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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  • Brandy

    I’m happy Nashvilles a Likley renwal, and VD,2 Broke Girls,Once Upon a Time,Big Bang Theory are certain renewal.I wish Nashville,HoD,Carrie Diaries,Beauty and the Beast,90210 could/would all be renewed.I guessing 90210 gets a short final season,HoD & Nikita renewed but Nikita for a final season and Beauty,Cult,Carrie Diaries cancelled though I’ll have to see four or five more weeks of ratings to say for sure on CD.Cult is in a death slot and has a very unique premise so I don’t see it doing well but I could be wrong.

  • K

    They should all be cancelled. Tv shows today aren’t like the quality shows of the past, like Adam 12 and Emergency for example.

  • David Howell

    If CSI NY does skew younger than the other CBS procedurals (on FRIDAYS!) I’d agree that it’s definitely renewable.

    Whichever bubble show goes, I think Hawaii Five-0 takes its slot, and CBS launch a new drama in that Monday slot.[Mike & Molly offers a very good lead-in (mind you, so does NCIS LA, and that’s not helped the Tuesday 10pm shows any).

    I’ll predict the bubble shows:

    Last Man Standing – RENEWED. This’ll be a surprise, but it’ll make sense because ABC’s serialization-heavy drama slate has little syndication value, and the bean-counters at ABC will think that this will.
    Malibu Country – CANCELED. And ABC try something new to pair with LMS in the new TGIF block.

    Cleveland Show – CANCELED. Although if it were up to me, I’d hold a few episodes of this season back, with a view to either wrapping up the show and sending the characters back to Family Guy as a February 2014 sweeps event (if Murder Police does well out of the gate) or giving it a proper midseason order (if it doesn’t).
    Mindy Project – DEPENDS ON PILOT SEASON. Because FOX will probably retain the two-hour sitcom block (if only for its impressively young skew), the final spot on the Tuesday schedule is between Mindy Project and the #2 new sitcom (the #1 replaces Ben & Kate). I shall leave this to people who’ve followed the FOX pilot season!

    The Good Wife – CANCELED. This show has spent two seasons existing for the sole purpose of placating the syndication gods, and they have not answered! Why would it get a season 5?
    The Mentalist – RENEWED. Someone in a comment a while ago said that this is a slot CBS don’t really care about (because it can be a near-11:00 slot depending upon sport overrun – not just football either), and so it’s natural to put a show CBS don’t really care about (because they don’t keep all the syndication dollars) in the slot.

    90210 – RENEWED for the now-traditional CW farewell 13. I mean, it’ll sell DVDs and Netflix subscriptions, if nothing else!
    Nikita – RENEWED. Because the last renewal was a de facto 44 episode renewal, and they have to see out the back 22 to make it worthwhile. But who’s going to buy the rerun rights to the first show in history to be the lowest-rated show on network television three seasons running?
    Beauty and the Beast – CANCELED. The slot goes to The Originals next season.
    Carrie Diaries – TOO EARLY TO CALL. We need to see a few weeks’ worth of numbers to see if the premiere-week audience was simply dispersed across the multiple airings.
    Hart of Dixie – RENEWED. Because it’s apparently legendarily cheap to make, and syndication revenue is within range.

    1600 Penn – CANCELED. Possibly early.
    Deception – CANCELED. I don’t see it settling in the safe zone.
    The New Normal – CANCELED. Replacing it with something new gives that show a decent lead-in to start (at least during The Voice’s fall run) and probably gets NBC some positive PR if the show really is that controversial.
    Whitney – RENEWED. A syndication-baiting pity renewal. Up All Night might pick up with the multicam switch, but how in the world will the single-cam episodes have any syndication value if it does?

  • Michael

    I don’t know something tells me that with “Beauty And The Beast” winning “Favorite New Series” at the Peoples Choice Awards, Mark Pedowitz will renew it for a second season. Obviously, it will no longer get the pivotal TVD post-slot. The show is performing decently, in comparison to the other shows that are on the bottom of the ratings barrel on the network.

  • Brad

    The Cleveland Show will only have two episodes left over after this season, assuming that the 4APSxx production line had the usual 22-episodes – although it may have only had 20 as 3APSxx produced an extra two episodes, totaling 24 episodes.

    Given it takes 9-10 months to produce anything after production starts, even if it were renewed today, it still wouldn’t be back on the air until January 2014 at the earliest – unless they launch it in late November/December (highly unlikely). The show is done.

    FOX’s tentative schedule for TCS: https://www.foxfast.com/FoxFast/aspxfiles/TitleDetailsHome.aspx?TitleId=1CD6FBAD-31B2-4C81-95AF-98D95CD1E65C

  • Mon

    I want CSI: NY to be renewed but I will be shocked if The Mentalist gets cancelled. It’s doing pretty on its (only) first season on Sundays. I’m now on the fence about The Good Wife. Yes it has nominations but will it secure another win (its last win was season 1 or 2?)? As long as Homeland is around that might be a long shot.

  • chrisss

    @ David Howell

    Last Man Standing is owned by Fox, not ABC so ABC wouldn’t get any of the potential syndication money.

  • ERICinHB

    Community ?????

  • Mark Wood


    I don’t think you should really think that Friday’s factor for Nikita is a bump of 50%. Using that rational last seasons SPN was scoring an equivalent of Vampire Diaries.

    Think of it this way. Each year shows typically perform worse, you can even get a network average for typical year decline. Then you can look at the change in a shows performance when they move to Friday, factor out the average yearly decline, and that should get you a fairly accurate guesstimate of that network’s friday factor.

    For the CW it is not nor has it ever been for any show moving to Friday a loss of 50%, let alone a loss of 50% after typical yearly declines have been taking out of the equation. Usually its between 20 to 30%.

    While that would easily keep Nikita asa bubble show (doing better then typically one or two programs (at least until the final episode of Emily Owen then back down to one). The fact that the CW schedule is still so soft, and that it still has so many holes (still not enough original hours to cover ten time slots), and they fact that Nikita is getting close to 100 episodes, and its good performance overseas, it should give it another season.

    But those factors are all due to other factors then its US broadcast, which is why I would call it a bubble show. But hey still should be good for a renewal.

  • Jaxson


    Which is why I think people are unselling HE. A full season gives it 79 eps, which is good enough (‘Til Death is syndicated in LA markets at 81 episodes). ABC Studios has NO real syndicatable comedies besides Cougar Town (which is on cable now) and Happy Endings. And it’s an important property to Sony. It’s Tuesdays ratings are on par with LMS, so we’ll see. I wouldn’t be surprised if Friday was LMS -> The Neighbors next year and Tuesdays was DWTS or SHIELD into Super Fun Night/Mixology -> HE.

  • David Howell

    @ chrisss

    Didn’t realise that Fox would get all the syndication money from LMS. I’d reckon on that being canceled too if that’s the case.

    Actually, thinking about it, I should have realised the Friday schedule all but gives away the end of TGIF. Primetime Nightline from March basically means a Shark Tank / Nightline / 20:20 Friday has practically written itself (assuming Primetime Nightline doesn’t plummet into the 0s, which I doubt).

  • MarcJames87

    90210 WILL get 10 episodes like GG.

  • meah

    I love the fact that SCANDAL is under certain renewal!!!this silences the haters!

  • Dana

    I’m only doing the CW for now

    HOD, Nikita, 90210 will all be renewed. Unless Carrie Diaries has some huge upswing it is gone, along BATB.

  • Bill

    I don’t think the Mentalist would be cancelled. Hopefully it would at least get a final season for next year.
    I still don’t see who would watch Nikita in syndication. No one watches it now.
    Hopefully LMs gets renewed.

  • Nick

    My predictions:

    Last Man Standing: Renewed. 20th Century Fox will give ABC a good deal because it’s within ~2 seasons of syndication.
    Malibu Country: Will be decided by how How to Live With Your Parents does.

    The Good Wife: Renewed. For a better syndication deal.
    The Mentalist: I have absolutely no idea.

    90210: Renewed. Final season.
    Carrie Diaries, The CW: Too soon to tell.
    Hart Of Dixie CW: Renewed. It’s within 2 seasons of syndication.
    Nikita CW: Renewed. Syndication, peoples!
    Beauty And The Beast CW: Depends on whether Carrie Diaries flatlines. If it stays steady, cancelled. If it drops, I see renewed for Fridays.

    Cleveland Show: Canceled/No additional episodes ordered.
    The Mindy Project: Cancelled. Fox will want to start over fresh.

    1600 Penn: Canceled.
    Deception: Too soon to tell.
    New Normal, The: Renewed. At this point, it’s doing the same terrible ratings as everyone else.
    Whitney: Renewed for syndication in 2 years.

  • Nick

    ^That’s wrong for The Mentalist. It should be:

    The Mentaist: Depends on whether CBS wants to give up on Fridays by pushing Undercover Boss back.

  • Brandy

    I wouldn’t. Be so arrant to say Nikita is sure for renwal, for several reasons:1.Cougar Town was cancelled in season three as was Veronica Mars and Make it or Break it-though all in varying closeness to 88& VM I think was when the minimum was 100 episodes not 88& Happy Endings is in its third season but looking strongly like it’ll be cancelled( low ratings and burning off episodes).2.I heard Craig S, Nikita’s show runner, has only a three season plan
    3.I read here a post in OCt. that WB made a deal to syndicate third season shows-though I don’t know if it’s true
    4.A big part of the reason Nikita was renewed for this season was CW cancelled/ended six shows last season(Ringer,Secret Circle,H8tr,Remodeled,The Frame,OTH) and simply couldn’t afford to cancel more and put more than five new shows on.CW also has a new hit this seasonArrow, which leaves one less cancelled show,one less open slot
    5.Nikitas ratings are awful and will Likley fall in spring like they’ve done each season due to DST(it’s affected being on at 8pm)& I have read a lot of negative feedback about this season so I wouldn’t be suprised if some viewers stop watching too.CW does have a end to its patience with Nikita and if it’s ratings fall it could be “third times the charm” as they saying goes.Nikita never gets a early renwal,it’s always a bubble show renewed last minute and the lowest rated show on the network and unless you’re in the top four or five ratings wise/money makers ,you’re not 100% safe .Unless they have a deal for syndication or behind the scenes contract renewing it for season four(or face a penalty or be jailed or fired or executed or something,) it dosent HAVE to be renewed.CW has done thier best to nurture Nikita and grow its audience-lots of promotion and best leadin in season one,moved to a night with less competition and paired with a good rated show with a solid loyal fanbase in hopes it would help in season two and in season three, more promotion than last season and paired with a ok leadin and then moved it back to 8 after it. Sank at 9 ) but nothings worked.If its renewed for season four, they would have to cut its budget again,meaning bye Sean,Ryan,Owen,maybe Amanda-it’s weird Amanda’s in only half of this season, 14 of 22 episodes.Can they cut the budget even more?Theyve given Nikita three chances to prove itself and it fails each time.What if they renew it for season four yet can’t/don’t get a deal , like the Good Wife?Waste of money,airspace in that case.Just because WB wants to get it syndicated dosent mean it’ll happen.Nikitas produced at a $10 million loss for CW.Nikita dosent do well in DVr and only does average DVD sales and international saes except in Asia supposedly but no one has proof.Pedowitz might like it personally but even that will have its limits as its rumored he’s been told to “clean house” and he has bosses to answer to.

  • Ashley

    I don’t know what I’d do if I were NBC. All the bubble shows are so close in (poor) ratings and even the ones currently in the “likely to be renewed” category like Go on and Parks aren’t killing it in the ratings. But none of their new comedies are hits and most have bombed. I’m not sure they can cancel the mid-rated shows b/c if none of their new comedies for this season were a hit they can’t count on new pilots for next year being a hit either. So they will likely need to keep Go on and Parks as renewals (maybe community too if they ever let it air) and then probably at least 2 or 3 of the bubble shows. How they make that determination based on ratings I don’t know. Maybe they base it entirely on which shows they like best and what they think will fit best based on next years lineup of shows. I’d probably cancel 1600 Penn and also TNN if it continues in the low 1 range, cancel UAN since its just a disaster all around at this point, renew Go on and Parks, and possibly keep GWK and Whitney? Tough call.

  • bruce

    I think that there will be some surprises when the final listings in may are handed out.I believe that the people who are saying that this show is great and that show sucks are purely guessing without any credibility whatsoever. I believe these experts who are saying shows like the Good Wife, mentalist 1600 penn are on the bubble and two broke girls,Grimm certain renewal to name a few I really have to say ” are you kidding”?

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