Bubble Watch: Misinterpreted Mayan Writings Don't Kill TV Shows, Business Models Do

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

December 16th, 2012

Image credit: "HodariNundu" you can see a larger version here.

This will be the last Bubble Watch until after the holidays, or for the doomsday crowd, the last bubble watch ever! It's as easy to predict that Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 will live on past December 21 as it is to predict many people will disagree with some of the designations below - which, by the way, have not changed since last week. Yep, I'm mailing it in this week, blame a weakness for spiked egg nog...

Bears don't kill TV shows either though  the image of a bear chasing a TV show around is certainly more entertaining  (at least to me!) than a table with a list of shows and how things are shaping up.

Generally speaking, horrible ratings *do* kill shows, but because it's the relative ratings for a network that matter, it's more precise to go with "business models." CBS cancels shows with ratings that are bad for CBS that would be fantastic for other networks. Among the reasons that other networks simply don't pick up shows in CBS's scrap heap is those networks fully realize the shows wouldn't perform nearly as well in the ratings on their networks as they performed on CBS.

I had a healthy respect for business models even before we launched TV by the Numbers, but I have an even healthier respect now. When we launched the site I figured we'd be focusing much more on how the networks' existing business models were getting crushed by changes (DVR, On Demand, Netflix, etc.). There's certainly some interest in that, but it is teeny tiny compared to interest in whether shows will be cancelled or renewed.

There's lots of stuff we don't do that some people would certainly be very interested in. Some of those things we're even very interested in ourselves, but sadly, there's not enough interest in them to justify the cost of production. Even here at TV by the Numbers where the financial stakes are much lower, we have our versions of "666 Park Avenue" and "Last Resort"  that we scrap or never get around to doing to begin with. Those decisions don't always please us or all of our readers, but they make sense for our business model.

Either way, long after December 21, 2012 TV shows -- fan favorites among them -- will be canceled.

Happy holidays!

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
Whitney 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
Cleveland Show, The Fox 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
Castle ABC Likely Renewal
Neighbors, The ABC Likely Renewal
Scandal ABC Likely Renewal
Suburgatory ABC Likely Renewal
The Middle ABC 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
Chicago Fire NBC 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
CSI 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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  • JTV

    I think that NBC is going to keep 1 of their multi-cams around. I’m gonnna guess that Guys With Kids is the one that gets the 13 episode renewal.

    -Whitney has more hate than GWK and even though it has gotten better, those 1st season ads will haunt it forever.

    -Up All Night’s main 3 cast members can’t be cheap and all the Single Cam episodes would be a tough sell to package with the multicam ones if the show ever made it to syndication (which it won’t)

  • Matt H.

    Sad. Don’t Trust The B—- in Apartment 23 is a show I’d actually pay to see.

  • Casey

    Ultimately, I don’t see anything coming along any time soon that will necessitate a change in the model that predicts the renewal status of TV shows. We’ve had DVRs, Online Viewing, On Demand, torrents and whatever else for how long now and nothing has really changed. I don’t see that changing soon but whatever. Come back in 5 years and if I’m wrong I”m wrong but it seems like the model that TVByTheNumbers uses now will be the model used for quite some time.

  • KS

    ….business models were getting crushed by changes (DVR, On Demand, Netflix, etc.). There’s certainly some interest in that, but it is teeny tiny compared to interest in whether shows will be cancelled or renewed…

    For how many more seasons do you think, its gonna remain Teeny tiny? In my opinion, not many.

  • Tyler D

    … I’m genuinely impressed you found a picture like that.

  • Austin Lauran

    If Grey’s Anatomy & Modern Family weren’t airing on ABC, how low would ABC’s scripted average be? Would it be lower or higher than NBC’s?

  • Kia

    Why is Nikita still on the Bubble?? I think it should be on likely Renewal! :)

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “For how many more seasons do you think, its gonna remain Teeny tiny? In my opinion, not many.”

    How long will interest in network business models remain tiny?


  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “I’m genuinely impressed you found a picture like that.”

    Robert’s image Googling > mine.

  • AppleStinx

    Happy holidays to TVbtN. From spiked egg nog to mai tai on the beach, 2013 shall be a great year for the site. I’d keep an eye on Oceania and Asia; they get to see Dec 21 ahead of us, don’t they? :grin:

  • Common Anomaly

    “Bears don’t kill TV shows”

    But dead horses do kill TV shows.

  • Austin Lauran

    Should the NBC execs start relying on Sunday Night Football & The Voice to help prop up their network & not come up with any scripted shows that could get the same ratings as TBBT or Modern Family? Or should they actually try even if it takes a lot of time for something to finally work?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “But dead horses do kill TV shows.”

    Or at least they provide a convenient excuse for it!

  • DeanW

    I think CBS will keep the Original CSI for many years while CSI: NY will get, at most, one mo season. TGW and The Mentalist will be Renewed for full season.

  • DeanW

    *one more season, sorry !

  • Petar Ivanov


    I think i get what CBS want to do this week. If they save TGW for one more final season will move it in friday and will try to make their sundays work. Right now they are on the move CBS SUnday to be like NBC wednesdays or FOX mondays or ABC tuesdays and thursday at 8. I think they will try Elementary at 9 on Sunday. That is why they give Elementary S slot. Like ABC move Revenge and work for them on sundays. All CBS 9 pm shows(without saturday and friday) are together in the pack only Sunday at 9 is bad with almost full and half point down. ANd with that move CBS will free post POI slot to air new drama. They will stay TAR at 8 its very close to survivor ratings. And will stay TM at 10.

  • Justin121

    @Austen Lauran

    a) ABC’s average would still remain higher

    b) NBC has had SNF for many years — they never stopped looking for scripted hits, and never will.

    c) Do you think NBC and ABC should air cop dramas and laugh track sitcoms to catch up with CBS?

  • Danak

    Cute column Robert. I’m curious to know what things you wanted/would like to do that for the site that don’t justify the cost, if you want to say that is.

  • Tessa

    Revenge, 2 Broke Girls, Arrow, Supernatural, Revolution all certain to be renewed so I have nothing to talk about. Sometimes it’s more fun if your favorite show isn’t predicted safe on this site (not really, but you get what I mean.) :D

  • DeanW

    Before moving to Sunday TGW had an average of 2.6 on Adults 18-49 and last year it fell to a 1.8. If CBS moves it to Friday it will be a disaster.
    Elementary got only a 2.2 and it’s its first season. On Sunday, it would face The Walking Dead, Dexter and Revenge so it’ll die and The Mentalist too.

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