
Family Guy Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Private Practice ABC Canceled/Final Season
Gossip Girl CW Final Season
Fringe Fox Final Season
30 Rock NBC Final Season
The Office NBC Final Season
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  • Anthony

    I am not so sure about the Neighbors being likely renewal. Sure it’s ratings are not outlandishly bad (nor are they great) but it is following a similar ratings path as Better With You which was cancelled. My guess is that Neighbors will be cancelled and Suburgatory will be moved back to 8:30 next season (and a new show will launch out of Modern Family since Suburgatory hasn’t lit the world on fire in that slot).

  • Italian viewer

    Hi, I’m An Italian viewer like, well, you could guess from my name!
    Maybe I’m just asking something stupid, but bear with me: is there anything that an international viewer can do to contribute to the renewal of a show? It’s quite frustratig being here watching a show and just knowing that what you think and like just doesn’t mean a thing…


    P.S. Sorry for my English…

  • hoki

    I still don’t get HIMYM and TAAHM as only ‘likely renewal’.

  • AprilFox

    I like The Neighbors, it’s corny and funny. Better than Guys with Kids.
    I liked The Secret Circle last year and I really like Beauty and the Beast. Arrow is awesome, well acted, written and directed. 666 Park Avenue, is a huge disappointment and I adore Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams but they can’t even save this show.

  • Tessa

    Is the Supernatural vs. BatB retention argument really fair? Supernatural is a veteran show with an iron forged fanbase that gives it a solid core viewership no matter where it goes. Part of its retention from Arrow is because of that. As some were debating in the CW Renew/Cancel thread those two shows prop each other up. Arrow by being a ratings hit and providing a good lead-in for Supernatural. Supernatural by bringing in a fanbase who is likely to show up early to watch both shows. Also Arrow is a freshman show so chances its viewers will stay and watch the next show are big.

    In the case of TVT/BatB, BatB is the new show. It has no fanbase and no guarantee that those who watch TVT stay after to watch it instead of going off to post their “feels” on twitter and tumblr. Unlike SPN it can’t deliver a bad episode (like SPN did two weeks ago,) and suffer a ratings dip that week alone because fans forgave it and are back for the rest of the story. If it slips up it stays down. So I’m not sure we could use the same measuring stick we use for Arrow/SPN for TVD/BatB.

    Personally I want all 4 shows to succeed. I don’t watch TVT or BatB, but I want the CW to at least have a few good performers so my favorite shows (Arrow and SPN) have a stable home.

  • Tom

    @ Robert Thanks for keeping the Secret Circle “controversy” going. I’ve already spent too much time picking the corpse of that late,lamented show on this site with other fans to no particular end. So, thanks for starting what should be another round of that futility.

    The difference between TSC and B&B is clear: TSC began reasonably well by CW standards and slowly declined until its ratings were somewhat below those B&B. In other words, TSC declined while B&B never took off. I believe that the “mystical” theme of TSC may have initially kept TVD watching but that retention factor didn’t last. In contrast, there’s no subject matter link between TVD and B&B that would cause TVD fans to stay tuned in. So, I fail to see how retention is a factor there.

    What’s also apparent is that B&B was virtually destined to stagnate. That was evident from its previews. Currently, the CW is infested by this type of second rate programming, yet the network continues to embrace it. That’s what rankles a lot of us TSC fans. If nothing else, TSC at least had the prospect of an interesting new story arc ahead. By instead renewing a bunch of lower rated shows and greenlighting obvious failures like B&B and EO, the CW slammed the door on the prospect that TSC still had potential. So, my unsolicited advice to B&B fans (such as they are) is not to become too attached. This show too shall pass.

  • Holly

    @Italian viewer,

    is there anything that an international viewer can do to contribute to the renewal of a show?

    No. American shows live or die almost entirely on their US numbers and US syndication.

  • Tessa

    @Italian viewer

    First, your English is great. Never apologize for it.

    Second, the only thing I can think of an international viewer could do is to buy a show’s DVDs once they come out. It’s wildly believed that’s the reason behind Gossip Girl and Nikita’s survival despite their horrible ratings. A small network like the CW just might take that into account when thinking about renewing or cancelling two shows with equal ratings.

  • Duncey

    Unless you actually see the international numbers for B&B you can’t compare the two shows.

    Ratings don’t mean anything on The CW. Get access to those numbers this February and you’ll get your answer. I knew TSC was gone as soon as I saw it towards the bottom for international sales.

  • Ricky

    @Tessa: Whoa whoa whoa. I hope you’re not badmouthing the SPN ep “Bitten.” That one was awesome! If it’s “Blood Brother” you’re hating on, that’s okay. That one was a bit lousy, especially in comparison to “Bitten.”

    @All TSC Fans: According to this post: Chiller is going to start airing TSC reruns this Tuesday. Perhaps it’s in preparation for a series return…is it not too late for me to try it out?

  • danny94

    I really think the middle should be certian renewal, its still pulling in great figeres and unless it plummets in the spring there is absolutly no question about its renewal

  • FlorianN

    Hum.. Suburgatory is certain to be renewed by May, 2013. Revolution isn’t (hello, we’re in November !). By the way, if Suburgatory is (it certainly will be), it will also be renewed for a 4th season (syndication).

  • The French Guy

    I’m French and I don’t understand why the US Renewal/Cancelation decisions are based on the percentage of Adults 18-49 watching the Shows. I think demo is a little random, isn’t it ? I mean a Show can get a 3.0 and the next week falling to a 2.5.
    Thanks for your answers and sorry for my bad English :)

  • ToXiX


    HIMYM may not return due to the cast.

    Same with Two And a Half Men.

    Both of their ratings suggest certain renewal otherwise.

  • tjw

    I would say the lack of cancellations is normal variance + election + late start + Hurricane Sandy.

    The season started a week later this year, so with that and the other factors most Monday shows have aired three fewer episodes than last year. NBC Tuesday is four episodes behind (late start, debate, Hurricane Sandy coverage, election night), and all Wednesday and Thursday shows are all two episodes behind.

    What we’ve seen so far is the first wave of cancellations, but we haven’t seen the second wave yet because of the above preemptions. Last year, Charlie’s Angels was canceled after 7 episodes, Prime Suspect was pulled after 11, Pan Am got pulled for sweeps after 8 episodes, and Man Up was canceled after 8 episodes. This year, we just haven’t gotten any shows to that second level, yet. Partners and The Mob Doctor have only aired 5 episodes, Last Resort just 6.

    Then throw in the fact that ratings are down across the board and the threshold for cancellation goes down, too.

  • KS


    Unlike SPN it can’t deliver a bad episode (like SPN did two weeks ago,) and suffer a ratings dip that week alone because fans forgave it and are back for the rest of the story.
    I think you are referring to Bitten and you are wrong in this Case. Arrow got 1.0 for its 3rd episode and hence Supernatural got 0.7. The 0.3 drop is usual, not exclusive to that episode and the proof for that is half hour ratings of episode Southern Comfort. Even they fell 2 tenths and lost even more viewers than “Bitten” did in the half hours.

    That being said, I can’t really believe in these numbers because Nielsen sampling size is low and hence we never know the real opinion.


    Agree with you dude. There’s nothing supernatural in Blood Brother episode except the fact that the pirates are vampires. It was really boring but that vampire character is good. On the other hand, Bitten is good, if not great.

  • Brandy

    I hope Beauty isn’t this years SC cause I love it.90210 will Likley get a final shortened season.Nikita could go either way-I read that WB has a deal where shows in third season can get syndicated and Nikita producers have a three season plan I’ve heard & the ratings are abysmal.If Hart stays steady and Beauty,Cult,Carries fall below it,it has a shot at renwal.Im glad to see Once,VD,2broke girls are certain renewals .I hope it’s not between Hart and Beauty for the last renwal cause I love both.Im sad Emily Owens isn’t rating better cause it’s decent/good.

  • WoWza

    You need to wait until DATA this week for Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project before you are so sure Ben and Kate deserves likely cancellation.

  • Ultima

    You need to wait until DATA this week for Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project before you are so sure Ben and Kate deserves likely cancellation.

    Ben & Kate is FOX’s lowest rated comedy; another week of ratings isn’t going to change that.

  • Mi

    “Beauty And The Beast held just 50% of The Vampire Diaries 1.4 adults 18-49 rating on Thursday.”

    Please note TVD was adjusted up to 1.5 last week, and B&tB held less than half both this past week and the previous 2 weeks.

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