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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  • jessica

    @ Robert
    You forget the one big thing that is different between The Secret Circle and Beauty & The Beast – who is making it. TSC is an Outerbanks/Alloy/CBS show distributed by WB show filmed in Canada. B&TB is a Take5/CBS show filmed in Canada. Being a CA-US joint production makes B&TB less of a fincial burden for CBS. With all of the Canadians in the show i am surprised more people haven’t noticed. The pilot was made by CBS alone but ep 2 onward has been “A CBS/Take 5 Co-Production”. But who reads the end credits :)


    Not one show has worked behind Vampire Diaries.
    The 3 shows you mentioned are all male oriented shows. So maybe CW green lights more of those shows, since all of there female shows are falling apart.

  • tws1978

    Secret Circle had a great potential but killed it with a terrrible execution. They had 4 hot girls as leads, magic, mystery, enough conflict for a several seasons. They could turn it into PLL with magic, with the girls working TOGETHER against whatever is the season bad, instead the show immediatelly split into 2 parts where the non-chemistry Twilight-like lead duo consumed 80 percent of airtime and all available plot. And it got worse when the producers got an unexplicable hard-on for Chris Zilka and his bland acting so he became the central part of everything. Damon he was not.

    Anyway, the show deserved cancelation but CW will have a very hard time to find show as compatible to follow VD. It has to be similar thematically so it attract the same audience but it has also have certain something, so people are interested in it enough to not immediatelly abandon their TV sets to go all OMG and WTF on internet as soon as the episode ends. It´s the same problem ABCF has with Pretty Little Liars and it´s good they realized it and let Lying Games live even when the retention was poor as well. CW needs a similar kind of show for that airslot. BaTB would work much better if aired after Arrow, because it´s somewhat procedural as well and the audience seems to be more adult.

    Of course, it would fun if CW went all FU on the retentionists and put Carrie Diaries after VD.

  • Nathaniel M.

    I don’t think Beauty And The Beast is this year’s The Secret Circle…
    I mean the ratings may be similar , but I doubt it would be treated as last year, since the situation is a whole different between last year and now.
    Last year, the uncertainty is between Hart of Dixie, Nikita and The Secret Circle, which in the last few month, Hart of Dixie were growing week by week and Nikita got the rating on “Friday”.
    However, in this year, with the ratings of “90210” and Nikita get even lower rating, Emily Owen is a goner, and the 2 new shows have not yet premiere, which leave Beauty And The Beast 1 of the 5 show is in uncertainty of renewal or cancelled, so I would say even the rating drop in its last few month, no way it will be the same situation as “overall got the highest rating but the only show got cancelled” unless the rating of 90210 or Nikita grow and in this case it is impossible, so if Beauty And The Beast is gone this year, I really don’t think both “90210” and Nikita could still get renewal as same as last year Hart of Dixie and Nikita.

  • Josh

    I for one find Guys With Kids to be hilarious. And I haven’t read all the comments so maybe someone already brought it up, but isn’t The Neighbors similar to 3rd Rock From The Sun (John Lithgow, Kristen Johnson, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) except for in The Neighbors it’s a whole community of aliens living among us?

  • Josh

    I don’t remember there being controversy with that show in fact I believe it ran for 6 seasons. And there was definitely inter-alien sex, Don (Wayne Knight) and the alien Sally (Kristen Johnson). As well as Dick (John Lithgow) who was an alien in a human body and Jane Curtain.

  • Grace

    I am going to start calling Hawaii 50 , “syndicated crap “. The show is awful and the acting is terrible. The only way this show can get decent numbers is if it has a huge lead in and NO competition.CBS made a big mistake putting Alex O’Loughlin there, he is the worst actor in Television.So many great American actors and they put that guy there, sigh.Great way to kill a show CBS.

  • Joe

    Right now Two And a Half Man is second highest rated show on CBS So Its Certain Renewal Yes I am familiar with casts hefty salaries but they still make alot of money
    250 k per episode and its in top 10

  • Nick

    @ Mark

    Beauty and the Beast” is a show with mediocre actors who can not act above the protagonists. is just delete B & B. The CW Network should be more ambitious and quality deleting the shows that go under the 1.0 / Numbers are numbers!

    If the CW “deleted” every show that ever went under 1.0, they would have 2 shows (TVD and Arrow) to fill 10 hours of television time. Not gonna happen.

  • Nick


    The difference is that 3rd Rock was a watchable show. The Neighbors seems like it was made for 6-year-olds.

  • Nikki

    I dont think its fair compairing TSC with Beauty TSC was a better show. Beauty is awful from start to finish. The acting, the wrting the whole show is terrible. The Secret Circle was a good show with good actors and good writing, better ratings, more social media presence then any other show. Theres gotta be a better comparison then this for Beauty.

  • Dan

    Here’s the reason network by network why there’s been so few cancellations. At this time last year ABC had only axed Charlie’s Angels. The main candidates this year are Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue however My guess is that ABC is willing to accept low ratings for now and instead of pulling the shows they will let them ride out 13 episodes and then replace them at midseason. Same goes for Fox who should have axed The Mob Doctor with such horrible numbers but they are willing to accept lower numbers year to year. Also both networks lost well rated veterans House and Desperate Housewives so they have to rebuild their schedules without those. CBS is on track because every year out of the three fall dramas they premiere they cancel one and they did with Made in Jersey. CW also typically cancels 1 show each fall but they started their season late and their candidate is Emily Owens MD which they will make a decision on soon. NBC also axed two shows last year Free Agents and The Playboy Club but with The Voice as their powerhouse this year they have no failing dramas and only one cancellation, Animal Practice. With every other show getting full season it seems NBC won’t cancel a show until spring. The main reason for lttle cancellations is every network save for NBC has lower numbers year to year and dab network like ABC and FOX are focusing on rebuilding their schedule rather than cancelling shows.

  • Josh


    I myself haven’t caught an episode of The Neighbors just didn’t know how similar it is to 3rd Rock From The Sun which I loved

  • Autumn

    What an annoying article. Anyway, you’re right about one thing about Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and the Beast has the “opportunity” to gain new viewers because it keeps improving. I hope it doesn’t go the way of Secret Circle (which kept going down and down in the ratings). Also, Beauty and the Beast is not nearly as expensive as The Secret Circle.

  • Josh

    Yay Revenge!! Goodbye Scandal!

  • Mary 1

    I’m guessing less renewals are because of across the board lower ratings in general. People are just watching these shows on different mediums and at different times. I watch some of the networks shows on demand. I don’t think those count towards ratings.

    I also think we’ve had more than our share of interrupted television because of the debates, election and Sandy and for some networks there’s the normal playoffs and world series. It’s hard to cancel shows when you’ve barely aired any episodes and those you have are out of their normal time slots.

    I have a feeling if NBC moves Guys with Kids or has a better lead in for it, it would do better. I don’t know the ratings for Nashville but I was really looking forward to it. It just has turned into a weaker show than I expected. I guess I was interested in exploring to cut throat world of behind the scenes Nashville and it has turned into more of a soap opera like love triangle and political drama. It’s OK but I can see why it’s on the bubble. I continue to watch hoping it’ll get better.

    Happy Endings seems even more frantic this year. It’s a very hyper show and can be funny but seems to really hurt from the move from the Modern Family lead in.

  • Anonymous

    The CW network doesn’t necessarily base there renewals or cancellations based on Nielsen ratings alone. The CW may renew a series like Beauty & the Beast based on how well its doing online(from there own website). For instance B&TB has increased its online streams dramatically from the pilot episode. That data leaves us to believe there is an audience who watches that particular series and is whose audience in growing week after week.

    Sidebar..The CW is MORE likely to renew a series that may have started off slow but eventually grew its audience(Hart of Dixie) than to have a series start off HUGE but decline as the season progresses (The Secret Circle).

  • Riff

    Why are there fewer cancellations this year than last? Well, there were fewer new shows for one. But I think the other reason is fear. The Big 4 all got a big wakeup call this fall. Everybody got some bad news. Even CBS got humbled. Replacement shows 9 times out of 10 do worse than the show they are replacing (I’d like to think ABC found that out last season when they deliberately sabotaged “Man Up” only to replace it with two heavier-promoted shows that got lower ratings), so the new series are being given the benefit of the doubt. Because they can’t afford the risk of doing worse than they’re doing now.

    Of course there are a lot of dead shows walking too, even if ‘the call’ hasn’t been made yet. I can’t imagine anybody in their right mind thinks “666 Park Ave,” “The Mob Doctor” or “Partners” are long for the world.

  • Mary Ann

    I wonder how many people are like me and love both “Beauty and the Beast” and “Person of Interest.” Since “Person of INterest” provides no way whatsoever to watch later, either paid or free, unless you have a DVR, I always watch that when it is aired and delay “Beauty and the Beast” for online or on demand viewing. If there are any people that the Nielsons count who are in my circumstances, that could impact “Beauty and the Beast”‘s ratings, perhaps substantially.

  • Tom

    “Sidebar..The CW is MORE likely to renew a series that may have started off slow but eventually grew its audience(Hart of Dixie)…”

    That’s a myth. Hart scored a 0.8 in episode ten and then dropped to 0.5 to 0.6 for the rest of the season. The decline started with episode 9 which aired after Hart had stopped airing original episodes for one month over the holidays. This season, Hart opened to a 0.7 and has scored 0.5 and 0.6 ratings ever since. After TSC was canceled, it’s producer tweeted that cost was a significant consideration in the cancellation of TSC. In other words, Hart was renewed because it was cheap.

    I’m very proud that the TSC fan community has been so tenacious in defense of the show. Like a lot of fans, I still miss it and I don’t bother with the CW anymore. I did watch some of the premieres for the new CW shows and – with the exception of Arrow – was most impressed by their complete absence of entertainment value. It was almost inevitable that EO and B&B were destined to fail. Last Thursday, even Burn Notice significantly outranked B&B. So, if the CW is happy the show is doing well in Mongolia or wherever, so be it.

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