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


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • David Howell

    Most of the bubble shows this year feel like questions of scheduling:

    Carrie Diaries – does the CW renew one Dawn-era type show to pair up with HOD on a white flag Monday against The Voice, or do they dump HOD into a syndication sanctuary Friday along the lines of parent net CBS? If BATB can’t match TCD in W18-34 it’s toast, but TCD is a tough call.
    Good Wife/Mentalist – I suspect the decision here is between both being renewed or a new sitcom block replacing one of them. I don’t see how CBS doesn’t expand comedy time when they’ve got so many sitcom pilots, more than one of which is heavily hyped, and (this is the clincher for me) most of which are singlecams. I’m expecting a Super Clyde/Crazy Ones hour (in either order) somewhere on the slate, though goodness only knows when. Unless that “when” is Wednesday 8/7c and Survivor timeshares with TAR, something has to go! I think that might now be Mentalist, the upside potential for TGW is much greater with the syndie deal and CBS owning the show.
    Rules – easily worthy of renewal if and only if sitcom time is expanded… Except that expansion will likely be into singlecams, Spade has done a pilot for something else, and it’s been superceded by an even bigger utility player – TBBT reruns. It’s gone. Unless Spade’s pilot isn’t picked up and NBC want something else that can get them Parks and Recreation numbers…
    LMS – does ABC want TGIF? If they do, it stays. If they don’t, it goes. I think the alternative is a Shark Tank/Nightline/2020 Friday slate.
    NBC sitcoms – how many can they afford to replace?!? I Offering the three, Go On needs to go, but won’t because it’d be admitting they couldn’t launch anything out of the Olympics and their strong fall was a genuine mirage; Community might depend on the syndication economics, and I’d not be shocked to see originals on Comedy Central (two short seasons and a TV movie? ;)) if that’s how the syndication economics work; Whitney reruns well enough that NBC might be tempted to nurse it to 88. I’d say Community is the strongest, but how much of its audience DVRs it and watches TBBT live? This might be a show that underperforms in C+3.

  • Thiago

    Bye Bye Beauty and the Beast

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Ultima: “You’re just making up numbers. 0.6 is not necessarily 0.60.”

    Then what is it? And why are we looking at them every week if it isn’t? I am aware that the numbers go out to more decimals than that, of course. That’s irrelevant to the point. I don’t care if .6 is .60 or ,65. What matters is the relative size of those numbers to other numbers. .6, .60 and .65 are all still mathematically larger than .4, .45 or .49.

    We only care about relative numbers here.

    “The average of 0.6 and 0.5 is not necessarly 0.55. That’s not how math works”

    Yes, it is IF the percentages refer to the same base objects – which TV ratings do. They measure the percentage of people watching TV for the season. A 1.0 rating equals 1.265 million people in the 18-49 demo. That’s the same measure being used for every TV show and the ratings week to week are measuring the exact same number for any given TV show and between TV shows. Therefore all the percentages refer to the exact same weightings. Only if those weightings were different – such as between 18-49 and 18-34 demos, which they are measuring different numbers – would it be unwise to compute an average of the percentages.

    “you can’t just average up a bunch of rounded numbers and claim you have some percise value.”

    Yes, you can, as long as the numbers are measuring the same thing, i.e., the source of the percentages are derived from the same numbers measuring the same objects – which is the case here.

    That’s what this site does and every other site that adds up the numbers from each episode and divides by the number of episodes.

    What you’re arguing here is that the entire notion of a season average is bogus and doesn’t exist.

    Tell that to the guys here and every other site that computes a season average.

    Your argument that there is a rounding error – from where, I don’t know – that may make the difference between .49 and .64 within the margin of error may be true or not. I don’t see anyone caring here or elsewhere.

    The bottom line: If we can’t tell the difference between TCD and BATB and HoD based on the averages they have or the ratings they receive each week, because the ratings are so low that the rounding error matters, then basically there is no basis for judging ANY of those three shows as being better or worse than the others.

    Which means they should ALL be canceled because they are nonetheless LOWER than Arrow, Supernatural and TVD.

    The fact remains that ratings – even for as low a network as the CW – are the only criteria (aside from syndication) to determine whether a show will be renewed. So we have to distinguish between a .49 and a .65, regardless.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    feinn: “Yearly list from Nielsen is legit

    From a comment in that thread:

    This list is skewed towards the Live+7 numbers, (the only times Live+SD numbers are factored in are for the airings late in the season where the Live+7 numbers have not come in yet, which is everything after 5/7/12) and it is only 18-49 demo, and it covers all airings in all time slots unless specifically noted, including repeats.

    That skews the figures from what we use here, which is merely first airings. One can argue both ways, but since we don’t mostly care here about repeats, I’d say a straight average of final ratings is better.

    YMMV. :-)

  • Richard Steven Hack

    I see Ultimate also mentioned that fact, correctly.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Here’s a demonstration:

    Assume a show gets a 1.0 rating one week and a 1.1 rating the next week.

    The total number of viewers for this season is 126,540,000.

    A 1.0 equal 1,265,000 viewers.
    A 1.1 rating equals 1,392,000 viewers

    Add those two numbers of viewers and you get 2,657,000 viewers.

    Divide by 2 – the number of sample points – and you get 1,328,500.

    Divide that number by the total number of viewers for the season, and you get 1.05 percent of the total.

    Now add the ratings percentages together – 1.0 and 1.1 – and divide by 2.

    You get the same result: 1.05 – which is the average percentage of the ratings.

    Perfectly fine. So whether you take the average of the raw numbers or the average of the ratings, you get the same result.

    Now let’s take it to a number below 1.0 – the sort of numbers the CW see.s

    .5 is the same as taking half of 1,265,000 or 632,500 viewers.

    .6 is the same as 759,000 viewers.

    Add the numbers and divide by 2: 632,000 + 759,000 = 1,391,000 / 2 = 695,500 viewers
    Percentage of 126,540,000 viewers = .5496 rounded to 2 decimals is .55.

    Do the same for the ratings percentages:

    .5 + .6 = 1.1 divided by 2 = .55.

    So, no, there is NO difference between using raw viewer numbers and ratings percentages to calculate season averages.

    Now as to the margin of error in the ratings, go here and read the article (substitute “tt” for “xx” in the link as we can’t post links here due to security):


    This guy actually ASKED the network execs what they thought the margin of error was and whether it was important.

    The answers:

    ABC says plus or minus .2 in the 18-49 demo.

    The USA network declared that since the margin could be plus or minus, it doesn’t matter – “the number is the number. It is an ‘estimate’.”

    In other words, while the margin of error of .2 – or .3 in some other articles I’ve seen – could wipe out the difference between TCD and BATB, the fact remains that it could also REINFORCE the difference.

    So no one cares. “The number is the number.”

  • Ted Craig

    There are many factors none of us will ever know, such as what types of viewers these shows attract. TCD might attract fewer viewers, but more attractive viewers for advertisers – young women who buy expensive cosmetics, for example. The audience profile is probably what lead to The Mindy Project’s renewal, more than the pure ratings. So, just add that to the information we don’t know.

  • rocky

    If the CW cancels BATB and keeps other low rated shows I and friends will boycott every show except VD. Promise, not a threat.

  • Michael1

    Instead of boycotting a network that cancels your favorite shows, how about kicking in for the movie a la “Veronica Mars”?

  • Aron

    Fox renewed almost all their shows, their boring now

  • JustMe

    As long as Person of Interest on CBS is going strong (and it’s getting stronger) and Grey’s Anatomy is solid on ABC there is nothing that CW can put after Vampire Diaries that’s going to get good ratings.

  • SS

    Has the CW ever renewed a show that had it’s season finale in April? I think TCD & BATB should be switched around on this bubble watch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were both cancelled either.

    Rocky – maybe you and the Secret Circle people should start a support group.

  • Lauren


    Is The CW supposed to be scared of that?

  • Adrian Havill

    Am always amused by the repetitive “on the bubble” placement of The Good Wife as if the 18-49 demographic is everything. If the sun glass twins believe that to be uber important they need to speak with the agencies on Madison Avenue who gladly pay premiums to place time on TGW and a few others. The fact is that CBS has independent research showing that TGW is the most efficient hour on network television for reaching women 25-plus. TGW also has the highest income women viewers. Thus, if you want to sell a BMW TGW is one of the best time slots to buy. Will not compare TGW to a Matlock or a Murder She Wrote because they did not bring in the high incomes, but those shows lasted more than ten years on total numbers alone. Because of Archie Panjabi and Alan Cumming, this show draws huge audiences in Asia and the UK. If you can find someone to wager with, bet the mortage on TGW to return next year. A lock, as they say.

  • Holly


    Until you provide evidence of your statements, you’re just some guy with a keyboard and we have no reason to put any stock whatsoever in your claims.

  • Dan

    @SS – It doesn’t matter when a show has it’s season finale. A Number of midseason shows end early, is it because of low ratings? No its because most networks would rather not air repeats of midseason shows. Look at most new midseason shows that premiered in January over the years and tell me how many reruns those shows have aired.

    The Following is finishing in April, does that mean its getting cancelled?

    Networks would rather get midseason shows out of the way with new episodes because those shows havent had the advantage of a fall premiere in which repeats would seem more likely.

  • Justin121

    Adrian Havill is correct. The Good WIfe was never in danger.

    She’ll be back.

  • Dan

    @Robert – I think most would agree relative success on fridays for a network that wins the night with a series (Last Man Standing) makes it grounds for renewal. It does almost as good as an original episode of The Neighbors which is sandwiched between 2 of ABC’s most watched sitcoms and it does as good or better than most of NBC and FOX’s sitcoms despite being on Fridays.

    Its a difficult call to make but syndication is also a factor for Last Man Standing. Though it is 2 seasons away, its in the same situation as Hart of Dixie & other shows that premiered in 2011 with 2 full seasons. With 42 episodes, if LMS gets a full third season its almost guaranteed for a full fourth.

  • RG-X

    Wow – a possible total of 33 shows cancelled or ending this season. Networks have a lot of time to cover next year.

  • Tom

    These quantitative exercises some of you are performing to support a theory about which of the various failing CW shows might be renewed are pretty clever, but they’re just not convincing. They (meaning BB, Carrie, HOD and Nikita) are all well under water and trying to decide which has sunk the deepest is beside the point. We already know that HOD and Nikita are safe. Syndication is a wonderful thing. On a network that only airs about 10 hours of primetime shows per week, that should be the the limit on low rated shows. Although the BB faithful would argue otherwise, shows on the CW never get better. I was amazed to discover recently that the storyline on HOD is as plodding and predictable as ever. That’s a surprise considering the CW is grooming HOD for syndication. At the end of the day, its all about the ratings and the ratings pretty clearly indicate that none but the most hardcore fans would believe that any of the aforementioned shows are either good or improving.

    The Carrie Diaries was DOA and will stay dead because audiences wanted the Carrie of SITC not the novelist’s version. This doesn’t mean its a bad show; just one nobody watches. I’ve criticized BB enough. Suffice it to say that it can’t hold a sufficiently large audience to justify renewal. The CBS/WB joint venture may be making some bucks off these shows now and in the future from syndication, overseas licensing and digital sales, but the low ratings are simultaneously costing its affiliates money. This include the eight major market affiliates owned by CBS. So, all things considered, CBS/WB would be ill advised to renew either BB or Carrie.

    Besides its low rated shows, the joint venture is also faced with soon having to replace its aging top rated shows. This is necessary to salvage what’s left of its reputation. I’m convinced that Arrow, its one successful new show, is suffering in the ratings because of the CW’s image as a low budget mill for bad television shows.

    If the CW airs either Carrie or BB next season, its a good indication that CBS/WB is pursuing a business model that’s directed at exploiting short term profits at the expense of viewer satisfaction. Turning the CW around is going to be a highly expensive undertaking and I seriously wonder if CBS/WB is committed to that task.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures