Bubble Watch Waiting for 'The Following' Edition: Make Your Guesses About the Current Crop of Bubble Shows

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

January 20th, 2013

I received an e-mail this week that said "I know it's called "Bubble Watch" but if the difference between the Renew/Cancel Index and the Bubble Watch is that you're willing to guess, why are their any shows on the bubble. You should guess them all!"

It's a fair question. I am a bit more willing to do some guessing about the future, but I am not into random guessing. I'm not any better at pulling rabbits out of magical hats than Bullwinkle!

There are educated guesses and there is flipping a coin.  Currently I have 15 shows "on the bubble."  Several of them are there only due to nuance i.e., I definitely see 1600 Penn and Carrie Diaries quickly sliding into likely cancellation territory, but am holding off judgment in the interest of more time/data points.

Sometimes shows really are true tossups, either due to the ratings, the situation, or both. I don't want to make guesses in those cases. I can make the educated guess that ABC would like its Friday comedies to perform better and would prefer they not get beaten by reruns of Shark Tank! But I have no insight into what ABC thinks about those ratings or, and somewhat importantly, how the advertising sales for those shows work (versus the better performing repeat of Shark Tank). Throw in that if the comedies could be shepherded along for four seasons, there's a syndication payday that's likely/traditionally a fair bit better than the syndication payday for Shark Tank and for me, it adds up to "tossup, I don't know and can't really guess which way it will go." That's different than what I'd do based on the ratings data alone -- of course I'd cancel them and air reruns of Shark Tank based on that!

Still, of the 15 shows currently on the bubble, I am at least somewhat comfortable about guessing about 60% of them. While I'm more comfortable guessing those shows, I am not comfortable about the accuracy of the guessing, which is why I don't make those guesses. Usually.

But today, since there's not much going on and I don't feel like writing the "C'mon people, of COURSE the Middle will be renewed, but the reason I have it as only a likely renewal is..." piece, here are my guesses about the 60% of bubble shows I'm at least somewhat comfortable about guessing.  They are still on the bubble in the normal list, and since we're guessing, I'll guess by the end of the season those 60% will no longer be on the bubble.

Last Man Standing ABC Sorry, Still On The Bubble
Malibu Country ABC Sorry, Still On The Bubble
Cleveland Show, The Fox Canceled/No additional episodes ordered*
The Good Wife CBS Sorry, Still On The Bubble
The Mentalist CBS Renewed
90210 CW Final 13 episode season
Carrie Diaries, The CW Canceled
Hart of Dixie CW Renewed
Nikita CW Renewed
Beauty and the Beast CW Canceled
The Mindy Project Fox Renewed
1600 Penn NBC Canceled
Deception NBC Sorry, Still On The Bubble
New Normal, The NBC Sorry, Still On The Bubble, but almost went canceled
Whitney NBC Sorry, Still On The Bubble

*In terms of guessing my guess -- and it is just a guess -- is Cleveland doesn't get renewed, but I don't track how many episodes will be left over after this TV season and wouldn't count those remaining episodes as a renewal.

Feel free to make your own guesses in the comments, but remember, "Whitney should be canceled because I don't like it!!" is not...a guess.

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
Happy Endings ABC Likely Cancellation
CSI: NY CBS Likely Cancellation
Vegas CBS Likely Cancellation
Guys with Kids NBC Likely Cancellation
Up All Night NBC Likely Cancellation
Last Man Standing ABC On The Bubble
Malibu Country ABC On The Bubble
Cleveland Show, The Fox On The Bubble
The Good Wife CBS On The Bubble
The Mentalist CBS On The Bubble
90210 CW On The Bubble
Carrie Diaries, The 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
1600 Penn NBC On The Bubble
Deception NBC On The Bubble
New Normal, The NBC On The Bubble
Whitney NBC On The Bubble
Castle ABC Likely Renewal
Nashville ABC Likely Renewal
Neighbors, The ABC Likely Renewal
Revenge ABC Likely Renewal
Suburgatory ABC Likely Renewal
The Middle ABC Likely Renewal
Elementary CBS Likely Renewal
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Likely Renewal
Chicago Fire NBC Likely Renewal
Go On NBC Likely Renewal
Law & Order: SVU NBC Likely Renewal
Parks & Recreation NBC Likely Renewal
Grey's Anatomy ABC Certain Renewal
Modern Family ABC Certain Renewal
Once Upon a Time ABC Certain Renewal
Scandal 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
Two and a Half Men 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
Grimm NBC Certain Renewal
Parenthood NBC Certain Renewal
Revolution NBC Certain Renewal
The Big Bang Theory CBS Renewed
How I Met Your Mother CBS Not Quite Renewed Yet, But a Certain Renewal
American Dad Fox Renewed
Bob's Burgers Fox Renewed
Bones Fox Renewed
Family Guy Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Private Practice ABC Canceled/Final Season
Gossip Girl CW Final SeasonFinished
Fringe Fox Final SeasonFinished
30 Rock NBC Final Season
The Office NBC Final Season
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  • rob60990

    Hasn’t it already been established that How I Met Your Mother is not officially renewed? Only that the cast is signed on for another season.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Rob: yes, my bad. Unless it’s officially renewed in the coming week, it will fall back to “Certain Renewal” with proper sorting next week.

  • Gil Charters

    The Good Wife … I can not understand why this show is always on the edge of cancellation. It’s one of the smartest shows on TV. Many of the situations are generic but their handling of them with twists and turns is always unique. The relationships are all very complex. Then again, maybe that’s not what today’s TV audiences want. The days of West Wing and its ilk seem to be long gone.

  • Oliver

    I agree with you on most of the bubble shows, except I’m ready to write off Deception already and I’d wait for a 2nd episode before writing off The Carrie Diaries.

  • Bjm

    Today’s audience seems to want stuff like “Honey Boo Boo”. Fake reality garbage.

  • Jaxson


    Apt 23 – Cancel
    Happy Endings – Renew
    Last Man Standing – Renew
    Malibu Country – Cancel


    Ben & Kate – Cancel
    The Cleveland Show – Cancel, but that decision won’t be made at upfronts, right?
    Mindy – Renew


    Up All Night – ???
    Guys with Kids – Cancel
    1600 Penn – Cancel
    Deception – Cancel
    The New Normal – Renew
    Whitney – Renew

    the CW:

    The Carrie Diaries – ???
    Beauty and the Beast – Cancel
    90210 – Renew
    Hart of Dixie – Renew
    Nikita – Renew


    Vegas – Cancel
    CSI: NY – Cancel
    The Good Wife – Renew
    The Mentalist – Renew

  • Kieran4

    All of fiction is “fake reality.”

  • Rebecca

    The last I heard (but I haven’t read anything lately) is that HIMYM will most likely be renewed depending on if CBS likes the showrunners’ plans for the next season. If it does get renewed, I hope it will be for a final season and they can wrap everything up.

  • Greg

    The Cleveland Show
    The Good Wife
    The Mentalist (unless CBS decides to create another comedy hour, then it gets canceled)
    90210 (final 10 or 13 episode season)
    Hart of Dixie
    Nikita (final 22 episode season)

    Last Man Standing
    Malibu Country
    Beauty and the Beast
    The Mindy Project
    1600 Penn
    The New Normal

    The jury’s still out on The Carrie Diaries and Deception. Mindy could get renewed if New Girl keeps dropping.

  • omabin

    Cool edition.

    I have some disagreements though. First, I don’t think all of these shows are bubble shows and I think there are other bubble shows you have not listed:
    – Happy Endings is a bubble show: i lean towards cancelation, but i think it is too much excluding it for the bubble, syndication and all
    – CSI NY is a bubble show: based on the most recent airings (Weighted average), not only are its ratings on par with the mentalist and the good wife (using a friday factor of about 30%), but it also has syndication. In addition, and i think this might be relevant, it is the youngest skewing drama from CBS (66% of 18-49 are within 18-34). In adults 18-34, after a friday factor, it clearly beats the very old skewing the good wife and the mentalist. I am not saying it will be renewed, but I am saying it is a true bubble show.
    – Guys with Kids is a bubble show… I don’t think there is a difference large enough in recent airings to justify the distinction between these and some of the other comedies
    – Up All Night is a bubble show, in the sense that it is like a new show, I think these fall’s ratings are irrelevant to its future, it will depend entirely on the performance of the multicam version
    – The Neighbours is a clear bubble show, because it is not strong enough at all to be sent to tuesdays and it is not strong enough to remain on wednesday either, where ABC is certain to either launch a new sitcom or support one of the spring sitcoms next fall. A move to friday is indeed possible, but it is a bubble show

    – Nikita is not a bubble show for me. It’s 0.4 ratings, when given a friday boost factor, become on par with all the other cw bubble shows for most of the weeks. Add to that sydication and you have a certain renewal IMO. I am not saying to put it in certain, but at least likely renewal seems more reasonable to me.

    – Beauty and the Beast is a likely cancelation for me. It’s weighted ratings are on par with all the bubble shows, after a superior lead-in, and it is a first year show so syndication is further down the horizon than for the others. The CW has showed in recent years less willingness to tolerate low ratings from first year shows than from veterans, which makes sense since their relative percentage of revenues that comes from syndication is even bigger than from the other networks

    – 1600 Penn is a likely cancelation for me, its ratings are just poor and 3 airings seems enough for me to be confident about it.

    So, based on this bubble, my guesses would be:
    – Last Man Standing: Impossible to tell
    – Malibu Country: Impossible to tell
    – Happy Endings: Canceled
    – The Neighbours: Canceled
    – The Good Wife: Renewal
    – CSI NY: Canceled
    – The Mentalist: Renewal
    – 90210: Final Season Renewal
    – The Carrie Diaries: Canceled
    – Hart of Dixie: Renewal
    – The Mindy Project: Impossible to tell (depends on whether or not they give up on the comedy block)
    – Deception: Canceled
    – The New Normal: Canceled
    – Whitney: Renewal
    – Guys with Kids: Renewal for scheduling spackle a la Whitney
    – Up All Night: canceled

    I agree with you that the friday comedies are really really hard to predict.

  • Rob R

    Minor quibble: “The Middle” has got to be a Certain Renewal. It is the joint anchor of Wednesday for ABC with “Modern Family”.

  • AA

    I can see the Cleveland Show getting renewed and only airing episodes during the summer on the ‘Family Guy’ spot.

  • Shane

    Too many CW shows are on the Bubble right know… what a mess.

  • CBSviewer

    HIMYM = Renewed
    2.5 Men = Renewed
    2 Broke Girls = Renewed
    Mike & Molly = Renewed
    Hawaii Five-0 = Renewed
    Vegas = Canceled
    NCIS = Renewed
    NCIS: Los Angeles = Renewed
    Rules of Engagement = Canceled
    Golden Boy = Canceled
    The Mentalist = Renewed (19 episodes)
    Criminal Minds = Renewed
    CSI = Renewed
    CSI: NY = Renewed (13 episodes)
    Blue Bloods = Renewed
    The Good Wife = Renewed (13 episodes)
    Elementary = Renewed
    Person of Interest = Renewed (2 years for syndication)
    The Big Bang Theory = Renewed
    Made in Jersey = canceled
    Partners = canceled
    Friend Me = canceled before it airs

    Grey’s Anatomy = Renewed (full and final Season)
    Scandal = Renewed
    Once Upon a Time = Renewed (2 years for syndication)
    Revenge = Renewed (2 years for syndication)
    The Middle = Renewed
    The Neighbors = Renewed
    Modern Family = Renewed
    Suburgatory = Renewed
    Happy Endings = canceled
    Don’t Trust the B = canceled
    Last Man Standing = Renewed
    Malibu Country = canceled
    Castle = Renewed
    Nashville = Renewed
    Body of Proof = Renewed

    The Following = Renewed (moves to Friday)
    Ben and Kate = canceled
    New Girl = Renewed (2 years for syndication)
    The Mindy Project = canceled
    Raising Hope = Renewed
    Glee = Renewed
    Touch = Renewed
    The Cleveland Show = canceled
    The Simpsons = Renewed
    Bob’s Burgers = Renewed
    Family Guy = Renewed
    American Dad ! = Renewed

    Revolution = Renewed
    Whitney = canceled
    1600 Penn = canceled
    Parks & Recreation = Renewed
    Parenthood = Renewed
    Deception = canceled
    Smash = Renewed
    Law & Order: SVU = Renewed
    Chicago Fire = Renewed
    Go On = Renewed
    Grimm = Renewed
    The New Normal = Renewed

    90210 = Renewed (13 episodes, final Season)
    The Carrie Diaries = canceled
    Hart of Dixie = Renewed (moves to Friday)
    Nikita = Renewed (full and final Season)
    Arrow = Renewed
    Supernatural = Renewed
    The Vampire Diaries = Renewed
    Beauty and the Beast = canceled

    Sorry if I forgot Shows !

  • Oliver


    I agree with most of that, and pretty well justified.

  • Ron

    i guarantee that by the end of the season 90210 will be renewed because 1. they haven’t made a decision.2.It’s doing the same as Hart of Dixie and beauty and beast(90210 has a tendency to bounce back and it has only shown 9 episodes).3.Beauty and the beast will be cancelled so will The Carrie Diaries and cult(if it flops)so that leaves 3 or 4 slots open and the cw only picks up 3 shows in the fall.Keep in mind that if they do pick up midseason shows,they all tend to flop.Plus it all depends on 90210 cast and they are under contract until season 6.The reason why gossip girl ended so quickly was because it had low ratings and the cast wanted out.Time will tell for 90210 but don’t count it out just yet and it might get moved back to tuesday’s next year because it does well there.Sometimes you guys are wrong including you guys stating last year that the Secret Circle was going to get renewed and Nikita was getting cancelled.There is always a fall show flopping Ex:(Emily Owens)
    Example of slots open
    Monday:new show,90210(or switched)
    tuesday: Hart of dixie,new show(or cult if renewed)
    wednesday: arrow,supernatural
    thursday:vampire diaries,new show
    friday:Nikita,empty slot

  • Jaxson


    Yeah, I agree with most of your assessments, though disagree a bit in what’ll get renewed and canceled. But yeah, well justified.

  • Cyrax86

    Considering how badly the sitcoms are doing on NBC apart from P&R, I think Up All Night will get a pity renewal.

    I don’t think TGW can cheat death now and it’s probably Hawaii Five-0 that’s going to take its slot on Sundays next year.

  • Alan

    I have a feeling that The Carrie Diaries will be renewed. I’m thinking that Cult will sink with the slot they had (Tuesdays 9/8c) everything on that slot gets cancelled.
    Even Ringer that was a promising and good show got cancelled because there’s so much competition, so I see it pulling 0.4’s and 0.5’s while Carrie gets 0.5’s and 0.6’s and I guess it’s cheaper to produce a teen drama than a supernatural/horror one.

  • Survivor Fan

    LMS- Cancel
    Malibu- Cancel
    Cleveland- Cancel
    Good Wife- Renew
    Mentalist- Renew
    90210- Renew (final season)
    Carrie Diaries- Cancel
    Hart of Dixie- Renew
    Nikita- Renew
    Beauty and the Beast- Cancel
    Mindy Project- Renew
    1600 Penn- Cancel
    Deception- Cancel
    New Normal- True toss-up
    Whitney- Renew

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