Bubble Watch: Is 'The Mindy Project' Safe From Cancellation In The Short Term? + Bad 'Neighbors'

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

September 22nd, 2013

The Mindy Project

Note from the editors: Robert is hanging up his Bubble Watch shoes this season. Long-time reader Tom Shaw is taking the reins. One benefit of new blood is this is the first time the first Bubble Watch of the season came before the First Renew/Cancel Index posts of the season.  Fear not! Bill is not hanging up his spikes and the first Renew/Cancel Index posts of the season will be published on Tuesday, September 24.

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** (2014-15).  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.

Ah, Fall.

The leaves change, the temperature drops, and The Cancellation Bear wakes from his summer-long slumber to the smell of his prey: mostly defenseless newborns and graying veterans.

The Cancellation Bear (@thecancelbear) may still have been hibernating though when he tweeted "the bear cannot recall a broadcast primetime show pulled off the air in mid season that wasn't a rookie".


In reality, the situation is less clear-cut for returning shows. Last year alone:

  • Smash spent most of its episodes as a Saturday burn off.
  • Don't Trust the B... was yanked from the schedule. Eight episodes never aired in the US; they were briefly available on Hulu.
  • Up All Night was shut down for a reboot; in the end, the show never returned to production, with two episodes from the original order cut.

All of the above is a long way of saying that struggling returning shows like The Mindy Project and The Neighbors are by no means safe from The Cancellation Bear's clutches until May.

Whether ABC or Fox will want to tinker with either show remains to be seen; both networks have multiple new comedies that will have to settle before they can make any moves.

As for this week's starts:

Sleepy Hollow ruined the curve for Fox, starting off at 114% of Fox's scripted average. We will see how it holds up against regular competition next week, but it adds an interesting wrinkle for Fox - the show is not on their Spring schedule.

The Mindy Project and Dads started off on the low end, at 61% and 71% of Fox's scripted average, respectively. How Fox's entire Tuesday night settles against heavy hitters is one of the most interesting aspects of the Fall schedule (along with the Thursday comedy showdown).

Last Man Standing returned on par with how it ended last season, albeit against all repeats; The Neighbors only started at 80% of that. I can't imagine either program improves against real competition.

As a reminder, my predictions are based on what I believe their odds will be at the end of the season. I will strive to stick my neck out as much as possible and list as few shows as 'On The Bubble' as possible. For example, there is only one 'On The Bubble' entry this week - Dads. I fully expect Dads' numbers to drop to mediocre, at best; on the other hand, Seth MacFarlane has quite a bit of pull at Fox. Just how bad the numbers can get - or if they are saved by some sub-demo, say, M18-34 - before Fox will harm that relationship is too early to tell.

That said, when Robert saw this write-up, his response was “I wouldn’t bet anything on Mindy Project getting renewed next season, but I’ll bet you $100 it isn’t yanked or banished to Saturdays during this season!" I have to admit that I am too much of a coward to take that bet without seeing one week of regular data!

Note: only scripted shows that have aired at least one episode this season are in the table below.

Show Network Status
The Neighbors ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Mindy Project Fox Cancellation Predicted
Dads Fox On The Bubble
Last Man Standing ABC Renewal Predicted
Bones Fox Renewal Predicted
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Renewal Predicted
New Girl Fox Renewal Predicted
Sleepy Hollow Fox Renewal Predicted


  • Brad

    Yes! Missed Bubble Watch Sundays!

  • Brad

    As for the tweets, Arrested Development was pulled mid Third Season for a while. Same with Happy Endings.

    Third Season doesn’t mean anything. Las Man Standing is a Fox show on ABC. They don’t care about syndication.

  • omabin


    That just means the syndication effect happens indirectly.

    FOX want syndications => FOX offers ABC a lower license fee to get a 4th season => ABC can air the show at a very cheap cost => Show achieves its 4th season for syndication purposes

    When the show is owned by the network, it goes like this:

    ABC wants syndication => ABC tolerates lower ratings with that goal in mind => Show achieves its 4th season for syndication purposes

    The end result is the same in most cases.

  • Nothing But Cancellation

    @Brad Yes, but Happy Endings was burned off on fridays and Arrested against the 2006 Winter Olympics

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Going after the aging bear’s bad memory right from the start?

    Game on, sir. Game on. ;)

  • Nothing But Cancellation

    LMS will be renewed for syndication purposes.

    Also, HE had a shortened first season and Arrested Development episode order was reduced through the seasons: 22 on 2003-04, 18 on 2004-05 and 13 on 2005-06.

    Happy Endings case is similar to Body of Proof, cancelled on 3rd season, but with only one full season (Happy Endings had two, but it was far from syndication).

  • John A

    Yay Bubble Watch is back.

  • DM

    When the regular season returns, can the cancel/renew index separate certain to be cancelled/renewed and likely to be cancelled/renewed again into 5 categories instead of 3? It was much easier to follow that way.

  • queeneeuq

    So sad for the neighbors but at least it most probably wont be yanked off fridays so we could still see it til May nedt year. Buh bye Mindy.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @DM: the R/C Index *will* be segmented like that.

    It’s Tom’s call whether to re-implement that on Bubble Watch. My recommendation was that he not re-implement it but that was merely a recommendation, I didn’t insist on it.

    I found it easier to produce, with less nitpicky carping in the comments with no impact on readership. That said, you’re definitely not alone in missing the extra segmentation.

  • Holly

    @Tom Shaw,

    I know this isn’t the first thing you’ve written for TVBTN, but… Welcome to the Bubble Watch! I look forward to seeing your analysis this year.

  • Oliver

    My favourite second season cancellation story is Jake in Progress. ABC renewed it for a second season, it aired one episode and was never seen again.

  • Ryan Ward

    Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 was also cancelled mid 2nd season last year. There were 10 episodes that never aired.

  • zerg

    The cancellation bear is back !!

    Will LMS be saved by syndication deal?

  • Oliver

    Oh, and I predict Mindy will be replaced by Us & Them at some point in the season. That might be after Mindy finishes its full season, though.

  • David James

    Have a feeling The Mindy Project is going to just manage like Raising Hope has done. Although Raising Hope aired at a time Fox was much less focused on scripted output which may have been why it’s managed 4 low rated seasons whereas Fox execs may just decide it’s easier to air higher rated things in that slot instead of the Mindy Project. As for The Neighbors, ABC seems more inclined to yank it off the schedule (Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B..) than Fox would with Mindy as ABC could have a more cohesive multi-cam in that spot that wouldn’t drag down Last Man Standing and Shark Tank with it.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 was also cancelled mid 2nd season last year. There were 10 episodes that never aired.

    Not that I needed more confirmation that failure to read the text of posts is not author-dependent, but….

  • Mitchell

    @David James

    ABC doesn’t have any multi-cams, it might get cancelled at the end of the year but if it gets pulled it’ll have to be replaced with another single cam.

    Whether The Neighbors gets pulled or not really depends on their other sitcoms, and I suspect that ABC will have bigger problems elsewhere this season. The Neighbors’ real challenge is staying ahead of what LMS repeats could do.

  • Fake Me Out

    If Tom gets too many predictions wrong will the Cancellation Bear turn on him? After all, bears do eat their own sometimes don’t they? Then again the question isn’t can Tom outrun the bear … it’s can Tom outrun Bill? ;-)

  • One

    Welcome, Tom. I wish you much success in this endeavour.

    The way I see it, if Sleepy Hollow’s numbers hold up, then that’ll presumably take a slot off the table for next fall, even if Fox doesn’t just extend it to 22 episodes. Of course, it’s one that would’ve been in a shortened scenario anyway due to The Following, so perhaps it will all be for the best.

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