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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  • Percysowner

    I think that the drop off of BATB’s ratings proves one thing and one thing only, that a show needs a really strong pilot to get them out the gate and then it needs to follow that up with 2-4 compelling episodes. BATB had good premier numbers. It dropped sharply in week 2, continued to drop and then stabilized at .7 in the demo. Many people are willing to sample a show, but to hold them, the pilot needs to pull them in. Arrow did that, Supernatural did that, TVD did that. BATB apparently did not. Fans are saying it has improved and perhaps it has (don’t watch it can’t say) but once you have lost a large percentage of the viewing audience it’s hard to get them back.

    For the record there are other factors other than a good pilot at work for a hit. The Last Resort got rave reviews for the Pilot, but for whatever reason did not manage to get a great debut, the same goes for Nashville. In any case, a strong pilot is one of the largest factors in whether a show will take off or not, IMHO.

  • billy mac

    is nbc really so desparate that parks and rec with 3 million viewers is likely renewal ? every show that will be renewed on usa have more viewers , that is a joke .

  • Nick

    I am not a retentionista, but it does matter. At least a little.

    Getting 50% retention does not make Beauty certain to be cancelled. But if, say, Emily Owens was getting similar numbers behind Hart of Dixie, that would be 100% retention. If it came down to those two, Emily would be the one renewed and Beauty cancelled, because they had similar ratings but Emily had better retention.
    That’s the exact same thing that happened last year with Secret Circle and Dixie. One week, TSC got a 0.5 out of 1.0 (50%), and HOD got a 0.6 out of a 0.4 (150%!!!!!). The choice was clear there.
    Bad retention itself will not kill B&TB, but if one of the midseason shows does the same and has better retention, its getting renewed.

  • Nick

    ^I meant “it’s not getting renewed” in the last sentence, sorry.

  • RS

    From the picture above, which one is the beast? They look like twins. I’ve posted elsewhere why I think Beauty and the Male Model needs to die. And I’ve watched and loved every Beauty and the Beast incarnation from George C. Scott to Robby Benson to beloved Vincent (Ron Perlman) in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy romance. “Where is the beast? No, really. Is he hiding behind the male model?” Only on the CW, where a pimple is cause for calling someone a beast. As one reviewer put it, “If we believed the CW was that intelligent, we’d think it a wonderful bit of irony.”

    And in my opinion (I shouldn’t have to say this because it is obviously just my opinion) Supernatural’s “Bitten” was The Worst Episode Ever. I have a conspiracy theory that Robert Singer wanted to take that title away from his wife’s Route 666, so he commissioned the newbie writer, Robbie Thompson, to write that atrocity. And I did so adore you last year, Mr. Thompson.

  • omabin

    I agree with almost all of your list. Just two remarks:
    – hart of dixie would be likely renewal for me. It is not on the same stage as the other cw bubble shows i think, either if we go by ratings or if we go by syndication closeness
    – neighbours is a bubble show (i have never watched, so no hating… just looking at the ratings and the potential to go down they have, which bubble watch approach should account for)

    I would also argue that middle and suburgatory should be certain rather than likely but I guess you want to have them in a different category than modern family, so it does not matter

  • Dan S

    @ billy mac, regarding the number of viewers for P&R bear in mind it’s the overall 18-49 demo advertisers look at not how many people are watching. I personally think it’s antiquated but that’s a whole different topic. Also it’s closing in on enough episodes to sell in syndication so that boosts the prospects for P&R seeing another season.

  • Glen

    Moe, I sort of agree, The Neighbors is a harmless (but pretty mindless) little show and is holding on to enough audience out of The Middle to hang in there. Still, I keep thinking it is the type of show that should be on ABC Family network, not ABC.

  • Tom

    “OK now I understand why people have this kind of need of beating up B&TB is because you believe TSC can return…”

    No one with any realistic perspective believes TSC is getting resurrected. What set a lot of TSC fans off was the other junk programming that the CW renewed. A few hundred thousand people may watch B&B and so you can always find someone defending it. However, they’re a miniscule portion of the network audience. Personally, I believe that the main characters come across as completely ridiculous. But, regardless of what I believe, don’t try and dismiss criticism of B&B as being motivated by disgruntled TSC fans when the vast majority of viewers during that time period are watching some other network.

  • ann

    Happy about Grimm, Raising Hope and TVD. I do hope Chicago Fire can hold up the rest of this season and be renewed for s2. I watched TSC because of Gale Harold but I wasn’t bitter that it was cancelled. However, I do believe B&TB will suffer the same fate come May.

  • glover


    I see a lot of people mocking the Beast of the show like you did but if you have watched the pilot you would know that the guy turns into a beast made of CGI when he’s nervous or angry because of a militar experiment or something like that.

  • GoAWay

    Batb have Better international sales than TSC,and less expensive to produce.
    TSC fans just please let it go and move on w your life.

  • Thomas Marlowe

    Thanks @Ultima ! :) Good news.

  • Dahne

    @Tom – “But, regardless of what I believe, don’t try and dismiss criticism of B&B as being motivated by disgruntled TSC fans when the vast majority of viewers during that time period are watching some other network.”

    This argument doesn’t work when talking about the CW. The simple fact is that even with Vampire Diaries, the CW’s number one show, “the vast majority of viewers during that time period are watching some other network.” That’s like saying water is wet.

  • Bill Gorman

    “OK now I understand why people have this kind of need of beating up B&TB is because you believe TSC can return…”

    I don’t think that’s it either, but you’ve given me an idea for a poll for this week’s CW Renew / Cancel post:

    I’m a disgruntled The Secret Circle fan and I hate Beauty & The Beast because:

    – If BATB fails, TSC looks “better” for having failed too!
    – TSC’s timeslot is cursed, every show that airs there must fail!
    – The CW screwed over TSC & its fans, so now all their shows must fail!
    – The voices in my head keep telling me that BATB must fail!

  • Dahne

    @glover – I have watched a few Beauty and the Beast episodes and I still think it’s a copout that the beast is usually in the guise of a very handsome man. It’s, for lack of a better term, CWfying a traditional tale in which one of the most endearing and important qualities is that the man she falls in love with is physically unattractive and yet she falls in love with him anyway. This version completely negates the whole point of the original story and is more in line with the former CW theory that only beautiful people should be focused on.

  • Dahne

    @RS – I like your Bitten theory. It’s the only thing that makes sense for the story to go beyond the brainstorming ideas stage. I too think Bitten was one of the 10 worst episodes in Supernatural’s history, probably in the top 5.

  • Anthony C

    @Bill Gorman

    I think most will go with the 3rd option…lol! I think the CW will be hearing the cries and bitter resentment from disgruntled TSC fans until either they bring it back or the CW folds. I’m going with the latter.

  • Oliver

    I think networks are too reluctant to rework bad pilots. AP

  • Oliver

    I’ll try again…

    I think networks are too reluctant to rework weak pilots. The extra expense needs to be traded off with improving a show’s chances of success. If you’re pouring millions into promotion, why not also improve a deeply flawed pilot?

    For example, Animal Practice had an awful pilot which likely ensured the show was DOA, despite future episodes supposedly being much better. If they liked the premise, why didn’t they rework it? It’s particularly strange as they reshot the damn thing anyway because they replaced the lead actress.

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