Bubble Watch: Too Soon to Downgrade ‘Hannibal?’; ABC Needs Procedural Schedule Spackle Like ‘Body of Proof’?
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
|666 Park Avenue||ABC||Canceled|
|Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23||ABC||Canceled|
|Private Practice||ABC||Final Season Finished|
|Made in Jersey||CBS||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|
|Do No Harm||NBC||Canceled|
|Office, The||NBC||Final Season|
|Red Widow||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|Happy Endings||ABC||Cancellation Predicted|
|CSI: NY||CBS||Cancellation Predicted|
|Golden Boy||CBS||Cancellation Predicted|
|Carrie Diaries, The||CW||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|
|The New Normal||NBC||Cancellation Predicted|
|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|
|Grey’s Anatomy||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Last Man Standing||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Middle, The||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Modern Family||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Neighbors, The||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Once Upon a Time||ABC||Renewal Predicted|
|Criminal Minds||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Parks & Recreation||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|2 Broke Girls||CBS||Renewed|
|Big Bang Theory, The||CBS||Renewed|
|Good Wife, The||CBS||Renewed|
|How I Met Your Mother||CBS||Renewed|
|Mike & Molly||CBS||Renewed|
|NCIS: Los Angeles||CBS||Renewed|
|Person of Interest||CBS||Renewed|
|Two and a Half Men||CBS||Renewed|
|Beauty and the Beast||CW||Renewed|
|Hart of Dixie||CW||Renewed|
|Vampire Diaries, The||CW||Renewed|
|Mindy Project, The||Fox||Renewed|
|Law & Order: SVU||NBC||Renewed|