Bubble Watch: Super Chicken When It Comes To Low-Rated NBC Sitcoms + 'The Following' Upgraded

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

February 3rd, 2013

Even though it's only aired two-episodes, I've upgraded The Following to likely renewal. It's current ratings say certain renewal, but, again, it has only aired two episodes and is not out of the woods yet. Last week I reminded readers that Alcatraz opened well only to wind up canceled. Unlike Alcatraz, The Following improved in its second airing  from a 3.2 adults 18-49 rating to a 3.3.

Alcatraz dropped three tenths in its second week, but to a still healthy 3.0 adults 18-49 rating. Similar to Alcatraz's second episode, the second episode of the The Following aired against repeats on CBS.  CBS is all new this Monday and has the Super Bowl the night before to pimp its lineup...

For now other than Up All Night which has been on the bench a while, and 1600 Penn , and since it's "Super" Bowl Sunday, I'm going the route of that great super hero of my youth, Super Chicken, and have moved all the other recently very low-rated NBC sitcoms to the bubble.

I've seen many choruses of "I knew NBC would miss Sunday Night Football and The Voice!" (uhm, duh!) while Chicago Fire fans fire back "Yeah, yeah, maybe people don't like those shows, our show isn't missing The Voice or the NFL!"

While I still give Go On and Whitney an edge over Guys with Kids and The New Normal, at this point it's be ridiculous to list Guys with Kids as a likely cancellation and Go On as a likely renewal. It wouldn't be ridiculous to leave Guys with Kids as a likely cancellation and just move Go On on the bubble, but  with their recent ratings convergence I'm going the "cluck, cluck, cluck Super Chicken!" route.

Either way, NBC has to be especially disappointed in the ratings erosion for Go On.

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
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 ABC Canceled
Last Resort ABC Canceled
Made in Jersey CBS Canceled
Partners CBS Canceled
Emily Owens, M.D. CW Canceled
Ben and Kate Fox Canceled
The Mob Doctor Fox Canceled
Animal Practice NBC Canceled
Do No Harm NBC Certain Cancellation
Happy Endings ABC Likely Cancellation
CSI: NY CBS Likely Cancellation
Vegas CBS Likely Cancellation
1600 Penn NBC Likely Cancellation
Deception 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
Mindy Project, The Fox On The Bubble
Good Wife, The CBS On The Bubble
Mentalist, The 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
Go On NBC On The Bubble
Guys with Kids NBC On The Bubble
New Normal, The NBC On The Bubble
Whitney NBC On The Bubble
Castle ABC Likely Renewal
Neighbors, The ABC Likely Renewal
Revenge ABC Likely Renewal
Suburgatory ABC Likely Renewal
Elementary CBS Likely Renewal
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Likely Renewal
Following, The Fox Likely Renewal
Chicago Fire NBC Likely Renewal
Law & Order: SVU NBC Likely Renewal
Parks & Recreation NBC Likely Renewal
Grey's Anatomy ABC Certain Renewal
Middle, The ABC Certain Renewal
Modern Family ABC Certain Renewal
Nashville 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: 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
Big Bang Theory, The CBS Renewed
How I Met Your Mother CBS Renewed
NCIS CBS Renewed
American Dad Fox Renewed
Bob's Burgers Fox Renewed
Bones Fox Renewed
Family Guy Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Private Practice ABC Final SeasonFinished
Gossip Girl CW Final SeasonFinished
Fringe Fox Final SeasonFinished
30 Rock NBC Final Season Finished
The Office NBC Final Season


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  • Fred


    I hardly would define Castle a procedural. More like a mystery with comic overtones.
    Even BOP is not a TRUE procedural .CBS seems to have the procedural genre almost all to themselves .However BOP was an obvious attempt to cash in on the procedural bandwagon.

  • Rollie Dethloff

    @ Ted Craig
    No, I was just trying to come up with something. What’s wrong with it?

  • Just Desserts

    Haha! :) A reversal of fates.

    GOON and The New Normal sucks!!!

    The Neighbors holding steady.

    Told you so, told you so, told you so.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Michael: “NBC is only a dog in prime time. They are #1 in early morning, evening news, and late night. Also, NBC’s non-scripted shows do great. Their only problem is their scripted shows.”

    True – but that’s all we care about here, really. When people talk about NBC being lower relative to the other networks, it’s about their scripted shows.

    Dave: “I believe it was deadline that reported that the show was a huge international seller for ABC studios.”

    I did see in Wikipedia that it was number one in the UK – but it was a tiny number of viewers, so unless it’s great elsewhere I don’t see the real revenue for the network.

    “It could’ve been a PR stunt but I believe the spike in the last few episodes of Season 2 and dive downward for other shows was the reason for its renewal.”

    I wonder which was more important – the spike or the downward movement of the other shows. It did spike considerably back up to 2.0 for the two-part episode and then down a tenth for the finale.

    At this point, though, it has zero syndication possibilities unless it does a full 22 episodes, since it has only aired 29 episodes so far. At the end of this season – IF it gets a back nine – it will only have aired 51 episodes – still 37 episodes short of syndication – almost a season and a half.

    So unless it can maintain over 2.0 all this season and get a back nine – which I find highly doubtful – this should be its last season.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Fred: I disagree. We can quibble over definitions, but to me a procedural is any show that begins and ends a story plot in one episode without a significant multi-episode or season-long story arc. By that definition, Castle and BOP are both procedural.

    Of course, there are character developments over a season in any show, and there may be some minor sub-plots (such as the Castle-Beckett romance) that continue over multiple episodes. But that doesn’t make the show “serial”. There are serial elements but the show is primarily procedural.

    For example, Nikita’s first two season were highly serial. You had to know what went on before, even if any given episode was devoted to just one mission. For season two, the first three episodes were almost entirely procedural. You knew Amanda was an issue, but the premise was to bring in rogue Division agents, a different one each week. That made the show procedural up until episode four. Since then there have been a couple more procedural episodes. Whether the show will revert to serial is unknown at this point but presumably it will. Whether it will stay serial for the rest of the season is unknown. If it doesn’t, I think the quality will go down somewhat because an overall story arc provides focus to the writers.

    “More like a mystery with comic overtones.”

    That’s talking about genre. Procedural does not necessarily equate with “police drama” although that genre is where you find a lot of procedurals. Fringe, a sci-fi genre show, started out as a procedural (with a background mystery), but only became heavily serial later. In fact, Fringe was frequently a combination of serial and procedural in many episodes. I suspect that was one of the reasons it lasted as long as it did, even as it was one of the reasons it began losing viewers the more serial it became.

  • Greg Chenoweth

    I like this article just for the fact that you have Super Chicken for the picture.

  • Honey Badger

    NBC without NBC Sunday Night NFL Football and ” The Voice”
    NBC has to make some big moves or they are in trouble

    CBS Leads Among Adults 18-49 & With Total Viewers in Week 19 Ending February 3, 2013

    Written By Sara Bibel

    In week 19 of the broadcast television season ending Sunday, February 3, 2013, CBS came in first place among adults 18-49 with a 8.9 rating average. FOX came in second with a 2.2. ABC was third with a 1.4. NBC was fourth with a 1.2. The CW finished last with a 0.6 adults 18-49 rating average.

    CBS won the week with total viewers, with 27.997 million viewers, ahead of second place FOX with 6.233 million viewers. ABC was third with 4.661 million. NBC was fourth with 3.8550 million followed by the CW with 1.606 million.

    Each adults 18-49 rating point is a percentage of the adults 18-49 US TV population and equals 1.265 million adults 18-49.

    You can see last week’s broadcast network primetime weekly TV ratings results here.

    Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2013 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.
    Follow TV by the Numbers on Twitter, Facebook or RSS for all the latest.

  • Honey Badger

    @ Bill Gorman and Robert Seidman
    You are famous, appearing on prime time television shows.

    Tonight on they mentioned the Cancellation Bear on “ Suburgatory “ on ABC, Original Airdate: 2/06/2013; they even had a picture of a Cancellation Bear. They used this to cancel Tessa’s Teen talk or body talk show.

    tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com has become national big deal
    Better to Follow The Bear, Than Be Chased By Him. This season you can follow the Cancellation Bear on Twitter via @TheCancelBear. The Cancellation Bear will retweet all the Renew/Cancel Index post titles and links as well as engage in a little more back and forth banter than we do on our standard @TVbytheNumbers Twitter feed.

  • bruce

    please all those with any connection have Nikita and Whitney canceled

  • geri

    I have asked this question on other sites. Maybe you can answer. I like Elementary a lot, but I also like Vegas. So, why is Vegas courting cancellation and Elemenary is sure to be renewed? The numbers for both are almost the same.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    I have asked this question on other sites. Maybe you can answer. I like Elementary a lot, but I also like Vegas. So, why is Vegas courting cancellation and Elemenary is sure to be renewed? The numbers for both are almost the same..

    Geri, not sure about total viewers, we don’t track them because they are essentially irrelevant to renew/cancel decisions. But in average adults 18-49 ratings, which are a widely available and very good proxy of the viewers advertisers care about reaching in broadcast network primetime, the ratings of the two shows aren’t close. Elementary’s are *much* better — this past week, nearly 50% better.

    That said, don’t be surprised if you see Elementary downgraded to only “likely renewal” soon.

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