Bubble Watch: 'The Following' Downgraded, Remain Calm All Is Well? + Community' & 'Zero Hour'

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

February 17th, 2013

It could be argued that The Following should've never been upgraded to likely renewal. It's been downgraded back to 'on the bubble." If you Google the phrase "remain calm all is well" you literally get Kevin Bacon as the top result. It's from the classic National Lampoon's Animal House (pictured above, video below).

One way or the other "remain calm, all is well" is good advice for fans of The Following to follow. Either in a real sense --if it stabilizes at around the 2.4 adults 18-49 rating, it will still certainly be renewed -- or in the Kevin Bacon-y 'Animal House' sense if it keeps dropping and dips down into the low 1.x ratings range.

Though Community premiered well last week, it still started on the bubble due to sparse data. In its second-week it fell 37% to a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating, and even though there's more data, and it wasn't "good", Community is still on the bubble. No need to get into the fan excuse bingo of "Valentine's Day" and post-premiere expectations. Right now, woeful as things are for NBC, a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating legitimately bubble show territory at NBC.

I've started Zero Hour at certain cancellation. Yes, there is only one data point, and yes it was Valentine's Day. But...

There are a few other minor tweaks versus last week that you can scrutinize at your leisure.

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
Zero Hour ABC Certain Cancellation
1600 Penn NBC Certain Cancellation
Guys with Kids NBC Certain Cancellation
Happy Endings ABC Likely Cancellation
CSI: NY CBS Likely Cancellation
Vegas CBS Likely Cancellation
90210 CW Likely Cancellation
Cleveland Show, The Fox Likely Cancellation
Touch Fox Likely Cancellation
Deception NBC Likely Cancellation
The New Normal NBC Likely Cancellation
Smash NBC Likely Cancellation
Up All Night NBC Likely Cancellation (Or already canceled?)
Last Man Standing ABC On The Bubble
Malibu Country ABC On The Bubble
Following, The Fox On The Bubble
Good Wife, The CBS On The Bubble
Mentalist, The CBS On The Bubble
Rules of Engagement CBS On The Bubble
Carrie Diaries, The CW On The Bubble
Hart of Dixie CW On The Bubble
Beauty and the Beast CW On The Bubble
Community NBC On The Bubble
Go On 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
Nikita CW 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
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
Arrow CW Renewed
Supernatural CW Renewed
Vampire Diaries, The CW 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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  • Cyrax86

    @Dan, Using Modern Family to premiere new comedies isn’t working that well so I think either Suburgatory, or How To Live… will stay there next season. It’s useless to predict how ABC will try to re-imagine Tuesdays, with or without comedies, but I think The Neighbors could work with Last Man Standing on Fridays. They can also save both shows for emergency purposes if new sitcoms flop.

    On a second thought, if you recall, How To Live… & Family Tools were supposed to air on Tuesdays at 8 pm after DWTS but that idea was scrapped, The Neighbors got the back nine and the two sitcoms were banished to April and May so it is not unlikely they don’t really have faith in them (see Save Me at NBC).

  • Kris

    Beauty and the Beast is definitely under rated. But the way the writers have put a modern twist to it with Beast being created by a military experiment gone wrong and the Beauty a tough independent cop, this show makes you impatient for the next episode! The actors have been well cast making the chemistry work well in the different relationships that are being developed. They won a PCA for new TV drama for a reason!

  • PurpleDrazi

    @Austin Lauran

    “Viewers think high quality over high ratings is more important while the CBS, ABC, & NBC execs think the opposite (even though millions of people hate TBBT & TAAHM which have better ratings than every NBC sitcom). But what is more important?”

    First – Quality is subjective. just because you don’t like a show doesn’t mean others do as well. Millions of people may hate TBBT but clearly MANY more millions love it and watch it.

    Second – Which is more important? What a silly question. TV is a business. They make money by getting high ratings. That’s what the execs care about. That’s ALL they care about.

  • omabin


    I agree with you that the ABC comedy situation is very hard to predict apart from the fact that the middle, suburgatory and MF will all be back next fall. I think it is safe to assume that LMS will also be back in some capacity though. Apart from that, it gets really tough. But that is the neighbours should be a bubble show and not a likely renewal, even if ratings alone don’t show it. Also, I also think that, in a comedy block, there is merit to the idea that if a show drops systematically between two higher rated shows, it is doing something wrong ratings-wise. Maybe this is a retentionista argument, but I just can’t see the network being happy with that. It’s the Partners paradigm all over again (or the Ben and Kate paradigm if you prefer)

  • jel

    good point about Mob Doctor. . . and that pulled dreafull numbers on a Monday. In a way, it might be interesting to see just how low the ratings for Touch can go.

  • Sunny

    The Following will take another major hit when The Voice and DWTS come back next month…

  • liddad

    I’ve seen a lot of non-avid Community fans saying they thought this week was a repeat. It’ll go up next week. Probably settle near the end of the season at the ratings it’s at right now. Maybe average a 1.4, 1.5 would be pushing it.

  • Douglas from Brazil


    Why Whitney still on the bubble?And Go On not in likely cancellation as The New Normal?

    Go On and The New Normal could be upgraded when The Voice returns but NBC would renew a show that only give decent ratings with a strong lead-in?
    Why NBC didn’t protect both shows as they did with Revolution?
    Because they know the show[Revolution] wouldn’t survive without The Voice.
    Parenthood should take the tuesday 10pm timeslot for the entire season.It works for NBC,replaced with Smash was a bad,very bad idea.
    And what about Revenge?Still likely renewal?Since the year started ratings have been dropping and yet have been downgraded.If doesn’t recover this sunday (even with The Walking Dead and the finale of Downtown Abbey competition) is certain cancellation in May.Suburgatory never should have been moved from its old timeslot.Every show premiered after Modern Family and then moved to another day is cancelled(i.e. Cougar Town,Apt. 23).ABC doesn’t know how to manage its schedule.

  • Dan

    @Cyrax86 – I think out of the two midseason series How to Live has a better shot then Family Tools which I think has zero chance for next season (It will only have aired 3 episodes by the uprfronts.

    ABC has a problem of having too many comedies this year, and what they will do for Tuesdays or fridays next season is hard to predict. The only thing I can say is The Middle, Modern Family, and Suburgatory will return

    @Sunny – Agreed but I don’t think The Following will hit hard enough to be axed. As long as it builds on Bones its fine.

    @Omabin – Its the Ben & Kate, Partners, Better With You, Up All Night, scenario all over again for The Neighbors that all 4 networks have experienced. The 8:00 show does Good then the 8:30 show dips then the 9:00 series rises back. The 8:30 series is always the weak link, which seems odd to me but that’s why I too have believed The Neighbors is bubble. However its on the positive end of the bubble while Happy Endings is on the negative end.

    @Liddad – They probably thought it was a repeat because general fans, who don’t follow the show figured that Season 4 premiered on October 19 and the Halloween episode already aired October 26. Thats why you don’t air a Halloween episode in February and NBC may be doing it again with The New Normal in March.

  • Dan

    @Douglas from Brazil – NBC figured Go On And The New Normal would probably work on their own and since those arent serialized dramas like Revolution, they didn’t get the FlashForward or The Event treatment like Revolution is getting. Also Whitney is bubble because its still doing better than 1600 Penn, Guys With Kids, Go On and The New Normal and while NBC will certainly renew Go On, the next show they are likely to renew from that list would be Whitney.

  • Alan B.

    I stay in UK and cannot understand how a show that has just premiered like Zero Hour is” likely to be cancelled” even before the show aired.American tv doesn’t give half decent scripted shows time to bed in before pulling the plug.Sometimes it can take a full season to show full potential.Deception is a fine example, a really decent show that I am sure will do better in oversea territories than in its home country….hope Zero Hour proves the critics wrong!If not at least the UK airs all the episode in the can….at least we will get to see the last 3 episodes of 666 Park Ave .

  • r0ckmypants

    @Alan B – First of all, Zero Hour hasn’t been canceled. This is a list of PREDICTIONS. No one has “pulled the plug” on it yet.

    Secondly, if a show premieres and no one watches it, the network isn’t making money so it won’t stay on the air. Maybe it’s different in the UK, but here in the US networks make money through ad revenue. If no one is watching the shows, they’re not watching the ads, and therefore the network is not making money. What’s confusing? TV is a business, plain and simple.

  • Dan

    @Rockmypants – The networks are making money regardless because the ad time is sold, but if shows dont do well enough in that particular timeslot then the network’s figure their is no reason to keep it around. For example ABC can easily air all of Zero Hour in the Thursday 8pm timeslot or they could pull it, but the series still will be cancelled.

  • networkman

    I am happy that ABC is repeating the premiere of Zero Hour Sunday night after Revenge. Alot of people missed the premiere, either because they were celebrating Valentine’s Day or chose not to miss The Big Bang Theory.

  • Pau

    Give Beauty and the Beast another season! Great writing, great chemistry!

  • Tested

    I think it was premature to put The Following as certain renewal -but it may now be premature to downgrade it. The ratings did fall – a lot – but it is only one data point. Let’s see if that’s a trend.

    Really am curious if Fox’s promotion of DVR use for this show was a huge mistake or a big experiment. Saw an LA Times story saying the debut was seen by 2.4 million on line or on demand. Again, irrelevant to this discussion, but potentially hurting these ratings.

  • Nicole

    @ Dan i would think the only bubble show would be Bunheads.. but everything else you said is probably true. Except the lying game i would think with its press releases lately and how its been holding steady it would be likely renewed. And i know you guys dont do a cancel renew index for ABCFamily shows but can someone give me a link to someone who does.?? Thanks.

  • Jt

    It might hurt a bit but major i don’t think so.

  • thesnowleopard

    I think the main debate over Zero Hour will be over whether it’s able to air out its entire run of 13 episodes. I liked the pilot, but that demo is pretty bad. Sure, it’s not Do No Harm levels of bad, but even so.

  • Matt

    I’d say if it was down to viewers, MC and LMS would be on “certain cancellation”. MC and LMS do excellent for Fridays in viewers, especially for ABC. But, when it comes down to the key demographic, I guess they would be on the bubble, even if they do do average for scripted Friday shows.

    Also, I don’t think Revenge is in any danger. It’s been doing better than last year. It has only slid these past 3 episodes because ABC has stupidly scheduled it against major TV telecast events, (i.e. Grammy’s, SAG Awards, etc.) Even if it does rebound only slightly to around a 1.8 tonight, I still dont think it will be walking on eggshells.

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