Bubble Watch: Too Soon to Downgrade 'Hannibal?'; ABC Needs Procedural Schedule Spackle Like 'Body of Proof'?

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

April 28th, 2013

body of proof april 22

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.

Lots of drama renewals from NBC and a couple from CW on Friday.  A few quick items and then a piece on the merits of schedule spackle from long-time reader and smart guy Tom Shaw who might be taking over Bubble Watch next season.

Beauty And The Beast renewed!

Though I put Beauty And The Beast back on the bubble last week, and might have upgraded it again this week had it not already been renewed, I did have it as a likely cancellation for a month. For the week or two of that period where The Carrie Diaries hadn’t been moved to predicted cancellation I’m fine with that choice. The other few weeks though, the many of you who were in the “they’ll cancel one of those shows, but not both!” camp had it right!

Hannibal

What's ailing Hannibal goes beyond the NFL Draft.  I was going to wait until next Sunday, May 5 which will be the last Bubble Watch of the season (because before Sunday, May 12 rolls around we should know all the renewals and cancellations) to downgrade Hannibal, but why wait? If it jumps 30% to a 1.3 next week, I'll move it back to the bubble.

Nikita

Some are making something out of CW announcing the renewals of Beauty And The Beast and Hart Of Dixie but not Nikita. At least for now, I’m making nothing of it. Abysmal ratings are nothing new for Nikita, and if the CW has ridden out its lousy ratings this long to drag it along to the necessary episodes for stripped syndication I'll be very surprised if it's not given at least a partial order.  A Nikita cancellation after three seasons would definitely be the biggest surprise of the season for me.

The Neighbors & How To Live With Your Parents

I’ve put How To Live With Your Parents back on the bubble and still like The Neighbors chances better. If I’m wrong about that, I’ll be surprised, but still not nearly as surprised as if the CW doesn’t renew Nikita!

The text below comes from long-time reader Tom Shaw who has thought a lot about renewals, cancellations and scheduling needs. Tom was the person who coined the phrase "schedule spackle" in the comments way back when, so it's appropriate to introduce Tom with a piece on schedule spackle.  Tom thinks about things much more from a scheduling perspective than I do. I haven't spent any time thinking about what Fox will stick on Fridays next season. Tom has!

Spackle Detail: The Silver Lining for Body Of Proof?

By Tom Shaw

As we head into the renewal announcements, the one category the internet as a whole tends to whiff on are the "spackle" candidates. A quick refresher:

Every Fall, networks try new shows. Some of those new shows will fail so badly they need to be yanked off the air.

Something needs to air in their place. Networks have learned the hard way that trying to promote and launch a new show over one to two weeks in that same slot rarely works.
The best option networks have is to fill in those holes with "spackle" - pre-existing shows with established audiences (even if those audiences are smaller than average) that networks can drop into those slots with little promotion. Procedurals and broader comedies work best.

Over the last few years, most networks have learned to have their cake and eat it too by scheduling their spackle options on Friday. Those premieres are usually delayed 2-4 weeks to give the networks time to evaluate the new shows. This allows the networks to have a replacement show ready if a new show fails, while also avoiding eating $20+ Million on a spackle order that sits on the shelf until Summer if the new shows succeed.

So what sort of spackle options does each network have?

ABC

Drama: Only Castle and... Body Of Proof really fit the mold. While Castle has sunk this year, there's been no indication ABC will pull it off the Fall schedule, leaving Body Of Proof as ABC's only option. I now expect a renewal for Body Of Proof.

Comedy: Suburgatory, The Neighbors, and How to Live... could all be fighting for spackle spots on Friday. Unless ABC hates their comedy pilots and expands to two hours on Friday, I think Malibu Country is dead and Last Man Standing depends on pilots.

CBS: Renewals all but finished.

Drama: The Mentalist and probably The Good Wife are Friday bound, as already syndicated shows nearing the end of their runs. The Mentalist in particular is prime procedural spackle, and I am waiting to see Friday numbers before declaring next season its last.

Comedy: CBS has quite a few comedy pilots with prestige names to fill only one slot. A sign of CBS expanding comedy to two hours on Thursday, or will CBS hold Mike & Molly (hitting 88 episodes this year, owned by WB) for spackle in case new shows tank (or both)?

CW: Renewals are all but finished.

Drama: CW has now picked up their spackle options in Heart Of Dixie & Beauty And The Beast. I expect one to be initially scheduled on Friday in Spring.

FOX: Renewals are finished.

Comedy: I expect Raising Hope and probably Mindy Project to start the season out on Fridays @ 8, to cover any failed comedies on Tuesday.

Drama: Unless Fox somehow can move Glee or Bones to Friday -- itself all but requiring Fox to stick with the semi-disastrous Four Comedy Tuesdays)-- the only real options they have are to a) Schedule a new show for Friday and hope it both succeeds there and transfers, and/or b) Move the likely Friday comedy spackle block to cover a failed drama. Neither sounds wise in the short run, so I expect Fox to sit on any failed drama (a la Mob Doctor this season) until The Following and whichever drama gets the Super Bowl premiere can start.

NBC

Drama: Unless Law & Order: SVU starts on Friday (itself unlikely because of comedy spackle), the only spackle option is Grimm, which NBC has only used in emergencies. That said, I expect The Voice's halo to prop up any struggling new dramas until NBC can launch replacements after the Olympics.

Comedy: The biggest mystery left this Spring. NBC has one comedy with ratings arguably worthy of continuing (Parks & Rec) and too much time to fill. I expect NBC to go with two hours on Thursday and one hour of Friday comedy spackle - and NBC gives Go On, New Normal, Whitney, and Community spackle orders with so many unproven Thursday shows.

Tom Shaw is a computer programmer from Milwaukee, WI. Bereft of Lost theories to argue about, he's spent too much time attempting to figure out the TV industry.

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
Cult CW Canceled
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
Smash NBC Canceled
tvbythenumbers.com
Red Widow ABC Cancellation Predicted
Happy Endings ABC Cancellation Predicted
CSI: NY CBS Cancellation Predicted
Golden Boy CBS Cancellation Predicted
Vegas CBS Cancellation Predicted
Carrie Diaries, The CW Cancellation Predicted
Cleveland Show, The Fox Cancellation Predicted
Touch Fox Cancellation Predicted
1600 Penn NBC Cancellation Predicted
Deception NBC Cancellation Predicted
Guys With Kids NBC Cancellation Predicted
Hannibal NBC Cancellation Predicted
Up All Night NBC Cancellation Predicted
The New Normal NBC Cancellation Predicted
tvbythenumbers.com
Body of Proof ABC On The Bubble
How To Live With Your Parents... ABC On The Bubble
Malibu Country ABC On The Bubble
Rules of Engagement CBS On The Bubble
Community NBC On The Bubble
Go On NBC On The Bubble
Whitney NBC On The Bubble
tvbythenumbers.com
Castle ABC Renewal Predicted
Revenge ABC Renewal Predicted
Suburgatory ABC Renewal Predicted
Grey's Anatomy ABC Renewal Predicted
Last Man Standing ABC Renewal Predicted
Middle, The ABC Renewal Predicted
Modern Family ABC Renewal Predicted
Nashville ABC Renewal Predicted
Neighbors, The ABC Renewal Predicted
Once Upon A Time ABC Renewal Predicted
Scandal ABC Renewal Predicted
Criminal Minds CBS Renewal Predicted
Nikita CW Renewal Predicted
Parks & Recreation NBC Renewal Predicted
2 Broke Girls CBS Renewed
Big Bang Theory, The CBS Renewed
Blue Bloods CBS Renewed
CSI CBS Renewed
Elementary CBS Renewed
Good Wife, The CBS Renewed
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Renewed
How I Met Your Mother CBS Renewed
Mentalist, The CBS Renewed
Mike & Molly CBS Renewed
NCIS CBS Renewed
NCIS: Los Angeles CBS Renewed
Person Of Interest CBS Renewed
Two and a Half Men CBS Renewed
Arrow CW Renewed
Beauty And The Beast CW Renewed
Hart Of Dixie 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
Glee Fox Renewed
Mindy Project, The Fox Renewed
New Girl Fox Renewed
Raising Hope Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Chicago Fire NBC Renewed
Grimm NBC Renewed
Law & Order: SVU NBC Renewed
Parenthood NBC Renewed
Revolution NBC Renewed

--

 
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  • Sel

    Come on ABC, just spit it out and let me get sleep already! :D

  • Dan S

    Regarding shows still sitting on the bubble I see only 3 that’ll likely return. BOP, Parents & Community. I’ll be very surprised if Whitney or Go On return since they were in the low 1’s near the end of the season. I think NBC has several good comedy pilots that deserve a shot.

  • Michael

    Why is Castle spackle but not Revenge or Nashville or even Once Upon A Time? It routinely gets higher ratings than Revenge and Nashville. And currently, Once Upon A Time is getting around a 2.1, about the same as Castle.

  • hello

    And stand by what i said on Friday, that the lack of Nikita-renewal is because of negotiations between WB and CW.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Michael: in the context of Tom’s piece Castle is a procedural (good spackle) and the other shows you list are serials (i.e. not good spackle candidates).

  • Alex

    What’s taking CBS so long to renew Criminal Minds? It’s too good to get cancelled!

  • TheFrenchGuy

    My guess

    CBS
    CSI: NY = Renewed (CBS needs it on Friday)
    Vegas = canceled
    Golden Boy = canceled
    Criminal Minds = Renewed
    Rules of Engagement = canceled

    ABC
    Castle = Renewed
    Revenge = Renewed
    Once Upon a Time = Renewed
    Grey’s Anatomy = Renewed
    Red Widow = canceled
    The Middle = Renewed
    Suburgatory = Renewed (moves to Friday ?)
    Malibu Country = canceled
    Last Man Standing = Renewed
    The Neighbors = Renewed
    Modern Family = Renewed
    How to Live with Your Parents = Renewed
    Happy Endings = canceled
    Nashville = Renewed (needs to move to Sunday at 10)
    Scandal = Renewed
    Body of Proof = Renewed (13 episodes)

    FOX
    The Cleveland Show = canceled
    Touch = canceled

    NBC
    Go On = Renewed (NBC can’t cancel every comedies they have)
    Whitney = canceled
    Community = Renewed (Thanks to Syndication Gods)
    Parks & Recreation = Renewed
    1600 Penn = canceled
    Guys with Kids = canceled
    The New Normal = canceled
    Hannibal = Renewed (13 episodes)
    Up all Night = canceled
    Deception = canceled

    CW
    Nikita = Renewed
    The Carrie Diaries = canceled

  • Fred

    I agree that Body of Proof should and. will be renewed.
    The Spackle Theory makes sense to me.

  • Carmen

    @ Robert

    While I don’t agree with your assessments and predictions above in all instances, I’ll give you kudos for putting forth an opinion.

    Bill is a little more gunshy and has a tendency to want to kick the can down the road as far as he possibly can. Probably hoping that the networks will announce early and take him off the hook.
    That is certainly the case with his (Bill’s) reluctance to predict the NBC comedies.

    My predictions for the NBC comedies (without comment – this time)

    Go On Mid season renewal
    The New Normal renewed
    Guys With Kids cancelled
    1600 cancelled
    Community Mid season spackle
    Whitney renewed

  • Jamey

    Really Tom Shaw? Whoever you are. Malibu Country is dead but HTLWYP, Suburgatory and the Neighbors aren’t? When Malibu routinely got 1.4-1.6 on a FRIDAY…..What were the ratings for HTLWYP last week? Or Suburgatory last? LOLOLOL. Think again chump.

  • Adrian

    Given Nikita’s abysmal ratings I’m sure there are negotiations between WB and CW about how many episodes to give it. I’m sure CW would like to give it 10-13 episodes at most, while WBTV must want the full 22. (before anyone starts howling, yes this can be an issue even if they are both from the same parent company, the network and the studio are separate finantial entities with profits and losses independent of one another).

    That said, I disagree about BATB on Friday. HOD I can see being dumped there but I doubt they’d make the same mistake with BATB that they did with Nikita. BATB *might* stay at 0.5-0.6 on a weekday. Moving to Friday means 0.3 and 0.2s I don’t see why they’d want that.

  • r0ckmypants

    I don’t really agree with much Tom wrote, but it’s interesting to think about.

    Isn’t Sunday a worse night for CBS than Friday? With the constant overruns in the fall, it seems like if CBS wants to just drag The Good Wife and The Mentalist out for one more season each, then they should just keep them on Sunday.

    The CW doesn’t really have a lot of options for filling their schedule. They need both Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast on the air in the fall. Even with them, they will either debut FOUR new shows, have summer programming run into fall, or keep a slot open for repeats. At this point, The Carrie Diaries seems more likely for schedule spackle than anything else, except maybe Oh Sit or another cheap reality show

  • Cyrax86

    Last year Body of Proof renewal was a bigger surprise due to freshman drama successes, this year almost every new drama flopped so BoP deserves to be renewed again.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    While I don’t agree with your assessments and predictions above in all instances, I’ll give you kudos for putting forth an opinion. Bill is a little more gunshy and has a tendency to want to kick the can down the road as far as he possibly can. Probably hoping that the networks will announce early and take him off the hook. That is certainly the case with his (Bill’s) reluctance to predict the NBC comedies.

    If you’re giving me credit for Hannibal, I had one significant more week of data than Bill. You might be giving me credit for opinions issued by Tom Shaw (included in the post above) because if you look at the table I’m as reluctant to pick the NBC comedies as Bill!

  • a p garcia

    I really think ABC’s Sunday night lineup would go up several tenths if it weren’t for so many repeats and making room for specials, and some ot them weren’t so special.

  • DW

    tom wrote a wonderful piece but he thinks like everyone on here does. ok fine you move TGW and TM over to friday where they will go off and die. but what to put in a time slot where a good 20 weeks between september and april you have sport overruns that take your 900 show and it doesnt start sometimes til 945- 1000?. your going to have to put in a POI or an NCIS in that slot or you’ll end end up with the same ratings , well lets face it , it will have the same ratings as TGW now because its in a tough time slot. you have 17 weeks of SNF then the first 8 ep of TWD. then when the last winter / spring comes around and you have the spring shows back and TWD then your season ends the sunday in april because of TAR and survivor finals take up sunday nights. and listen your not living in reality if you dont think for a second that they will never move POI in there. CBS doesnt own the show and it does solid ratings. good enough for it to move.

  • Carmen

    @ Robert

    “You might be giving me credit for opinions issued by Tom Shaw (included in the post above) because if you look at the table I’m as reluctant to pick the NBC comedies as Bill is!”

    Yep, I guess I read right through the first sentence and missed the Tom Shaw reference.

    Then I guess you too are waiting for NBC to announce early and take you guys off the hook (pertaining to having to go on record with predictions)

  • brad

    @jamey

    Surgatory has 2 full Seasons of episodes, Malibu does not. It makes it more likely for renewal.

  • Nerdbot

    CW, renew Nikita already! I know it’s almost sure it’ll be renewed but the waiting is killing me.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Then I guess you too are waiting for NBC to announce early and take you guys off the hook (pertaining to having to go on record with predictions)

    I can’t speak for Bill, but when there is no gun pointed at my head and I don’t really have an inkling one way or the other, with rare exception I’m not into picking simply for the sake of picking. We will put the imaginary guns to our head on May 7. if prior years are any guide waiting until then won’t take us completely off the hook with the NBC predictions, but if it does it won’t bother me!

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