Bubble Watch: Will The Olympics Have NBC Back In Bed With 'Community' and 'Whitney?'

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

May 5th, 2013

Whitney - Season 2

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.

Last Bubble Watch of the 2012-13 Season

If history holds, we'll know all renewals and cancellations from the 2012-13 season by the end of next Friday, May 10, so by next Sunday nothing will be on the bubble.

Not much new this week, but Family Tools debuted on the list with cancellation predicted.  So what of the 7 shows remaining on the bubble? Here's an early glimpse at some of my "Oddsmakers" picks for Tuesday's Renew/Cancel posts where Bill & I will give our "percentage of renewal" chances picks for all shows not already renewed or canceled (not just bubble shows). My percentages for the bubble shows could change (dramatically) between then and now.

Body of Proof:  I'm leaning towards renewal (55%).

How to Live With Your Parents: not a lot of ratings history to make a pick,  and it's ratings are in the "could go either way" band. A true toss-up! But, 50% in oddsmakers is cowardly, so leaning towards cancellation (45% chance of renewal).

Malibu Country:  If ABC sticks with a Friday comedy block, it definitely has a shot, but even then I'm leaning towards cancellation (40% chance of renewal).

Rules of Engagement: Unlike the others, this one isn't a true toss-up based on ratings. But its ratings have been good enough where wheeling and dealing (Sony is involved in the show's production) to keep the show around as schedule spackle didn't seem completely ridiculous. But I'm more than leaning towards cancellation (33% chance of renewal).

Community: Of all the NBC comedy bubble shows, I like Community's chances the least. I'm still leaning towards renewal (55%)

Whitney: More than leaning towards renewal. (75%).

Go On:  Even more more than leaning towards renewal than Whitney (85%)

Speaking of NBC's bubble comedies...

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 another piece this week involving, you guessed it, schedule spackle. Tom thinks about things much more from a scheduling perspective than I do. I haven't spent any time thinking about what NBC will stick on Fridays next season. Tom has!

Will The Winter Olympics Give Whitney Another Shot?

NBC has a major project for this upcoming season: Rebuilding their comedies. With The Office finished, NBC only has one comedy with the numbers to (barely) warrant renewal: Parks & Recreation. Add the new Michael J Fox show (with 22 episodes), and that still leaves probably two more new shows in Fall (and possibly two more in Spring as well).

Complicating matters is the 2014 Winter Olympics. Running from February 6th to February 23rd, it provides NBC with a platform to launch new comedies on February 27th, but also a problem: they have to come up with shows to cover until January 30th, itself the first day of the February 2014 sweeps.

Let's say NBC starts The Voice on September 9th (and why not, given how well it worked out this year). That means we'll probably see NBC's comedies premiere on September 19th. That gives NBC 20 weeks it has to cover until the Olympics. Even assuming NBC takes weeks off for Thanksgiving, Holiday specials, New Year's, etc., that's well over 13 weeks. I find it unlikely NBC keeps an Animal Practice-level flop on the air until the Olympics.

Or to summarize, NBC will be launching more Thursday comedies than ever before, will have every reason to delay starting new comedies until February, and will need extra episodes to cover until the Olympics. That's the perfect recipe for spackle in bulk. I expect NBC to again schedule an hour of comedy spackle on Fridays.

Now, which shows? That's the difficult question. I expect at least three shows to get spackle orders. In order of likelihood, by my estimation:

  • Go On - Produced by Universal, NBC may want to give it another shot.
  • Whitney - Produced by Universal, held up okay in various time slots.
  • New Normal - Not produced by Universal, and the numbers have dropped to "ugly even for NBC". However, NBC may want to give it another chance, may see some value in keeping Ryan Murphy happy, and may want to demonstrate to showrunners that NBC will give their shows every chance. (If there are any "political" considerations, they are positive.)
  • Community - Yes, it could use 4 more episodes for domestic syndication. However, it already has a cable deal, there are no showrunners NBC wants to keep happy, and numbers have dropped down to nothing special. (I also still wonder if Sony/Comedy Central won't go the Futurama route and give it a made-for-DVD wrap up movie they can chop up into 4 episodes.)
  • 1600 Penn / Guys With Kids - Admittedly only given one chance, but the numbers are bad and there no showrunners NBC will want to keep happy (Fallon should already be covered with The Tonight Show).

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
Family Tools ABC Cancellation Predicted
Happy Endings ABC Cancellation Predicted
Red Widow 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
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
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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  • Brad

    For some reason, I thought next week was the upfronts (according to the schedule here)

  • Survivor Fan

    My Odds:
    Nashville (ABC Drama)- 90% chance of renewal
    Nikita (CW Drama)- 88% chance of renewal
    What Would You Do (ABC Reality)- 85% chance of renewal
    Last Man Standing (ABC Comedy)- 85% chance of renewal
    Community (NBC Comedy)- 80% chance of renewal
    Wife Swap (ABC Reality)- 80% chance of renewal
    Go On (NBC Comedy)- 70% chance of renewal
    The Neighbors (ABC Comedy)- 65% chance of renewal
    How to Live With Your Parents (ABC Comedy)- 60% chance of renewal
    Whitney (NBC Comedy)- 49% chance of renewal
    Body of Proof (ABC Drama)- 45% chance of renewal
    Malibu Country (ABC Comedy)- 40% chance of renewal
    Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (NBC Reality)- 40% chance of renewal
    Rules of Engagement (CBS Comedy)- 35% chance of renewal
    The New Normal (NBC Comedy)- 15% chance of renewal
    The Taste (ABC Reality)- 10% chance of renewal
    Guys With Kids (NBC Comedy)- 10% chance of renewal
    Hannibal (NBC Drama)- 5% chance of renewal
    Deception (NBC Drama)- 5% chance of renewal
    Take It All (NBC Reality)- 5% chance of renewal
    CSI: New York (CBS Drama)- 3% chance of renewal

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Nope, schedule here has upfronts starting on the 13th. Though NBC will probably issue its schedule release next Sunday afternoon, the 12th.

  • Survivor Fan

    Everything else is 100%, one way or the other

  • Oliver

    I’m surprised you think Community’s chances are significantly worse than Go On and Whitney, especially the latter.

    Its raatings are on a par and Sony is very aggressive at getting shows renewed (see: Unforgettable, Drop Dead Diva, Rules of Engagement).

    In addition, a cast member from Whitney (Chris D’Elia) is in a new NBC pilot, which isn’t exactly an auspicious sign.

  • mando

    Please I wanna watch at least eleven more episodes of Guys with Kids!!

  • Mr Mumble

    The New Normal fell to a 0.7 before its post-“The Voice” boost. If I were a Comcast shareholder I’d be asking serious questions about the politics of such decision-making if The New Normal (or 1600 Penn) got a renewal ahead of Go On, Community, Whitney and Guys With Kids.

  • Cougar Town Forever

    It would be a crime if Whitney and Go On get renewed but Community does not.

  • Survivor Fan

    I think that CBS should add a 4th comedy hour, especially given the pilots.

    Don’t pilots seem to have a cyclical nature:

    Even-Odd TV Season: Weak Year for TV, Followed by Strong Pilot Season
    Odd-Even TV Season: Strong Year for TV, Followed by Lackluster Pilot Season

  • Survivor Fan

    I think that after a spring with much smaller post-DST declines than last year (or even a “normal year”), we are finally approaching the point where year-to-year ratings level off. This year, the average entertainment rating is about a 2.1. I bet that we level off at about a 1.6 in 2015-16.

  • dan

    malibu country better get renewed

  • Dan S

    Even for spackle is NBC that desperate to renew low rated comedies ? They have a lot of good pilots to choose from both in Drama & Comedy. I only see P&R & Community coming back to join the new Michael J Fox comedy. If they start with only 4 comedies on Thur in the fall then they just need 1 other new show. I think however they’ll stick with 1 hr of comedies at 8pm on Wed so they can introduce a total of 4 new comedies. In addition to MJF I see About a Boy, Assistance & perhaps Family Guide in the mix.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    BTW, while I find Tom’s thinking interesting I’m not swayed that The New Normal has a better shot than Community.

  • bk8718

    I find it endlessly fascinating that here Whitney is believed to be in pretty good shape, while on every other website (TVline, EW, TVguide etc) it’s predicted as an almost certain cancellation.
    Of course this makes sense. The critics hate the show, and the show doesn’t generate any online buzz. To them the idea that a show like Whitney would get renewed while a show like New Normal, which delivers a lot more web traffic, would get cancelled is inconceivable. Meanwhile, you guys are reading the pure numbers, and based on the numbers it has a somewhat convincing case.
    Also, I don’t like ROE’s chances, but I think it’s tied to the high number of high profile comedies in CBS’s development schedule. Unless they do something ridiculous (like only premiere two hours of drama or air comedies on Saturday) I don’t think CBS has space for it, no matter what Sony might want.

  • Notabadlad

    Did Smash already get cancelled? I must have missed that

  • Juan

    I think you re way too confident on the neighbors renewed prospects. I would put it in the bubble leaning towards cancelation, while how to love I would have with a better chance of renewal.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    I find it endlessly fascinating that here Whitney is believed to be in pretty good shape, while on every other website (TVline, EW, TVguide etc) it’s predicted as an almost certain cancellation.

    I wouldn’t go so far as “pretty good shape” since it’s been on the bubble all year (and Bill might have had it lower than a toss-up at some point) and I wouldn’t read much into the percentage chances listed above other than that I like Whitney’s chances better than Community’s and less than Go On’s. I will probably change them to 51%, 55% and 58% on Tuesday.

  • CBSviewer

    If CBS expands its comedy hours Rules of Engagement will be Renewed.

    8:00 – How I Met Yout Mother (24 episodes)
    8:30 – Crazy Ones (13-22 episodes)
    9:00 – 2 Broke Girls (24 episodes)
    9:30 – Mike & Molly (22 episodes)
    10:00 – Beverly Hills Cop (13-24 episodes)

    8:00 – Survivor
    9:00 – NCIS (24 episodes)
    10:00 – NCIS: Red (13-24 episodes)

    8:00 – NCIS: Los Angeles (24 episodes)
    9:00 – Criminal Minds (23 episodes)
    10:00 – CSI (23 episodes)

    8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (25 episodes)
    8:30 – Two and a Half Men (23 episodes)
    9:00 – Person of Interest (23 episodes)
    10:00 – Elementary (23 episodes)

    8:00 – Intelligence (13 episodes) / Undercover Boss
    9:00 – The Mentalist (18 episodes) / Hostages (13 episodes)
    10:00 – Blue Bloods (22 episodes)

    8:00 – The Amazing Race
    9:00 – Hawaii Five-0 (22 episodes)
    10:00 – The Good Wife (20 episodes)

    Thoughts ?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Notabadlad: to quote Bill “A note to those in denial, there has been no formal announcement that Smash has been canceled, but when a show is sent to Saturday during its run, it has been canceled. “

  • Cyrax86

    Really hope you won’t get The Neighbors wrong, it’s practically the only renewal/cancellation I’m nervous about!

    As for NBC, I guess Whitney will be renewed, based on the Olympics argument, but I think at least one of Go On or Community will be cancelled.

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