Bubble Watch: 'Revolution,' 'Mom,' 'Dads,' 'Parenthood,' 'Hawaii Five-0' 'Mindy Project' & More Predicted Cancelled

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

September 29th, 2013


Note from the editors: Robert has hung his Bubble Watch shoes this season. Long-time reader Tom Shaw is taking the reins. Fear not! Bill is still doing new Renew/Cancel Index posts on Tuesdays.

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.

Bubble Watch: Numbers, Numbers Everywhere!

Broadcast TV may finally be reaching a modern equilibrium, as overall ratings are slightly up from last year and every network has a premiere to crow about (SHIELD, The Crazy Ones, Sleepy Hollow, & The Blacklist). It’s a much lower equilibrium than would have seemed possible even a decade ago – depending on the timeslot, a 2.0 will now get you renewed on every network – but it’s an equilibrium nonetheless.

Enough navel-gazing, as there are a mountain of rookies and transplants to cover. In rough chronological order:


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started off as the #1 premiere of the season. No surprise… and frankly irrelevant. The much bigger question is how, say, episodes 4 and 7 do.

The Goldbergs started off as ABC’s #2 premiere. Its lead-in being network TV’s #1 premiere may have helped there.  Too early to tell how it settles (or more accurately, how SHIELD settles).

Trophy Wife received little of SHIELD’s halo; with multiple comedies waiting in the wings, it probably needs every other new comedy to fail to have a chance.

Lucky 7 is dead. Full stop. The question now becomes when, not if, ABC yanks it off the air. (Though it may very well produce all 13 episodes in its order. The Whole Truth did with roughly equivalent ratings a few years back.)

Back in the Game started off as ABC’s worst rated non-Friday comedy. That is not a recipe for survival.

The Neighbors dropped 17% in Week 2. Doing 45% of ABC’s worst Tue-Wed comedy, the ABC schedule would have to completely implode before they needed The Neighbors as spackle. I can’t imagine ABC renews it for two more seasons of sub-1 ratings on Fridays to get it to syndication.


Mom started off as CBS’ worst rated comedy. That isn’t good. Furthermore, can even the Chuck Lorre name save it… from being replaced by a Chuck Lorre show (Mike & Molly)?

Hostages is dead after these 15 episodes. The only question now is if the numbers get bad enough that it swaps timeslots with Hawaii Five-0.

Person of Interest returned to numbers slightly worse than it was doing in Spring.  It was still CBS’ top rated 10pm show. Its performance probably has CBS executives chugging antacids nonstop – not because of PoI’s ratings themselves, but because Scandal-level ratings are now nearly impossible at 10pm on broadcast TV from now on.

The Crazy Ones is the #2 rated premiere of the season. I wouldn’t break out the champagne quite yet, as nostalgia-based ratings fall apart fast.

Two and a Half Men did roughly CBS’ ratings average. I thoroughly doubt CBS gets it at the average programming cost. Some year CBS will have enough successful comedies to let this go – and it could be this year.

Hawaii Five-0 actually held onto most of its Monday audience, dropping only 20% from its April & May average. That said, skipping Sundays is a significant sign that CBS considers it all but dead.  A decent performance when it replaces Hostages might convince CBS to give it another chance – but I certainly wouldn’t bet on it.


Sleepy Hollow dropped a mere 11% in Week 2, against full first run competition. Almost Human has the tiniest of leashes to survive into Spring.

Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine predictably suffered vs. first-run competition, dropping over 30% this week.  On the plus side, they aren’t worse (yet) than The Mindy Project’s numbers!


The Blacklist took advantage of its Voice lead-in to be the #3 premiere of the season.  As long as it keeps The Voice as its lead-in, it gets renewed.

Chicago Fire took advantage of its Voice lead-in to gain nearly a full ratings point over where it was in Spring.

Revolution, now without a Voice lead-in, did numbers nearly equal to how it ended Spring. This is frankly a significant victory for the show! (Or a sign that NBC wasted that Voice lead-in for all of last Spring. Either or.) If it can keep above 1.5 or so (and there’s no regime change at NBC), I could see a (cheapened, effectively two season) renewal. I just won’t predict that, yet.

Parks & Recreation took over Community’s timeslot. It apparently took over Community’s ratings too, tying Lucky 7 for the worst rated Monday – Thursday show on the Big Four. And yet (given the probable lack of any Fall comedy hits on NBC) I still think it is likely it gets a 13 episode spackle/farewell order for next year.

The Michael J. Fox show premiered to ratings slightly over NBC’s scripted average. As the result of a bidding war that lead to a 22-episode order, this has to be highly disappointing for NBC. Even worse, the show didn’t appreciably improve at 9:30, when there was no competing nostalgia option on CBS.

Parenthood, moving to a much rougher timeslot, tied its series low. Not a particularly healthy situation, when it is now at a syndicatable episode count and NBC has multiple Spring dramas that could be successful.

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

Show Network Status
How I Met Your Mother CBS Final Season
Back In The Game ABC Cancellation Predicted
Lucky 7 ABC Cancellation Predicted
Nashville ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Neighbors ABC Cancellation Predicted
Trophy Wife ABC Cancellation Predicted
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hostages CBS Cancellation Predicted
Mom CBS Cancellation Predicted
Dads Fox Cancellation Predicted
The Mindy Project Fox Cancellation Predicted
Parenthood NBC Cancellation Predicted
Revolution NBC Cancellation Predicted
The Goldbergs ABC On The Bubble
The Crazy Ones CBS On The Bubble
Two and a Half Men CBS On The Bubble
The Michael J Fox Show NBC On The Bubble
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC Renewal Predicted
Castle ABC Renewal Predicted
Grey's Anatomy ABC Renewal Predicted
Last Man Standing ABC Renewal Predicted
Modern Family ABC Renewal Predicted
The Middle ABC Renewal Predicted
2 Broke Girls CBS Renewal Predicted
Blue Bloods CBS Renewal Predicted
Criminal Minds CBS Renewal Predicted
CSI CBS Renewal Predicted
Elementary CBS Renewal Predicted
NCIS CBS Renewal Predicted
NCIS: LA CBS Renewal Predicted
Person of Interest CBS Renewal Predicted
The Big Bang Theory CBS Renewal Predicted
Bones Fox Renewal Predicted
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Renewal Predicted
Sleepy Hollow Fox Renewal Predicted
The New Girl Fox Renewal Predicted
Chicago Fire NBC Renewal Predicted
Law & Order: SVU NBC Renewal Predicted
Parks & Recreation NBC Renewal Predicted
The Blacklist NBC Renewal Predicted
Glee Fox Renewed


  • Babar Suhail

    is H5-0 close to syndication or did it already get a syndication deal?

  • Oliver

    Well, that’s a little aggressive.

  • Brad

    Love Sundays again!

    Dad’s will be pulled by mid November. Raising Hope is due back November 8th on Friday but I think there is a 50/50 shot it never see’s that slot (Dad’s will). They either double-up Dads and/or send Mindy there to die (or maybe RH repeats?). Oh yeah, Mindy is gone. Sorry Kumar, Canadians and Indians are not watching it. Mindy either gets replaced with a bonus episode of RH (remember, 24 episodes), NG repeat, or they premier that Jack show.

    Lucky 7 gone by mid October.

    LMS will be gone as well. It’s just a question if it got a full 22 episode Season or 13 (no one seems to know). TN’s apparently has 22 so it’ll run it’s course. Super Fun Night DOA. Gone after 3-4 episodes. Replaced by Suburgatory.

    Fox…well, Bones probably never see’s Monday. Glee has a 2.0 coming out of X-Factor? WOW. Maybe it should go there to die in 2 weeks.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Tom Shaw, going bold early. I like it!

  • Brad

    Actually, Suburgatory would make a night TN companion (again, if it has a 22 episode order and LMS does not.

  • Brad

    Don’t agree with Tom Shaw’s aggressive picks. He ignores (possible) Syndication deals, commons sense and for new shows that got decent ratings it’s still in the red? Oh well.

    But Elementary is predicted a Renewal? LMAO. There is a .3 between Hostages and Elementary but that’s enough for it to skip On the Bubble and go right to renewal.

  • victor Hugo

    It`s not too early put mom at area danger zone.. maybe tomorrow will do better because we are men is premiere

  • Babar Suhail


  • Brad

    LMS got a 1.2 but it’s certain for renewal We don’t even know if it has a 13 or 22 episode order (22 would mean another full season for Syndication reasons…from FOX to ABC. It’s not an inhouse).

  • omabin

    I don’t like the excess of aggressiveness at all. I appreciate being bold, but you lack too many data points needed to make some of those predictions. Particular predictions that bother me: Back in the Game, Nashville, Trophy Wife, H50, Mom, Parenthood, Revolution, B99 – all these should be bubble shows. It doesn’t add value to the column if you just predict everything but in the end you get the wrongly, which at this point is likely, because, as I’ve said, there are not enough data points for this. As I’ve said, I do appreciate the boldness to some extent and I do appreciate that you take the time to write about each show’s situation. I don’t mean to be negative or harsh, I am sorry, I just don’t like this very much. It’s your style, I’ll just have to respect it.

  • Brad

    Mom is on Partners territory right now. It’ll be lucky to eek out a back 9.

  • Bradley

    The only thing I don’t agree with is Parenthood right now. I think it will get another 13 episodes next season regardless because the episodes could be valuable for syndication. For a show like this, they will need to finish the story lines for it to work well in syndication.

    Unfortunately, my personal love for The Neighbors will not save it. It needs a drastic resurgence to make it :(

  • Masterbreel

    Tom apparantly goes for the lowest possible bubbleshows. I like it! But he is somewhat inconsistent. For example, in the text he/you points out Revolution could go either way, but in the table it is predicted ‘likely cancellation’.

    Oh, en btw I would love the old ‘five categorie’ thing to come back, but that are just my two cents.

  • Mitchell

    Hell, why not be aggressive? Sure beats some other sites, where everything is either ‘a sure thing’ or ‘could go either way’.

  • Niki

    oh, these predictions hurt too much, can’t you wait few more weeks before you cancel the whole lineup?

  • rob60990

    This isnt even agressive. Its an inconsistent mess.

  • Bradley

    Also, NBC should try to grab Mom if CBS cancels it. They need those comedy ratings.

  • erwanfromfrance

    If Parenthood keeps his audience, and stays aroud 1.6-2.0 just like season, it’ll be renewed, for sure . There’s syndication don’t forget it

  • Brad


    Parenthood has a full 22 episode Season. Plenty of time to wrap up any and all storylines if they know by March. Plenty of episodes for Syndication.

    And NBC has no interest in Moms. It’s ratings are like that because it’s on CBS and sandwhiched between two bigger shows.

  • Mitchell

    My biggest disagreement is on Hawaii Five-O, though I do note that I’m probably being overly bullish on it. I figure that CBS treats Sundays and Fridays essentially the same, so it doesn’t matter that H5O wound up on Friday first.

    But eh, we’ll have the entire season to deliberate on the usual “which low rated veteran drama will CBS finally cancel” debate, so I won’t harp on about this too much, yet.

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