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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  • TV Gord

    I think networks are being more cautious because of the number of long-running shows they are losing this year. 30 Rock, The Office, Community, Fringe, Gossip Girl, Private Practice. A few others I think are closer to circling the drain that your list indicates (Parks & Rec, Up All Night, CSI:NY, maybe The Mentalist). Combine that with the encroaching cable competition, and I think the networks are realizing they need to restore some confidence in broadcast television.

  • Michael

    @Mi- what’s interesting is WHY Fox didn’t greenlight another drama. Two seasons ago, people predicted that viewers might not want to watch a drama with a con man protagonist in the middle of a recession, and so Fox had Lie to Me waiting just in case Lone Star failed. Many people also predicted Mob Doctor might flop, so why didn’t Fox have another drama waiting just in case?

  • Mi

    @Brandy I read both positive and negative reviews for Cult, but the reviews I read for B&tB were all negative and it was even referred to as the worst pilot of this tv year in some..

  • Mi

    @Michael Fox did consider greenlighting another drama according to deadline back then, so maybe the reason they didn’t is budget, especially after all budget spent on X Factor this season?

  • Michael

    @Joel- I think the problem people have with the Neighbors, (and Park Ave), is the negative depiction of white male-black female relationships:

  • TV Gord

    The reason I don’t like The Neighbors is because it’s a silly premise and it is not executed well. It’s not good enough for ABC’s Wednesday night comedy lineup (neither is Suburgatory, in my opinion). The Neighbors reminds me of Cavemen from five years ago (and will probably last as long).

  • iowegian

    Haters hating The Neighbors will only make it even sweeter when this funny show is renewed.

  • Brandy

    Mi, also If you look at SC,Ringer,Hellcats,Nikita pilot ratings, Beauty premiered similarly-1.2-1.4& over 3 million viewers, so at least to me,unless it debuted low(like Emily Owens) or went below 0.7 before the first five episodes aired,it was always going to get a full season,especially with Top Model ending its season and having to fill an hour on fri as well as after or before Cults 13 episode having to fill an hour there too.Critcs reviews don’t mean much to a shows sucsess, look at Lone Star, Critcs loved it but it had low ratings so it was cancelled after 2 episodes., I did hear negative critc reviewed for Beauty,but I really like it, and I dont need or want someone who dosent know me telling me what to watch or what I’ll like.

  • Dan

    Cult will replace Beauty and the beast by March and BATB will likely move to 9 on Fridays following Nikita or 9pm Tuesday if Emily Owens gets cancelled

  • Mi

    @Dan that would be the wisest schedule, I hope the CW don’t keep wasting TVD’s lead-in on B&tB. A good show, if Cult or the show they premiere there next year is good idk, can keep TVD’s lead-in and do good in this timeslot imo.

  • Don’t Trust the B

    In Don’t Trust the B’s case. If it does get cancelled, do networks usually let the show finish their season before taking it off or is that it?

  • Jazmin

    OK now I understand why people have this kind of need of beating up B&TB is because you believe TSC can return, well I don’t think so, but let’s be fair you can like or not the show, but being a CW show its numbers are not that bad compered with the rest of the shows, let’s wait, if it’s so disgusting that a show after the leader on numbers to the network can’t retain not even 50% of the audience maybe Carrie’s Diaries or Cult can take its place and B&TB could be moved to monday or tuesday and end of the drama, my point is that I see no need of destroying something that is the job of other people, like I said before, I think many shows are vomit but I respect other people preferences, and I never offend any of them, maybe we should try to be a little more tolerant and understand that not everyone has the same taste.

  • CrimTV


    According to one of the show’s stars via twitter, Cult is premiering in January 2013

  • Brandy

    Mi other examples of Critcs reviews not determining a shows fate is Nashville,- heavily promoted and hyped,Critcs loved it but is has middling ratings.Or Emily Owens, NPR called it “the best new fall show on broadcast tv”,yet it has low ratings.

  • FacePalm


    “Haters hating The Neighbors will only make it even sweeter when this funny show is renewed.”

    Sounds like you’re only interested in feeling superior for watching rubbish TV.

  • Leondre

    The Neighbors is pulling similar ratings to Better with You and if it falls hard in the spring then….

  • glover

    I think B&B ratings looks better than TSC’s looked last year. B&B is doing way better than 60% of the network while TSC was only topping GG, HoD and Nikita by its 5th week. And TSC really disapointed its audience. B&B at least have a chance to keep its viewers if the writers aren’t dumb.

  • iowegian

    FacePalm: It’s the haters like you that have the superiority complex. You are projecting.

  • JulieDawn

    I’m actually really hoping BATB stablises at or around the current ratings, as I’m starting to enjoy it more each week (of course I’d love the ratings to go up but I know that’s asking a bit much lol!)

  • Tom

    No, there aren’t massively less cancellations this year, but it is part of a long-term trend. And it all follows from one fundamental theory:

    Network margins are getting squeezed.

    What are the results?
    1) Networks order less spackle and “double-dip” by scheduling more of it in Friday delayed-start mode.
    2) Networks are slower to cancel shows with finished episodes in the can.
    3) Networks are slower to cancel shows with international sales.

    The end result is what we are seeing: for all but the most abject failures on the most successful networks, “no backorder” is the new “cancellation and production halted”. It is simply not worth tossing a finished episode AND paying for the replacement to cover one airing*.

    *It’s worth pointing out here how (to the best of my knowledge) the ad market works. Ads are divided into two categories: upfront sales and the scatter market.
    At the upfront, networks make promises on their new and existing shows. Fox will ‘promise’ Mob Doctor will get, say, a 1.8 average, and set their price based on that. If that show’s rating does not match the promised average, the network has to air the commercial a second time (I believe on a show that actually hits the promised average), which is known as a makegood.
    Then there is the scatter market, which is simply the ad spots that haven’t been sold yet. The trick here is that the rates are dynamic – so a hit like, say, Revolution, will today have scatter ad rates much higher than the upfront rates (which, given NBC’s past history, may not have even been promised a 2.0).

    What’s the complication? It means that to consider replacing a show, you also have to keep in mind the promised upfront rating, the cost of the spackle, and the likely rating of the spackle.

    So if Fox promised a 1.8 for Mob Doctor, replaced it with Touch, and Touch itself didn’t hit 1.8, Fox would still have to air makegoods. Yes, the scatter ad rates on Touch would be higher than Mob Doctor, but not necessarily higher enough to cover the cost of two shows (the Mob Doctor already finished but not aired and the Touch that did air in the slot).

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