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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  • Jared

    I’m gonna predict that the CW will renew Beauty & the Beast as well as The Carrie Diaries. I also expect Hart of Dixie to get a renewal..which I believe it I and will get paired up with HoD in the Fall.

  • Nick


    I think the only person here who will be surprised is you. Come back in May–or earlier–when 2 Broke Girls and Grimm are renewed.

  • omabin

    @Mark Wood,

    I agree with you, maybe I expressed myself wrongfully before. In regards to Nikita and the cw shows ranking:

    1) I use a friday factor of 35%, although I do agree that when it comes to the cw 30% is probably more accurate. I do not think it is super important to make this distinction for the case though. 20% does seem low to me though.

    2) The way I look at the averages from a show is by looking at the weighted average. These weights have been determined by me according to the cancellations and renewals from the last two seasons – the important point is that they are heavily skewed towards recent airings. So, as the season goes on, the impact of the premiere rating for instance will be almost zero.

    3. According to these, here are the averages for CW shows so far:
    – The Vampire Diaries: 1.3 (simple average =1.4)
    – Arrow: 1.1 (simple average=1.2)
    – Supernatural: 0.9 (simple average=0.9)

    – Hart of Dixie: 0.6 (simple average=0.6)
    – Gossip Girl: 0.6 (simple average=0.4) (here, it clearly has a finale boost, but it does not really matter since it was ending)
    – Beauty and the Beast: 0.6 (simple average=0.7)
    – 90210: 0.5 (simple average=0.5)
    – Nikita: 0.5 (simple average: 0.4)

    – Emily Owens: 0.3 (simple average=0.4)

    So, Nikita lives in the world of 0.5 and 0.6 that is the cw bubble, but it is the closer to syndication.

    I think we both agree on the outcome though, we were just arguing on the rationale for the renewal i guess

  • DW

    outside of NCIS , TBBT , the voice , SNF , 2 1/2 men h-50 and cbs wednesday night line up , GA and MF. everything is on the bubble. outside of these shows is nothing. they can all be replaced.

  • DeanW

    I’ll give you nine good reasons to Renew CSI: NY:

    1) All the cast signed until Season 10.
    2) It’s the highest rated Show on Friday for CBS.
    3) If it goes Blue Bloods will fall (Remember what happened in the Fall when Made in Jersey was at 9).
    4) It already has a syndication deal and more Episodes means more money for CBS.
    5) The Show is owned by CBS but no The Mentalist.
    6) It’s been on Friday for three years and it’s very stable.
    7) It made more money than CSI: Miami last year so it’s probably making more money than The Mentalist, The Good Wife and Vegas.
    8) It’s often #1 or #2 in its timeslot.
    9) No other Show could get a 1.6 and almost 11 million viewers on the “death slot”.

    I gave 9 reasons only because the Show is actually on its Ninth Season. I Hope CBS thinks the same things !

  • Brandy

    @Bruce, the quality of show or the authors preference has nothing to do with where they’re at in this chart, ratings and syndication are the deciding factors.2 Broke Girls is still doing good ratings and has a tbs syndication deal so yes it’ll be renewed.GrimM I believe has good or decent fri ratings for NBC so yes it could be renewed.1600 has bad ratings so it might be cancelled and the Good Wife has a low demo and will have syndication numbers at the end of this season but no syndication deal yet so it could be cancelled if it dosent get one.

  • JoJo

    I do understand the purpose of renewing low rated series to get them to syndication numbers but in Nikitas case if the series were again to lose more of its current audience just based on year to year declines would the CW really take such a loss when the show hasn’t even reached a syndication deal? Nobody watches the series live..what would make the production company think this would be some hot commodity in syndication anyway? If Nikita were to get renewed..which I believe it will be..the budget would have to be cut yet again and the network would be wasting a timeslot when in theory could put a new series in its place that could most likely do better.

  • Owen

    It will come to down to The Good Wife, The Mentalist and CSI NY for CBS, unless Golden Boy does very well.

    Think a lot depends on if The good wife can land a syndication deal somewhere, without is most likely will be cancelled.

  • omabin


    I don’t think the issue is whether or not the good wife can get a syndication deal. If there is a market for series as low-rated as Nikita, I am 100% sure the good wife will get a deal. The issue is whether or not the deal is enough to offset the costs of producing the show. As it is lower rated than CBS procedurals are at their 4th year, it won’t get a deal as good as CBS is used to, so it makes it harder to predict. I still say it will be renewed to get to the 100 episodes which make it easier to negotiate a better deal. Same reason why fringe was renewed this year. We shall see.

  • Tom

    Grimm certain renewal to name a few I really have to say ”are you kidding”?

    A better question would be “are you watching?” In terms of pure storytelling, Grimm and OUAT are about as good as television gets.

  • Ellen

    Chicago Fire, NBC’s #2 drama behind Revolution and perhaps their biggest success story this season, is a certain renewal.

    Looking at their low-rated bubble comedies, other factors behind A18-49 are going to come into play. We won’t know what they are or how influential they will be. My guess is The New Normal will be renewed, as given the storyline and Ryan Murphy credit I think it’s reasonable to assume that in demographics like high-income households, it is doing much better. Plus as one of NBC’s few shows which prominently features LGBT characters in a positive way, they will not be in a hurry to drop it.

    For all the outcry over how poor Go On & TNN did without The Voice lead-in, these two shows helped carry NBC to #2 on Tuesday without The Voice.

    This would mean next season NBC would likely have four comedies — Go On, TNN, P&R, and a new one. NBC needs to end their Thursday comedy lineup and rebuild with Chicago Fire @ 9.

    It looks like the networks were too late to cash in on the shift to comedy and they are no longer as popular as dramas. Compare the networks’ successes with dramas this season vs. their lack of success with comedies — except for FOX which has had zero success with anything this season.

  • hello

    Last Man Standing CANCELLED
    Malibu Country CANCELLED
    Cleveland Show CANCELLED
    The Good Wife RENEWED
    The Mentalist CANCELLED
    90210 CANCELLED
    Carrie Diaries RENEWED
    Hart Of Dixie RENEWED
    Nikita REMEWED
    Beauty And The Beast CANCELLED
    The Mindy Project RENEWED
    1600 Penn RENEWED
    Deception CANCELLED
    New Normal CANCELLED
    Whitney RENEWED

  • Dan

    Honestly I do not care for the CW shows, they already did what I did not want, which was the cancellation of Ringer and The Secret Circle, and that no return.
    And I just regret the fans of the CW shows, they have to put up with the mismanagement that is made by Mark Pedowitz.

  • Rebecca

    Community won’t be on the list yet since it hasn’t aired an episode this season. It’ll start Feb. 7th.

  • v

    Neighbors – Cancelled, Lowest rated comedy on Wed, nothing has worked outside block.

    B&B – Cancelled, CW developing Vampire Diaries spinoff.

  • RTV

    I can’t see NBC going into the fall with only one comedy that is older than one season.

    Parks & Rec
    Go On
    The New Normal
    1 or 2 of Whitney/Guys With Kids/Up All Night

    1600 Penn
    Save Me
    Animal Practice
    30 Rock
    The Office

    And assuming they have a similar Fall schedule…

    The Voice – NEW Comedy – The New Normal

    Go On – NEW Comedy

    Community – Parks & Rec – Michael J. Fox – NEW Comedy

    Guys With Kids – Up All Night

  • Doug

    I still hold out hope for Happy Endings. Tuesday airings have trended up, and the reality is that none of the comedies are doing well in that timeslot. It’s just a hair behind Go On at this point, and The New Girl is less than a ratings point ahead. Somebody has to blink on Tuesdays, and it will be ABC in March. Apt 23 is a goner (should be on FX anyway), but HE I could see getting another season. We’ll see how ratings go in the upcoming weeks.

  • JulieDawn

    Still think BATB will be renewed (although probably shipped to Friday), along with maybe HOD, and Nikita (although it shouldn’t, but will be for summer airing for syndication purposes). I think 90210 will be finished up this year.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    People just don’t seem to get why Nikita is an odds-on favorite for syndication. It has NOTHING to do with US syndication. It’s entirely due to overseas syndication, especially in Asia where Maggie Q is a megastar. The overseas syndication market has nothing whatever to do with US ratings. Please try to get that through your heads.

    Brandy: You are becoming tiresome. All your arguments have been answered before. Nikita is a lock for syndication.

    “1.Cougar Town was cancelled in season three as was Veronica Mars and Make it or Break it”

    Irrelevant. They are not shows with Maggie Q in the lead, nor are they shows of the same genre.

    “I heard Craig S, Nikita’s show runner, has only a three season plan”

    And Maggie Q has said that they end every season with a finale that could serve as a series finale. She also said this week that four seasons would wrap it up.

    “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”

    66 instead of 88 episodes for stripped? Unlikely, although I suppose not impossible. Until it happens, count this as rumor.

    “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”

    We don’t know that was a “big part of the reason”. A more likely explanation is that Nikita is relegated to Fridays and the CW didn’t want to try to put any new shows on Friday and none of the existing shows would do any better on Friday than Nikita.

    “Nikitas ratings are awful and will Likley fall in spring like they’ve done each season”

    And this is irrelevant again because it was true LAST season. Face it, Nikita wouldn’t be on NOW if it weren’t for syndication. And the same rules apply for season four.

    “CW does have a end to its patience with Nikita”

    There is no “patience” involved. Ad revenue is what controls everything and ad revenue for Nikita on Friday sucked in season two. So syndication rules now and everything else is irrelevant.

    “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.”

    Except it almost certainly DOES have a contract renewing it for two seasons.

    “What if they renew it for season four yet can’t/don’t get a deal”

    Again, the CW is NOT involved in any syndication deal. The WB is. The WB is quite capable of not worrying about a syndication deal until they have 88 episodes in the can.

    “Just because WB wants to get it syndicated dosent mean it’ll happen.”

    And it doesn’t have to happen prior to season four. And you don’t know WHAT feelers WB has out to Asian and other networks, nor do you have the figures they’re seeing for Nikita’s current performance overseas.

    “Nikitas produced at a $10 million loss for CW.”

    Produce a link establishing that figure or be accused of making it up.

    “Nikita dosent do well in DVr and only does average DVD sales and international saes except in Asia supposedly but no one has proof.”

    And neither do you.

    I don’t know why you’re obsessed with proving Nikita will not be renewed. While that is certainly a POSSIBILITY, the PROBABILITY is that it will be renewed.

    And learn to use punctuation please.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    As for the rest of the Bubble Watch, I believe Deception is a goner, The Carrie Diaries is a goner, and I think Beauty and the Beast will be canceled as well. Hart of Dixie may or may not be renewed, but I think only if it gets a deal like Nikita’s – TWO seasons at a fixed rate. Otherwise I think HoD will be canceled.

    People need to realize that Nikita is an ANOMALY. The main reason it’s a lock for syndication for TWO seasons is because WB clearly expects Maggie Q to do well in Asia and perhaps elsewhere in syndication. They probably have current performance figures to back that up. Otherwise it would make NO sense for them to push for syndication at the end of season two given US ratings alone. This is simple LOGIC, folks.

    But that doesn’t not necessarily apply to any OTHER show on the CW or any other network. So suggesting HoD will get two seasons due to syndication is not necessarily true.

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