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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • June

    ‘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.’

    Richard, please explain how Maggie Q is a “megastar” in Asia.

  • Tom

    Let’s see what effect all that publicity B&B supposedly got from that PCA has on its ratings. As Mr.Gorman recently pointed out, it’s the show’s ratings from now on that really count. If an army of viewers have been energized by the PCA, then B&B should jump in the ratings and off the Bubble. On the other hand, if the show continues to barely eke out a 0.6 demo, then it’ll likely be finished.

    So, I’m anxiously awaiting the final network primetime ratings for next Thursday. I emphasize “final” ratings because B&B has frequently been adjusted down by 0.1 from its preliminary rating. By the way, I predict the show’s ratings won’t budge and may even drop by 0.1.

  • Billy

    I hope the ABC Friday sitcoms are renewed. TGIF lives.

  • J.G.

    – Last Man Standing: Renewed
    – Malibu Country: Renewed
    – Happy Endings: Renewed for 13 episodes
    – The Neighbours: Canceled
    – The Good Wife: Renewed for 16 episodes
    – CSI NY: Canceled
    – The Mentalist: Renewed for 13 episodes
    – 90210: Renewed for 13 episodes
    – The Carrie Diaries: Renewed for 13 episodes
    – Hart of Dixie: Renewed
    – The Mindy Project: Renewed
    – Deception: Canceled
    – The New Normal: Renewed
    – Whitney: Canceled
    – Guys with Kids: Canceled
    – Up All Night: Renewed for 13 episodes

  • Brandy

    Richard, Cougar Town wasn’t all that far from syndication ,was in season three and yet abc cancelled it, even Before it landed on TBS. So CW can just as easily cancel Nikita. You don’t have proof Nikitas been renewed for season four so you don’t know for sure CW made a two year deal for it.Unless you work at CW, provide proof. If the ratings go back to 0.2-0.3 this spring, that might too much for CW to handle for one more season, after all season three and last quarter of season had horrible ratings.Why would they keep renewing a show they don’t make money on?Nikita has average DVD sales,low ad revenue,only average international sales except for Asia suppossedly and as the ratings fall, the lower the ad revenue and then, if they dont get a syndication deal, I stand by saying two big reasons Nikita was renewed was 1. Pedowitz is a fan and there’s nothing like favoritism and 2.It had already cancelled its limit of shows and couldn’t afford to put on six new shows.In response to “what would do better on a Fri?”, repeats manage the same 0.3-0.4 , Top Model did 0.4-0.6(sometimes even better than Nikita)& SPN did well on Fri.Probably Arrow and VD would do better than Nikita.Im sure they could find a show to put on Fri that would do better 0.4 in the second season if they put the right new show on there.Look at Grimm for example.

  • Tom

    Last Man Standing – Renewed. I think the Tuesday comedy block is dead; I think the Friday block is alive. (As it stands, ABC will have to move or kill at least one show to make room on Wednesday – a new show will almost certainly follow MF next season.)
    Malibu Country – Canceled. Numbers are bad, three more years for syndication, not much room on Fridays even before some number of Middle/Neighbors/Suburgatory move there.
    Cleveland Show, The – Canceled. Probably past the point where they could produce new episodes in time for January ’14; numbers haven’t been good in years.
    The Good Wife – Renewed, but not necessarily for 22 episodes. Probably on Friday.
    The Mentalist – Renewed, but probably budget cuts. Probably on Friday.
    90210 – Renewed, but for 13 episodes or less. Spackle!
    Carrie Diaries, The – Canceled. Numbers aren’t great so far, network may not live four more seasons to even get it to 88.
    Hart Of Dixie – Renewed. Probably ends up on Fridays at some point in the two years it needs for syndication.
    Nikita – Renewed. When it received its 3rd season for syndication purposes, despite being one of, if not the, worst rated shows on brodacast, it received its 4th season too. Seriously, why is this on the list?
    Beauty And The Beast – Canceled? Numbers are probably sub-par anywhere else on the schedule. The one caveat is: Does the CW run for more than three more seasons, and if not, would the CW really eat three more seasons of BatB just to get one more syndication payday (especially if moved to Fridays in 14/15 once Nikita is out of the way)? With the CW, who really knows?
    The Mindy Project – Canceled. Numbers are soft.
    1600 Penn – Canceled. Numbers are soft.
    Deception – Canceled. Syndication is an eternity away, if The Voice incubates new shows there is no room, NBC orders too many new shows to need this.
    New Normal, The – Renewed. Smells like NBC’s annual “Show that should have been canceled, wasn’t, and next year’s numbers show how dumb that was.” Speaking of which…
    Whitney – Canceled. If NBC even goes with a Wednesday comedy block next year, this isn’t helping.

  • Doug

    It seems like Apt 23 has been pulled. The next Tuesday airing would have been January 29, but ABC is doubling up on Happy Endings. There’s another preemption for the SOTU two weeks after that. It seems like ABC wants to get all of HE on the air, which shoots down Apt 23.

  • Joe

    At this point, I could see ABC cancelling Malibu Country and putting Happy Endings in the Friday 8:30 slot. It’s a mismatch, but at this point I think the TGIF approach is a bust – if they couldn’t get a hyped up Reba sitcom to launch well there, they aren’t going to get anything to. So they might as well put Happy Endings there and get it to syndication numbers, where it won’t do any damage.

  • Joe

    @Doug If that’s true, that’s potentially good news for Happy Endings but bad news for Apartment 23.

  • Nick

    @Richard Steven Hack

    Otherwise it would make NO sense for them to push for syndication at the end of season two given US ratings alone.

    Yes, the ratings for US originals do not count in syndication. But the repeats do. What’s so far-fetched about a US network being interested in stripped syndication for a show that usually repeats at ~75% the ratings of originals?

    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.

    It’s also not necessarily false. Just because it’s not the reason Nikita got renewed doesn’t mean it’s not a reason Hart of Dixie might be renewed. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Pepper

    Mindy – renewed
    Cleveland Show – cancelled

    BatB and Carrie Diaries – cancelled
    90210 cancelled if Cult does well
    HoD and Nikita will be renewed

    1600 Penn and Whitney cancelled
    Deception and TNN renewed
    SVU final season

    Vegas and TGW will be cancelled (H50 will take over Sunday timeslot)
    The Mentalist will be renewed as will CSI NY (CSI NY is a good partner for Blue Bloods on Fridays)

  • Doug

    @Joe – while I will miss Apt 23, I am far more attached to Happy Endings. I think that ABC is generally trying to make the show work. Sundays at 10pm looked like a burn-off, but hey, ABC could have just shelved the episodes altogether. Despite bad scheduling (ie – too few new episodes in a row at any point this season, a late start), they seem to be genuinely trying to get all HE episodes on the air. I think that does bode well for the show.

  • networkman

    I’m writing these comments based on business decision and watching how the networks handle these particular bubble shows.

    CSI:NY is done. If I were running the network I would bring it back but I feel realistically CBS thought they already did this show a favor by renewing it for a 9th season over CSI:Miami. The network ending the show by the end of February and being so eager to replace it with Golden Boy also supports that CSI:NY will not return.

    The Good Wife will return. The network will want to announce the show’s final season. It was one of their most critically acclaimed drama and caters to their more “wealthy” viewers. They will get this show to 100 episodes.

    The Mentalist will return. It does great for the network in the 10pm hour on Sunday. It has a loyal fanbase, still able to garner over 10 million viewers. Lastly it is still able to hit 2.0. Either The Mentalist or The Good Wife will and should move to Friday.

  • networkman

    Last Man Standing-Renewed
    Malibu Country-Renewed. I feel the network will not want to get rid of Reba. If anything they will retool the show. The network does not feel they can do any better on Friday in the 8pm hour. They have other major concerns to deal with

    Don’t Trust the B… Cancelled
    Happy Endings… Cancelled (I wish FOX would pick up the show)

    Parks & Rec- Renewed. I would cancel the show but I feel NBC does not want to admit that the total Thursday lineup is a failure.
    The New Normal- Cancelled. Bringing Parks & Rec back will mean that they will cancel this show. They will feel satisfied that they kept it for a whole season and did not give in to those who protested against the show. But they know that this show has no where else to go in the second season, IMO, this show is treated like a gimmick and once the baby is here, its novelty will have worn off.
    Guys with Kids- Cancelled. I would bring it back but I have a bad feeling for this show.
    Whitney- Cancelled The multi cam shows are left to die on Wednesday.

  • Josh

    @CBSviewer – I copied your titles because it was so neatly done! :)

    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 = Is this already canceled?
    Golden Boy = Canceled
    The Mentalist = Renewed
    Criminal Minds = Renewed
    CSI = Renewed
    CSI: NY = Renewed
    Blue Bloods = Renewed
    The Good Wife = Renewed
    Elementary = Renewed
    Person of Interest = Renewed
    The Big Bang Theory = Renewed
    Made in Jersey = canceled
    Partners = canceled
    Friend Me = ??

    Grey’s Anatomy = Renewed
    Scandal = Renewed
    Once Upon a Time = Renewed
    Revenge = Renewed
    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 = Renewed
    Castle = Renewed
    Nashville = Renewed
    Body of Proof = Renewed

    The Following = ???
    Ben and Kate = canceled
    New Girl = Renewed
    The Mindy Project = canceled
    Raising Hope = Renewed
    Glee = Renewed
    Touch = Renewed
    The Cleveland Show = Tough to tell
    The Simpsons = Renewed
    Bob’s Burgers = Renewed
    Family Guy = Renewed
    American Dad ! = Renewed

    Revolution = Renewed
    Whitney = canceled
    1600 Penn = canceled
    Parks & Recreation = Renewed (should be canceled)
    Parenthood = Renewed
    Deception = canceled :( Good show!
    Smash = Renewed
    Law & Order: SVU = Renewed
    Chicago Fire = Renewed
    Go On = Renewed
    Grimm = Renewed
    The New Normal = Tough to tell (Should be canceled)

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

  • LondonTown

    Parks and Rec is averaging a 1.7 in A18-34, which is 4 tenths higher than NBC’s network average of 1.3. This younger audience is valuable for NBC and in my opinion makes Parks a LOCK for renewal. Hopefully it will continue to grow in A18-49 in its new timeslot, as evidenced by last week’s season high in the ratings.

  • SJ


    Apartment 23 – cancelled (I believe the lowest-rated show on the big four still airing)
    Happy Endings – not continuing on ABC
    Last Man Standing – renewed (decent enough for Fridays)
    Malibu Country – renewed (see LMS)


    CSI: NY – renewed
    The Good Wife – renewed
    The Mentalist – cancelled


    Deception – cancelled (steep week 2 drop)
    The New Normal – renewed (for 13 episodes)
    Up All Night – cancelled (reworked 15 billion times, enough!)
    Whitney – cancelled (will never get to syndication with its S2 numbers)
    Guys With Kids – cancelled
    Parks and Rec – renewed for final 13-episode season
    Go On – renewed (not really on the bubble, but some people seem to have doubts)
    1600 Penn – cancelled
    Chicago Fire – renewed (see: Go On)


    The Mindy Project – renewed (It’s Mindy!)
    Ben & Kate – cancelled
    The Cleveland Show – cancelled


    Carrie Diaries – cancelled
    Hart of Dixie – renewed
    Nikita – renewed
    Beauty and the Beast – cancelled

  • bigbrotherfan

    Malibu Country CANCELED
    Cleveland Show RENEWED
    The Good Wife RENEWED
    The Mentalist RENEWED
    90210 CW Final 13 episode season
    Carrie Diaries CANCELED
    Hart Of Dixie RENEWED
    Nikita CW RENEWED
    Beauty And The Beast CANCELED
    The Mindy Project Fox Renewed RETOOL FOR SEASON 2
    1600 Penn NBC CANCELED
    Deception NBC CANCELED
    Guys With Kids NBC CANCELED

  • Jake

    I predict the following:
    cancellations for ABC:
    happy endings, don’t trust the B, the neighbors, malibu country, zero ground, red widow, family tools.
    for CBS:
    csi:ny, the mentalist, golden boy.
    for fox:
    the following, ben & kate, mindy project, the touch, cleveland show.
    for nbc:
    deception, guys with kids, chicago fire, up all night, 1600 penn, do no harm.

  • Jake

    I forgot whitney on NBC, that’ll get cancelled also.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures