Bubble Watch: 'Community,' 'Smash,' and 'Touch' Return + 'Mindy Project' Upgraded

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

February 10th, 2013

Community returned higher to a 1.9 adults 18-49 rating at 8pm. I've got it "on the bubble" because there's only one data point. If Community stays in the ratings neighborhood it premiered in, it's a lock for renewal.

Smash's return wasn't as happy for NBC with its two-hour season premiere netting just a dismal 1.2 adults 18-49 rating, so dismal for a season premiere that even with only one data point I've got it as a likely cancellation. Consistency zealots who are Smash fans, feel free to wail "but Community only has one data point!"

In preliminary numbers, Touch returned to a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating in its two hour return. It started with a 1.1 in its first half hour and fell to a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating in its final half-hour.  I have it on the bubble for now, but though the ratings are similar to Fringe's, with only 26 episodes after this season, Touch will still be miles away from stripped (Mon-Fri) syndication. It's ratings may be similar to Fringe's, but it's in a different (some might say "sinking") boat.

I've probably been overly swayed by a twitter-feed full of TV media types, but my perception from reading them is that Mindy Kaling must be  the most lovable person in the history of the entire world and Fox will look for any reason to renew The Mindy Project. Is "it just posted its best 18-49 rating in four months" (with a 1.9) reason enough? Good enough for me to bump it up to a likely renewal.

Excluding Community, which is too soon to tell, I still have most of the low-rated NBC sitcoms (other than 1600 Penn which is a likely cancellation) on the bubble. Clearly they won't all be renewed, but looking ahead the picture is still cloudy. The return of The Voice might help clear the picture up but that return is still six weeks away and I doubt I'll wait that long to start downgrading.

Update: D'oh! My apologies to "Rules of Engagement" fans, I forgot to add "Rules" to the table or mention it. It's there now and it's "on the bubble"....

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 Canceled
Happy Endings ABC Likely Cancellation
CSI: NY CBS Likely Cancellation
Vegas CBS Likely Cancellation
1600 Penn NBC Likely Cancellation
Deception NBC Likely Cancellation
Smash 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
Touch Fox On The Bubble
Good Wife, The CBS On The Bubble
Mentalist, The CBS On The Bubble
Rules of Engagement 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
Community NBC 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
Mindy Project, The Fox 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
Chicago Fire NBC 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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  • SJ

    As to the probability of ABC drama renewals, this is all I am going to say:

    Grey’s Anatomy > Once Upon a Time > Revenge > Scandal > Castle > Nashville.

    However, I expect all six to be renewed, likely alongside Body of Proof, but a scenario in which ABC renews Nashville and not Castle and especially Revenge, is ludicrous.

    Should Castle’s ratings keep falling (that 1.8 for a big sweeps episode was not pretty!) and if BOP’s rises, it wouldn’t totally surprise me to see Castle pushed to mid-season with a reduced, possibly final-season order.

    Touch and Smash are pretty much dead in the water. I believe that Rules of Engagement (un)officially shot its series finale this season, I’ve heard rumors about it. The actors’ contracts are up and they don’t expect to be back next year. CBS could just premiere that Chuck Lorre comedy in its time slot and call it a day. Maybe order two more sitcoms for mid-season and create a Friday block…

    The only reason 1600 Penn isn’t pulled yet is because Do No Harm did much worse. If they don’t find anything else to put in that 10pm slot, it will likely stay put, as it’s not looking like Save Me will ever get made.

    (Speaking of, how many shows have been in development hell this season at NBC? Hannibal, Crossbones, Dracula, Save Me, Next Caller and the ever-suffering Up All Night. That’s quite a lot.)


    May sweeps begin a week later this year. I’d bet the Billboard Music Awards are on the 26th, which means that Revenge (and Once) would likely be on hiatus from April 7-May 5.

  • SJ

    …and yes, as depressing as it is, a 1.7-1.8 for Mindy Project does make it a likely renewal…

  • DW

    when i say that RH is on the bubble , it is on fox. that trumps everything else. never trust the execs at fox.

  • Austin Lauran

    I have another question to ask:

    What do you think will be the year that any CBS, ABC, NBC shows cracking low 1’s in the demo will be considered megahits?

  • brian I

    Am i the only one that misses Revenge in its Wednesday schedule?

  • Ultima

    May sweeps begin a week later this year. I’d bet the Billboard Music Awards are on the 26th

    May sweeps are 25 April – 22 May; the Billboard Music Awards are 19 May.

  • Dan

    @DW – Fox may be sly in terms of canceling shows but never if they can make money of syndication, especially with shows they own. Raising Hope is a lock, until it is renewed in May people will still believe that it may get cancelled.

    @Brian I – I do, Sundays are way too crowded around 9:00, Football, Family Guy/American Dad, Good Wife, Walking Dead, Revenge, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire/Girls/Enlightened. DVR Overload!!

    @SJ – You are correct, Rules is done but it had a good run, and at least the show knew they were going out and made a finale unlike last year where they were cut in mid production and had no time to craft a finale. You’re right about 1600 Penn also, NBC cant pull all failing shows which is why they will let Deception, 1600 Penn and Smash burn through their runs without pulling them while Do No Harm may be burned in the summer. Keep in mind Do No Harm is only NBC’s second cancellation this year not counting Next Caller and the longest NBC has gone before cancelling a drama into a season in years.

    With Fox, Touch will be cancelled in May but since they kept Mob Doctor on Mondays all season and tolerated other low rated bombs, Touch will air all 13 episodes this season. They cant be surprised that Touch has done just as badly as Fringe succeeding it in that slot even after delaying it 4 months.

    As for ABC’s dramas I expect all 6 to be back next year, with Nashville maybe on the fence, but if ABC can salvage a drama from this season (If Zero Hour and Red Widow both flop) then they will save Nashville and as for Castle, while that may be the next veteran to get a “final season” next season, as long as it holds steady in its slot, ABC can still keep it around. With Body of Proof, it hasn’t premiered yet so it can honestly go either way and with Private Practice done, its safe to say we will see Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Scandal, and Nashville next fall.

  • Dave

    I admit that The Mindy Project started off slow but it’s slowly progressed and its a very funny show. I laughed so hard during the most resent episode. I hope it makes it.

    Isn’t it time for Nikita to be upgraded to at least a likely renewal?

    I agree with making 90210 a likely cancellation.

    I’m hoping TCD and Beauty makes it with Hart cancelled.

  • Oliver


    it’s not looking like Save Me will ever get made.

    I will be surprised if Save Me doesn’t air. It’s currently in production and NBC has a gap in their schedule (Wed 8pm after Whitney ends) that needs to be filled by something.

    I believe a lot of the people involved worked with Greenblatt at Showtime and with other NBC execs, which is why it exists in the first place despite being self-evidently insane and unmarketable.

  • Just Desserts


    ABC might need some wild experimenting if they are going to keep both The Neighbors and Suburgatory + any new comedies.

    Whether it’s cutting newer seasons in half and extending some episodes into the summer or using possibly viable time slots on Mondays at 8 pm or Sundays at 9 pm, I don’t know. Maybe, they even consider moving Revenge to a new time since the current experiment is a pass.

  • Dan

    @Dave – I believe Nikita should be likely renewal at least both syndication wise and its numbers have risen. However I don’t think 90210 should be down graded just yet. Its ratings are garbage but I’m convinced CW will give this a final season. Like Gossip Girl, 90210 helped CW 5 years ago so they will wrap it up. I think in terms of this list its safe to leave both Nikita and 90210 on the bubble, however if both are renewed for 2013-2014 I guarantee both will be that seasons canceled/ended series. As for Mindy Project the episode you watched was the second of the show’s retooling which in my opinion focuses more on Mindy’s relationship with her 2 male doctor coworkers (and Ike Barinholtz) as well as her dating life As opposed to it being a larger ensemble comedy. I think its better now and the retooling in this case indicates that FOX wants to keep the show.

    @Oliver – Do you or anyone know how many episodes save Me has? 13? 8? 6? It would be a good successor to 1600 Penn at 9:30 Thurs or maybe pairing with Whitney’s last 5 eps March-April 8:30 Wed.

  • Dan

    @Just Desserts – I’m sure they will keep both probably in the same way they kept both Apartment 23 and Happy Endings. By moving them away from the Wednesday Comedy Safe Haven and putting them on another night. It will be interesting and hard to predict to see what ABC does. The only thing Id know for a fact is that The Middle will stay at 8:00 and Modern Family will stay at 9.

    According to Futoncritic Save Me has 13 episodes, personally I’d pair it with Whitney on Wednesdays from March 6-April 3 then move it to 9:30 post Office on April 18 after 1600 Penn wraps up. Through NBC may just double it up on Wednesdays.

  • senor chang

    @Bill Gorman
    “Last year I had it as “certain to be canceled”. I still have not heard a compelling, logical argument, with any sort of data backing it up why it might have been renewed. The most interesting reason I’ve heard is that there was some sort of tax rebate or credit that caused its net cost to be very low, but I know no details.”

    You might want to read this. Body of Proof does very, very good business for ABC Studios internationally and has the benefit of being one of their only successful procedurals (since most of their shows tend to be soapy, serialized fare).

    Just so you know, I’m getting my data from this thread (and referencing the following post): http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=47440278&postcount=2793

  • SJ

    @Just Desserts

    Revenge is still doing better than last year. Its ratings will pick back up once it’s back to airing on a normal schedule against regular competition. ABC really should now by know not to air scripted programming from mid-December until after the Oscars. Plus I think Once and Revenge are the kind of shows that would benefit from having split seasons – 11 episodes in the fall, 11 after the Oscars. Wife Swap, Winter Wipeout or a burn-off of a failed show (hello, 666 Park Avenue!) could air against football, Golden Globes and all the rest…


    So then the season’s end doesn’t coincide with the end of May sweeps? Because I was under the impression that the last day of the “regular” season was Wednesday, May 29.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @senor chan, We’ve had comments containing similar claims on our site for BOP (and other shows), and that’s all they were. Claims. No data. No backup. And while the fact that BOP was one of their only procedurals is true, it was hardly “successful” by any metric available to the public.

    The problem with all anecdotal claims that run counter to pattern like those is that why would the show ever be canceled?

    International sales suddenly vanished?

    It suddenly wasn’t a procedural?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “So then the season’s end doesn’t coincide with the end of May sweeps? Because I was under the impression that the last day of the “regular” season was Wednesday, May 29.”

    That is interesting. The May sweeps period is indeed Apr 25 – May 22, but I hadn’t bothered to look it up until now.

    However, I also had the end of the season as May 29 just on the basis of “35 weeks plus 3 days” after Sept 22.

  • Dan

    The fact that Body of Proof was a procedural may have helped. It wasn’t a horribly rated series like Harry’s Law. These are the numbers from it’s Season 2 premiere to its season finale. 2.2, 1.8, 2.0, 1.8, 1.9, 1.5, 1.5, 1.6, 1.6, 1.2, 1.5,, 1.4, 1.4, 2.0, 2.0, 1.9. The first 1.5 to the last 1.4 were for all episodes between Dancing cycles and when Dancing returned the show upticked to a 2.0. That could of led to the show’s renewal yet the site figured that the show’s low rated Dec 6-Mar 13 would be what ABC saw that the series would achieve on its own and based on that (And at the time in Jan-Mar there were no other dramas that were in danger of being cancelled that hadn’t been until The River and Missing premiered).

    Whatever the case the website and everyone else figured that based on ABC’s success, they had no reason to keep Body of Proof but ABC probably figured that they could use it. We’ll see if their decision paid off on Tuesday February 19.

  • Jason

    The real reason why I think FOX will renew The Mindy Project is because they just don’t have a single new sitcom and cancelling all of their new sitcoms would be a recipe for disaster and a severe loss of money.

  • Dan

    Body of Proof’s number uptick following Dancing last season may foreshadow what could happen to Go On and The New Normal. Between Voice cycles Go On and The New Normal’s numbers have been garbage and the show will air two more times Feb 19 and Feb 26 before returning on March 26 to air 5 more episodes post Voice. Both comedies will likely do better due to The Voice (Maybe even helping Smash’s numbers) and therefore both comedies will probably get a second season renewal. I expect NBC will try to use Go On and The New Normal as well as Parks to rebuild Thursdays but that is just my theory.

  • Dan

    @Jason – Also I doubt FOX would want to go 0-3 by canceling Ben & Kate, The Goodwin Games and Mindy Project. Mindy’s numbers have gotten better and if Fox wants to rebuild Tuesdays next season its better to use 3 returning comedies and 1 new comedy rather than have 2 returning comedies and 2 new comedies like they did last fall.

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