Bubble Watch: Why 'Last Man Standing' Is Still On The Bubble & 'Beauty and the Beast' Is Likely to Be Canceled + Format Change

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

March 17th, 2013


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.

Beauty and the Beast & The Carrie Diaries

I’ve downgraded Beauty and the Beast to likely cancellation. I’ve left The Carrie Diaries on the bubble, but it’s by the slimmest of margins and I was tempted to downgrade it too. I understand Bill’s and others' thinking that if you’re not sure the CW would cancel both of those shows (or even either of them) due to need for shows on next season’s schedule, that relative to each other which one stays and which one goes definitely seems like a tossup. But while lead-in and retention are rarely a predictive factor in renewals, I think they matter in this case and in ways that aren't favorable at all for Beauty and the Beast.

It's true that The Carrie Diaries gets the lead-in from CW affiliates syndicated programming, but that's not been nearly as good as the cover The Vampire Diaries provides Beauty and the Beast. And while with the better lead-in Beauty and the Beast has recently outperformed The Carrie Diaries with adults 18-49, with the women 18-34 both shows presumably target, The Carrie Diaries is ahead in recent episodes.

I’m pretty sure CW will cancel one of the two. I’m not as certain that they will cancel both, but I still don't love the chances for either show, I just like The Carrie Diaries a teeny tiny bit more. Even with the lament "but The Carrie Diaries doesn't have to face off against Grey's Anatomy and Beauty and the Beast does!" I still like Carrie's prospects just a bit better.

At this point it doesn't seem likely that I'll upgrade Beauty and the Beast before the season ends, but the chances I'll downgrade The Carrie Diaries to likely cancellation remain high.

Last Man Standing & Malibu Country

Along with many readers, Bill made a compelling case for upgrading Last Man Standing to likely renewal. I won’t be surprised by that outcome, but in a world where success possibly equals doing worse than reruns of Shark Tank, and no recent history on ABC to use as a guideline (or recent history* with any Friday 30 minute sitcoms being renewed on  any broadcast network) I still shrug my shoulders and think “I don’t know.” So I went the other way on this one, I left Last Man Standing on the bubble and downgraded the noticeably worse performer Malibu Country to likely cancellation.

*If you think “Family Matters, Boy Meets World and others thrived on Friday!” counts as  recent history I am defining “recent” much differently than you!

New Format

Shortly after posting last week’s Bubble Watch, I changed the table format to get rid of the distinction between likely and certain. For now, I’m sticking with the approach, though I have (hopefully) improved some of the terminology to be less confusing than what I used last week.  Gone are the “likely” and “certain” distinctions. All that remains are “renewed” and “canceled” predictions.  I still have grouped the shows that have already been canceled or renewed separately and have attempted to label things in such a way that it’s quite clear what’s already been decided and what are predictions. Update: I have changed the table to improve readability further based on a suggestion from commenter JulieDawn.

The new presentation format doesn't mean all the renewal predictions are as likely as each other, or all the cancellation predictions. Of course I don't think The Neighbors' chances* are as good as Modern Family's. Same for Red Widow (a certain cancellation) and Malibu Country (a likely cancellation). Both appear the same on the table with a "canceled" prediction, but I don't view their prospects the same. But I still think Modern Family & The Neighbors will be renewed and that Red Widow and Malibu Country will be canceled so despite levels of likelihood, I don't think the distinctions matter much as far as the table goes. We'll see.

*"The Neighbors barely did better on a Wednesday than Last Man Standing did on Friday, how can you not upgrade Last Man Standing!? At least you should downgrade The Neighbors!!!" If you're one of those people, let's just say that when ABC airs 5 programs on a Wednesday and four of them are repeats with The Neighbors being the only one that isn't, I don't make too much of the ratings.

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
Private Practice ABC Final Season Finished
Zero Hour ABC Canceled
Made in Jersey CBS Canceled
Partners CBS Canceled
90210 CW Canceled/Final Season
Emily Owens, M.D. CW Canceled
Gossip Girl CW Final Season Finished
Ben and Kate Fox Canceled
Fringe Fox Final Season Finished
The Mob Doctor Fox Canceled
30 Rock NBC Final Season Finished
Animal Practice NBC Canceled
Do No Harm NBC Canceled
Office, The NBC Final Season
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
Following, The Fox Renewed
Mindy Project, The Fox Renewed
New Girl Fox Renewed
Raising Hope Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Malibu Country ABC Cancellation Predicted
Red Widow ABC Cancellation Predicted
Body of Proof ABC Cancellation Predicted
Happy Endings ABC Cancellation Predicted
CSI: NY CBS Cancellation Predicted
Golden Boy CBS Cancellation Predicted
Vegas CBS Cancellation Predicted
Beauty and the Beast CW Cancellation Predicted
Cult CW Cancellation Predicted
Touch Fox Cancellation Predicted
Cleveland Show, The Fox Cancellation Predicted
1600 Penn NBC Cancellation Predicted
Guys with Kids NBC Cancellation Predicted
Up All Night NBC Cancellation Predicted
Deception NBC Cancellation Predicted
The New Normal NBC Cancellation Predicted
Smash NBC Whoops, should've been moved to canceled
Last Man Standing ABC 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
Community NBC On The Bubble
Go On NBC On The Bubble
Whitney NBC On The Bubble
Castle ABC Renewal Predicted
Neighbors, The ABC Renewal Predicted
Revenge ABC Renewal Predicted
Suburgatory ABC Renewal Predicted
Grey's Anatomy ABC Renewal Predicted
Middle, The ABC Renewal Predicted
Modern Family ABC Renewal Predicted
Nashville ABC Renewal Predicted
Once Upon a Time ABC Renewal Predicted
Scandal ABC Renewal Predicted
Elementary CBS Renewal Predicted
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Renewal Predicted
2 Broke Girls CBS Renewal Predicted
Blue Bloods CBS Renewal Predicted
Criminal Minds CBS Renewal Predicted
CSI CBS Renewal Predicted
Mike & Molly CBS Renewal Predicted
NCIS: Los Angeles CBS Renewal Predicted
Person of Interest CBS Renewal Predicted
Two and a Half Men CBS Renewal Predicted
Hart of Dixie CW Renewal Predicted
Nikita CW Renewal Predicted
Glee Fox Renewal Predicted
Law & Order: SVU NBC Renewal Predicted
Parks & Recreation NBC Renewal Predicted
Chicago Fire NBC Renewal Predicted
Grimm NBC Renewal Predicted
Parenthood NBC Renewal Predicted
Revolution NBC Renewal Predicted


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  • Nick

    Well, it appears I’m late. Bill already proved my point. Damn my phone and its stupid refresh!

  • Nick

    Never mind, it appears I’m late to the conversation.

  • Nick

    What’s with the comments?

  • Nick

    OK, it’s not the comments, just my phone. Stupid thing.

  • Rich

    2 broke girls ROCK

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Bill: Yes, I get that now. Yes, I was surprisingly confused about WHICH total viewership was involved.

    That’s why Ultima didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand him. He kept yelling that total viewers wasn’t important and I kept yelling that I was talking about demo viewership, not total viewership.

    Which meant his points, albeit true, made no sense to me, and my points (other than my confusion on 19-49 viewers), also true, made no sense to him.

    I’m still right that the season average – an average of averages – is a perfectly valid number generally, however imprecise. I’m still not sure that the DEGREE of rounding matters much even in viewers as well as the rate, except perhaps at very low season averages.

    So again the whole argument is mostly moot. If someone wants to claim .49 is equal to .64, fine, whatever. Doesn’t help any of the CW low rated shows one whit.

    The PRECISION of the numbers still doesn’t really matter in general (except to the advertisers, as opposed to the networks) since the whole measurement is an “estimate”.

  • JM

    Liked Last Man Standing last year, but the first show of the season TURNED us off so bad, we never watched another show. We do like the Mentalist. CBS
    has our favorite shows.

  • Brendan


  • Jacob

    demo ratings are a joke. On network tv you advertise to the total number of viewers. If you want to target a demo there are alternatives, Live tv is dead!
    Nielsen ratings are as reliable as the weather network.

  • Angellica .T.

    Pretty please renew the secret Circle

  • Cass

    @Richard Steven Hack
    I’m still right that the season average – an average of averages – is a perfectly valid number generally, however imprecise. I’m still not sure that the DEGREE of rounding matters much even in viewers as well as the rate, except perhaps at very low season averages.

    I believe Ultima’s point all along was that your season average you keep referencing which goes to 2 sig figs while the ratings are only 1 sig fig is inaccurate. Because math. :)

    Since the CW has multiple shows in the 0.4-0.7 range, the degree of rounding matters more than for say, a popular show like 2 and a Half Men (referenced earlier). Again, this is not about rounding errors. This is about casting doubt on any hard numbers re: comparing low-rated CW shows to other low-rated CW shows.

    So again the whole argument is mostly moot. If someone wants to claim .49 is equal to .64, fine, whatever. Doesn’t help any of the CW low rated shows one whit.

    The argument isn’t moot. Ultima has never once stated that 0.64=0.49. He only took exception to your statement that BatB’s ratings are way more, significantly, way better (etc.) than TCD’s. What you say very well could be true. But it’s impossible to know with certainty due to rounding errors all around and the fact that the difference between 0.4 and 0.5 in A18-49 total viewers can be minuscule.

    The PRECISION of the numbers still doesn’t really matter in general (except to the advertisers, as opposed to the networks) since the whole measurement is an “estimate”.

    Yes, everything is an estimate. So? Isn’t that like saying because Nielsen’s numbers all come from a theoretically proportional and representative sample of US viewing households that we shouldn’t care about parsing out the numbers too precisely because estimate!? Networks have access to more precise data than we do and advertisers make their decisions based on more relevant/accurate data (C+3 and whatnot).

    But just because all we laymen have are estimates doesn’t mean we should either 1) take the estimates as gospel or 2) ignore errors that get bigger and bigger the lower-rated the show.

  • Cass

    Nielsen ratings are as reliable as the weather network.

    Even assuming that were true (highly unlikely), I’d rather have trained number crunchers giving us the lay of the land than attempting to quantify prestige! (People’s Choice Awards, doncha know??), social media! (OMFG, trending on Twitter), online legal/illegal viewers, etc etc. into “more accurate” ratings. :P

  • Normie

    I love that one of my favourite shows, Parenthood, is showing a rating of “likely to be renewed.” I am keeping my fingers crossed for Tim Allen’s show, Last Man Standing. For me, it is a no-brainer and I hope that enough people see it the way I do.

  • Martine

    Grimm and Person of Interest yay

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