Bubble Watch: It's (a Wonderful?) "Waiting for Mid-Season" Season -- Bring on 'The Following!"

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

December 2nd, 2012

With The Mob Doctor and Emily Owens, M.D. now both officially canceled, we probably won't hear any cancellation news about the fall shows for months. Sure, series are airing some originals over the next couple of months, but the next big focused blast of interest in the ratings will come with the arrival of the mid-season shows. Purists might insist that "Waiting for mid-season' season doesn't officially begin for another few weeks, but that's like saying Christmas trees shouldn't be put up until Christmas Eve when the Christmas tree lots spring up a few days after Halloween...

How Come the Renew/Cancel Index Says Chicago Fire and Nashville Are Likely to Be Renewed But This Says They're "On The Bubble"

There are questions like that every week and  it is mostly explained every week in the "This Isn't The Renew/Cancel Index" portion of the red disclaimer below. The Renew/Cancel Index predicts what would happen if the season were to end today. If the season were to end today Chicago Fire and Nashville are likely renewals! But the season isn't ending today and unlike the Renew/Cancel Index, I'm not making predictions based on what would happen if the season ended today.  Either I'll ultimately change and align with Bill's predictions or he'll change and align with mine. Or in this case even both! If I had to guess, I'd guess I wind up lining up with the R/C Index for Chicago Fire and Bill winds up lining up with the Bubble Watch for Nashville. We'll see!

"How Come The Middle Isn't a Certain Renewal!? It Should Be a Certain Renewal!!!"

Those sorts of questions crop up every week too, but they're  reasonable questions. I sometimes draw arbitrary lines between "certain" and "likely" and I don't see that changing.  I'm not worried (at all) about The Middle being renewed. It's virtually a shoo-in for renewal but it's not a shoo-in for renewal nearly to the degree Modern Family is, so arbitrarily I give The Middle some separation from Modern Family. Similarly the ratings for Two and a Half Men say certain renewal, but I have it as only a likely renewal. That has nothing to do with Angus T. Jones losing his mind, it is just a "very old show = very expensive to produce" thing.  Is that hair splitting on my part? Absolutely. It's also hair splitting to pick those designations apart. Ever it was, every it shall always be!

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
666 Park Avenue ABC Canceled
Last Resort ABC Canceled
Made in Jersey CBS Canceled
Partners CBS Canceled
Emily Owens, M.D. CW Canceled
The Mob Doctor Fox Canceled
Animal Practice NBC Canceled
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 ABC Certain Cancellation
Ben and Kate Fox Certain Cancellation
Vegas CBS Likely Cancellation
Guys with Kids NBC Likely Cancellation
Up All Night NBC Likely Cancellation
Happy Endings ABC On The Bubble
Last Man Standing ABC On The Bubble
Malibu Country ABC On The Bubble
Nashville ABC On The Bubble
Neighbors, The 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
Hart of Dixie CW On The Bubble
Nikita CW On The Bubble
Beauty and the Beast CW On The Bubble
The Mindy Project Fox On The Bubble
Chicago Fire NBC On The Bubble
Whitney NBC On The Bubble
Castle 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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  • DeanW

    CSI: NY, Nikita, TheMentalist, Nashville, Chicago Fire and 90210 will be Renewed. Why are they still “On the bubble” ?

  • CrimTV

    Can’t wait for THE FOLLOWING!! I would be able to anticipate the mid-season shows if ABC would just announce their schedule ALREADY! This is getting annoying now!

  • halloween

    90210 already has 100 episodes, cancel it already

  • Damo

    Ben & Kate is going to get cancelled unless it increases its ratings which is unlikely and Up all Night which is doing so bad on Thursdays.

    @Crim TV

    I’m also looking forward to The Following beats watching The Mob Doctor and some of the mid season comedies as well was wondering if any Uk broadcasters have picked up any of the new shows because going out there for awhile and don’t want to miss any

  • omabin

    Some more hair splitting:
    – Hawaii Five-0: Certain Renewal
    – Scandal could be a likely renewal but it can sit on a bubble for two more weeks as well
    – Nikita should be likely renewal now (hell, even certain would not be idiotic)
    – Bones is a certain renewal
    – Up All Night is a bubble show
    – SVU is a bubble show (I don’t know why you keep putting this one on the likely range)

    My predictions on the bubbles:
    Happy Endings: renewal
    Last Man Standing: renewal
    Malibu Country: renewal
    Nashville: as it is, renewal, but by season’s end i suspect it will be canceled
    Neighbors: see Nashville
    Scandal: renewal
    CSI: NY: renewal
    The Good Wife: renewal
    The Mentalist: canceled
    90210: canceled
    Hart Of Dixie: renewal
    Nikita: not bubble, it’s a sure thing
    Beauty And The Beast: as it is, renewal, but by season’s end i think will see canceled
    The Mindy Project: canceled
    Chicago Fire: too hard to tell… my guess is canceled, but i need to see how it survives spring and how the many dramas NBC will have will perform
    Whitney: very hard to tell. Again, need to see remaining comedies, but will go with canceled
    Up All Night: it’ a guess at this point, i am sure its fate will be decided by the multicam episodes, but i will go with a renewal somewhere on a friday
    SVU: final season renewal

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “If I had to guess, I’d guess I wind up lining up with the R/C Index for Chicago Fire and Bill winds up lining up with the Bubble Watch for Nashville.”

    If I had to guess, I’d guess the same.

  • omabin


    I am also looking forward to a number of mid season entries. I will check out the following, deception, 1600 Penn, cult, the Goodwin games and zero hour (if it is not place on the dead time slot of Thursdays at 8) for sure. Might check out Hannibal as well, depending on ratings/reviews. Also, returning community and body of proof!

  • DenverDean

    Not sure how CSI is “likely” and not “certain” considering it has become CBS’ #1 10 p.m. and the #2 overall (behind Revolution). Plus, it will end season around 295 episodes – no way CBS cancels before 300 AND it still does well in syndication. Bones also is certain. FOX doesn’t have much and BONES is it’s most reliable pinch hitter. the fact that it does pretty well in a very tough time slot, so a lot.

  • Dan S

    I find it strange that you have Parenthood at certain renewal & shows like CSI & The Middle at likely renewal. I think those 2 shows have an even better chance at returning than Parenthood though I’m sure it will. I guess it’s just splitting hairs but it’s weird that show gets a a consistent demo below 2.0 barely edging Vegas that has twice the audience average. As far as Nikita goes that show defies logic being the lowest rated show on the CW sitting on the bubble.

  • slddl

    I would actually put The Cleveland Show “on the bubble”, so to speak.

    They still haven’t ordered episodes beyond this season, have they? They need to make a decision ASAP if they want it back for next fall as it takes up to nine months to produce.

  • bluejays

    I think CSI is certain for renewal and Elementary is a bubble show. It’s been slipping and it seems clear that its current performance is around the low two’s. The same as HFO without the same stiff competition – or more importantly – the syndication deal.

    I think if Elementary doesn’t pick up through January/Feb it has to become a bubble show – not because its performing that badly compared to the other ten pm shows but because its a first season show and isn’t performing very well in a very easy slot.

    CSI has got to be certain renewal on performance alone!

  • Just Desserts

    If I’m going to tweak the chart, here’s where I would change:

    Likely Cancellation:

    Beauty and the Beast

    On the Bubble:

    Law & Order: SVU
    The New Normal

    Likely Renewal:

    Last Man Standing
    Malibu Country
    The Neighbors
    The Good Wife

    Certain Renewal:

    The Middle
    Hawaii Five-0
    How I Met Your Mother
    Two and a Half Men
    Bones Fox
    The Cleveland Show

  • Spartacus 666

    Enough with bones and supernatural get a life actors and revenge talk about sinking to the bottom of the barrel of course superior shows like last resort is too intelligent for the masses and the brain dead singing reality shows like crap factor and American idiot best show on tv coming in January that of course us spartacus

  • Brandy

    I’d put Nikita and 90210 as certain renewals,HoD as Likley renewal.I wish cw would just quit trying with Nikita.id rather them cancel it and renew HoD,Beauty instead.Beautys a bubble show though I love it and I suspect it will cancelled unless the reports are true that it does well online and sold to more international markets than SC.Love Once ,VD,2 Broke Girls being certain renewal. vD,Hod,Beauty are top three favorite CW shows though I do really like and watch GG,Emily Owens MD,ANTM,90210 too.I suspect GG ,Emily Owens MD(already cancelled/ending),Beauty & Beast,Cult,Carrie Diaries will be cancelled with 90210 getting a shortened final season,Nikita unfortunately renewed for a fourth and final season and possibly HoD renewed.

  • DeanW

    My guess:

    The Mindy Project = cancelation
    Withney = cancelation
    Beauty and the Beast = cancelation
    Happy Endings = Renewal
    Last Man Standing = cancelation
    Malibu Country = Renewal
    Nashville = Renewal
    The Neighbors = Renewal
    CSI: NY = Renewal
    The Mentalist = Renewal
    The Good Wife = 13 episodes Renewal (moves to Friday at 8)
    Hart of Dixie = Renewal
    Chicago Fire = Depends on how will rate upcoming dramas
    Nikita = Renewal ( Final season)
    90210 = Renewal (10-12 episodes, Final season)
    Scandal = Renewal
    SVU = Renewal
    Vegas = cancelation
    Elementary = cancelation

  • aleksander eide

    my guess
    csi ny cancelled
    vegas – cancelled
    90210 – cancelled
    happy endings – cancelled
    elementary – renewed
    the neighbors – renewed
    nikita – renewed for a final season
    other tv shows on likely and certain renewal – most of them is renewed

  • Tessa

    @Spartacus 666

    Blablabla why do these shows I don’t like get renewed blablabla why didn’t the shows I like get renewed blablabla people are too stupid to watch the shows I like blablabla Spartacus!

    Also for someone who claims to be smart because of a show they watch you certainly nailed punctuation and spelling to a cross in that post. :D

  • Nick

    There are a lot of small disagreements I have, but that’s normal. Here are the biggies:

    Last Man Standing and Hart of Dixie – Should both be likely renewal. This is part of a gut feeling I have that the pull of the syndication gods can stretch 2 seasons for certain shows (namely, procedurals & comedies). I only have a few examples in recent history (The Good Wife and possibly Nikita), but we’ll see at the end of the season.

    Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project – Should both be likely cancellation. Their ratings are too close toghter to justify such a big gap.

  • Honey Badger

    The Good Wife will be renewed for two more years by CBS. The awards, the prestige, the stars making appearances.
    CBS likes to be the network the stars come to. Goodwill for CBS with the Stars

    Hart Of Dixie will be renewed for two more years by CW

    Nashville will be cancelled by ABC

  • Honey Badger

    @ Nick , I like your thinking

    Posted December 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM
    There are a lot of small disagreements I have, but that’s normal. Here are the biggies:

    Last Man Standing and Hart of Dixie – Should both be likely renewal. This is part of a gut feeling I have that the pull of the syndication gods can stretch 2 seasons for certain shows (namely, procedurals & comedies). I only have a few examples in recent history (The Good Wife and possibly Nikita), but we’ll see at the end of the season.

    Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project – Should both be likely cancellation. Their ratings are too close toghter to justify such a big gap.

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