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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  • Rare

    If NBC repeats last year, I could see their renewals going like this.

    Community = 30 Rock. Final season “farewell” renewal.

    Go On = Up All Night. Save face renewal that results in even lower ratings for Season 2 and doesn’t return after its initial order.

    Whitney = Whitney again…

    The New Normal = Are You There Chelsea. Despite having names NBC might want to stay in business with, the ratings are simply too low to justify renewal.

  • Rollie Dethloff

    Final guesses on the shows that I watch,

    How To Live-Renewed
    Last Man Standing-Renewed
    Malibu Country-Renewed

    CSI: NY-Renewed (I still think it has a small chance)

    Go On-Renewed
    New Normal-Cancelled

    I don’t watch anything on CW or FOX at the moment

  • Oliver

    I (sadly) agree Go On is safe, although I don’t think it should be safe.

  • Television Town

    Here are our predictions:

    Red Widow: Canceled :(
    Happy Endings: Canceled :(
    The Family Tools: Canceled :(
    Malibu Country: Canceled :(
    How To Live With Your Parents: Renewed: Full Season :D
    The Neighbors: Renewed: 13 Episode Mid Season :D
    Body Of Proof: Renewed: 13 Episode Mid Season :D
    Nashville: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Last Man Standing: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Suburgatory: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Scandal: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Revenge: Renewed: Full Season :D
    The Middle: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Once Upon a Time: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Modern Family: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Castle: Renewed: Full Season :D
    Grey’s Anatomy: Renewed: Full Season :D

    CSI: New York: Canceled :(
    Vegas: Canceled :(
    Golden Boy: Canceled :(
    Rules of Engagement: Canceled :(
    Criminal Minds: Renewed: Full Season :)

    Smash: Canceled :(
    1600 Penn: Canceled :(
    Deception: Canceled :(
    Community: Canceled :(
    Hannibal: Canceled :(
    Guys With Kids: Renewed: 13 Episodes :)
    Whitney: Renewed: 13 Episodes :)
    Go On: Renewed: 13 Episodes or Full season :)
    The New Normal: Renewed: Full Season or 13 episodes :)
    Parks & Recreation: Renewed: Full Season :)

    Touch: Canceled :(
    The Cleveland Show: Canceled :(

    The Carrie Diaries: Canceled :(
    Nikita: Renewed: Full Season :)

    Our predications may seem crazy but when “Guys with Kids” is renewed, you will realise our predications were better than tvbythenumbers who currently has it as certain cancelation.

    You can like us on Facebook. :)

    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  • Survivor Fan

    What will be the Body of Proof of this season?

    CSI: NY?
    The Carrie Diaries?
    Guys With Kids?
    The New Normal?

  • David

    Haha. Sorry, just noticed something. When was the last time Raising Hope was mentioned in a discussion. The show has less buzz than Whitney! It’s a shame, because even though I’ve only ever seen 1 episode, it did have potential. I guess the show will just live out for another season and be cancelled. Greg Garcia (the creator), has hyped up pilots this season, so I think Raising Hope has just been forgotten – by it’s creators, viewers, FOX.

  • James

    Community must have a better chance as spackle then any of the others.


    – It is a co-production between NBC (or rather an NBC owned subsidiary) and Sony. Sony are infamous for keeping low rated shows on air at all costs. NBC will be happy to keep a (part) in house show on the air as spackle.

    – The fact that it already has a syndication deal in place means revenue is already in place for future episodes.

    – Whitney, Go On, The New Normal and any other possible spackle will all have next to no chance of a season afterwards making the initial airing and international rights the only significant source of revenue as they are nowhere near syndication level of episodes. Unlike Community which has syndications deals already in place.

    – It rates badly. But at least it rates consistently badly. Rarely fluctuates into honorific unlike Go On and The New Normal which have been cringe worthy at times.

    – Subway.

    I also think Community stands in a similar position to Raising Hope. They don’t rate too well but they air in tough time slots against big competition. Much better to keep a consistently rating show (even if it is consistently badly rating) than to try and launch a new show at that time. Better to launch at 8:30 and at 9:30 so they have Community and Parks already there to hold the night together.

    Though NBC may not necessarily concentrate on the Thursday comedy block this fall as I think they should. NBC may continue with the plan of throwing new comedies at the wall and seeing what sticks like they did this season. It worked so well.

  • David

    @Television Town

    I see why you’re predicting Guys with Kids to be renewed. Jimmy Fallon? As much as that’s believable, it’s not gonna happen. Just like The New Normal, despite the shows big names (TNN – Ryan Murphy, GWK – Jimmy Fallon), its ratings are too low to justify renewal. Networks always discuss renewing shows like these (TSC last year – same team as TVD), but in the end it all comes down to ratings.

  • DW

    this next season is the season where NBC cleans house and where we see the head of NBC’s hands all over it.

    if CBS keeps TGW on sundays it will stay at 900. you would take a Spackle show like H 5-0 to 1000 where it if happens to hit 1100 on the east coast , then no biggie. and i dont see where Beverly hills cop is going to be on cbs next year. sounds like a dud.

  • TheFrenchGuy

    @ Survivor Fan

    CSI: NY and Hannibal :)

  • were123

    I think Community has the best chances on comming back as it’s not only a veteran, it also pulled better rating than Whitney and Go On this week (a 1.2 compared a 1.1 and a 1.0, and that’s better, even if it’s just one tenth or above both shows) and it’s also in one of the most competitive timeslot on television, Thursdays 8PM, which has the monster rating TBBT, the ok rated X Factor/Idol and the young skewer stealing audience TVD. The demographic Community faces is around 8 or 9 points of all the others network shows combined. Whitney and Go On also faces some competition, but it’s not as high as Thursdays at 8PM.

  • Iggy

    NBC would be wise to move their comedies to Wednesday against ABC’s weak lot.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    What will be the Body of Proof of this season?

    CSI: NY?
    The Carrie Diaries?
    Guys With Kids?
    The New Normal?

    Of those, for me it will have to be CSI: NY and/or Guys with Kids. Last year I had Body of Proof with only a 10% chance in my final guess (I think Bill was 5%), and those are the only two of those shows that I’ll have that low this season.

  • Glue

    I just heard about ‘Assistance’ (Thanks, David) and they better pick it up. Krysten Ritter is a gem and I know she hasn’t found her footing with Apartment 23 but, this show could be the hit she deserves.

    If they do pick it up, they should put it in a respectable place on the schedule because this show will (hopefully) be good.

  • Tom Shaw

    To be clear, if anyone bats 1.000, it’ll be mostly luck. On NBC, for instance, the R/C Index for the various comedies (even including Guys With Kids!) are only 0.90/0.87/0.86/0.82/0.81; at that point, you are just splitting hairs and looking for outside factors.

    Both Go On and New Normal had the scheduling of their finales arranged to give them a boost; this indicates to me that NBC didn’t consider either one dead yet then, though who knows how many pilots they like now.

    (Again, I am not making a judgment about New Normal’s renewal as a business decision (it’s almost certain to fail next year), I am making calls as a scheduling and relationships decision.)

  • a p garcia

    NBC should consider adding laugh tracks or filming before a live studio audience for their comedies.

  • k:Alex

    If CBS cancel ‘Rules of Engagement’, witch has a good change, could NBC take it in a deal with Sony and put it on Friday?

    If it is true they will try comedy on Fridays, this could be at 8:00 followed by a new comedy, followed by Grimm?

  • Ultima

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

    Doubtful. CBS is swimming in good comedy pilots for next season. They could easily pick up six series (three multi-cam, three single-cam) if they wanted to.

    I would say 0% chance for a Rules of Engagement renewal.

  • Ultima

    @k Alex
    If CBS cancel ‘Rules of Engagement’, witch has a good change, could NBC take it in a deal with Sony and put it on Friday?

    Why would they do that? It’s not like Rules of Engagment will be cheap (especially if one or more actors has a pilot picked up) and it’s not pulling huge numbers (it fell to a 1.6 amidst repeats).

  • k:Alex

    Only P&R can reach a 1.6 or higher on NBC. So if they have a comedy who could that too, they will be happy.
    It’s only to try comedy on Fridays, if it works they can cancel it with Community too (no chance for 6 seasons and a movie).

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