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


  • Linda E.

    A little premature for HF-0,don’t you think? It did only slightly less than BB. CBS put HF-0 on Friday, where less is expected of it, and that’s what
    they got. I think it’ll be renewed.

  • D

    I wouldn’t pull the plug on Mom just yet. To me, it’s the kind of show whose audience grows by the time, just like another Chuck Lorre show, The Big Bang Theory. It started out as an average-to-good ratings show and it’s a big hit now. I’m not making any assumptions or predictions, only saying I see a lot of potential in this show.

  • Parker Wyeth

    @Jiji Moran I don’t understand the negative attitudes some posters seem to hold about Michael J Fox still wanting to work at something he loves. I don’t see them “making fun” since he has Parkinson’s. It’s called self deprecation. He doesn’t want pity. Give the guy props for having the balls to face life head on instead of hiding from the public.

    FYI: I still see him as a “regular” person, even with a disease.

    I have two military friends that both came back w/major medical challenges. One of them said the thing that bothers him most is that people won’t look at him directly because he lost a leg and part of an arm. He said he doesn’t want to be pitied, but just be seen as a regular guy who can do almost everything he did before. They deserve that.

  • Wright

    There’s no way Revolution is getting cancelled. The second season premiere was great. Some people are just slow to catch on.

  • CBSviewer

    @ HV

    If the new NCIS is picked up, it will either go at 10:00, or will go at 9:00 with LA at 10:00

    I think an NCIS night is a bad idea. LA is now strong enough to move and Monday seems to be the perfect night.

    2BG or M&M should lead the night

    2 Broke Girls should stay where it is but Mike & Molly is a good idea ;)

    I think you should swap Elementary and the Sunday night new drama, or CSI and the new drama

    I think CBS will keep Elementary on a weeknight for, at least, one more season.
    CSI is perfect on Wednesday at 10 after Criminal Minds. OK it premiered with a 2.0 but it’ll bounce back.
    Person of Interest is not owned by CBS that’s why it is likely to move to Sunday (like The Mentalist last year).

  • patty

    It is VERY obvious this site does not like Hawaii 5-0!!! Therefore, this site and Shaw have NO credibility!!!!! CBS execs and the fans have made it clear that they love Hawaii 5-0!!!! There is no other show on TV where thousands of people travel from all over the world every year to see the season premiere and meet the stars and producers!!!!

    I suggest Shaw keep his bias to himself!!!!

  • June

    LOL Patty , what a post. I don’t know where to start.

    Sure, thousands and thousands travelled from all over the world to watch the H50 premiere. Yes, I read on FOX news airlines had to put hundreds and hundreds of extra flights to get all those devoted fans to Hawaii :-) :-)

    Probably that’s why the premiere only got a 1.5 demo, fans were suffering jet lag and could not stay awake for the show.
    Yes , the whole world loves H50! We cannot get enough and we demand a spin off. Let’s start a campaign.

  • Cheryl

    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). So basically in one sentence possibly consider placing the writer, blog or just Bubble watch on the likelihood of not being here next season. Is it an exact science that this is based on? Seriously, if where does the power come from… Nothing about what substance may be in a show, if there is improvement, or recommendations… No just your opinion.. So again maybe that should be what is prefaced at the start of the renew cancel index, since apparently there is nothing else of any substance.

  • Sheesh

    Damn. I really liked Trophy Wife. And I like Nashville and Parenthood. I hope he’s wrong.

  • Chris_SAdvisor

    Confused by Tom’s statement that Revolution’s premier rating being equal to last year’s finale was a success, yet without any quantitative or even qualitative reasoning, he marks it down as Cancellation Predicted.

    Do not get me wrong – Rev. is Bear Chow, covered in a tasty meat sauce. The plot holes and laughable writing by the show’s front-runner (Kripke himself) in the season premier pretty much stuck a fork in it’s ability to come back from the brink. I expect that it will shed 20% this week, and I doubt it *should* even make it past mid-season. Since NBC committed to a full 22, they may not have the exit clauses that allow them to save a lot of money. After all, they renewed Rev. far too early last season, after the inherent weakness was evident. NBC even forced the hiatus, but then performed no due diligence to make sure it was being improved. They did the same thing this Summer (nothing). So perhaps, Tom’s condition that there is no regime change at NBC, is the reason he expects Rev. to be cancelled. I would not be surprised if this head-in-the-sand strategy of their Execs start to draw some fire.

    As for Elementary it should be moved to the Bubble after they mishandled both Lestrade’s and Mycroft’s characters so badly. If that is their idea of an improvement, with everyone and everything being an addiction, I can see interest dipping significantly. Mine certainly did, and except for the last two episodes of the first season, I though it was pretty well done (still not in the league of BBC’s Sherlock, but not bad).

    NCIS (and probably the LA versions as well) should just be reported as Renewed. It would take a Zombie outbreak (or making Lindelof the lead writer/show-runner) to stop the NCIS juggernaut. ;)

  • Randy


    Boy, do you buy into the PR BS!!! Don’t you think that all the other much more popular shows that are filmed elsewhere where there are beaches, like LA and NY, wouldn’t have an even much larger crowd if they held a FREE SOTB premiere? They don’t hold that because they have way too many deserving shows and it would break the budget.

    And they wouldn’t have to put on a teeny-bopper’s boy band to attract the young kids and make the crowd look larger.

    Stop buying into the PR press by CBS. They need H50 to do well because syndication is making them rich.

  • Dan

    I love how people actually think Hawaii 5-0 and Blue Bloods are in danger. They’re fifth season pickups are all but guaranteed.

    We Are Men will probably flop tonight maybe a 2.2-2.4. I expect it to be on the air no more than 3 weeks. Maybe then CBS can put Mike & Molly at 9:30 and put Mom at 8:30.

  • Parker Wyeth

    @ Patty– Many shows have created a tourism industry because of their popularity.
    Back in the late 70’s Dallas was so popular that a conference center was built to handle the business. Doc Martin, Downton Abbey are two others. So many groups wanted to see Highclere Castle (the castle used as Downton) that in Jan. 2012 group tours were already sold out for the year. The owners were able to do millions in repairs because it was so popular. Jobs are created. Tours,catering,hotels, etc.

  • Steve

    I actually liked ABC’s Back In The Game. I hope ABC gives it a chance!
    Where is my Suburgatory?????????????????????????????

    Why is it not on the schedule, yet that crappy Neighbors is?

  • Chris_SAdvisor

    @Wright – What exactly was great about it?

    The fact that Kripke invalidated everything (Danny, Nora, ‘the EPIC quest’ – Kripke’s words not mine) that happened in season one by tritely turning the nanties back on even though they could not have shut down nuclear warheads (which detach at the apex of flight and detonate via mechanical means)?

    The fact that Miles ignored his horse so that he could sprint the length of a football field, exhausting himself before entering into a sword fight? Especially since attacking from horseback with a sword is a massive tactical advantage, as well letting him see the cornfield from above (and therefore the path they trampled down)?

    How about the fact that Miles forgot he was a *master* tracker, and did not go after the solitary guy who was busy carrying the woman? It is *impossible* to carry someone on your should through a field of dried-out corn stalks and not leave a path that Stevie Wonder could follow.

    What about Miles not even reporting the woman had been abducted to the Sheriff?

    Perhaps it was the fact that the nanties have once again eaten all the guns, even the smooth-bore rifles? Or are you of the opinion that Miles and the gang would not have armed-up before the left the tower, with it’s military grade armories (plural), and tonnes of weapons and ammo laying on the ground (all the dead soldiers and others)?

    Or how, once they knew the town was about to be attacked only the Sheriff and his two deputies were the only ones to protect the entire town. They did not mobilize a militia, put up sentries on the roofs, or do anything even remotely logical (tripwires with tin cans, etc). I guess they were just counting on Miles and Rachel being able to take 20 bikers each?

    Ninja Bikers. ‘Nuff said.

    There were about four other plot holes in this one episode, but I think that adequately points out how poor it was. Since Kripke wrote this episode himself, I would call it *terrible*. I was hoping for all that change he promised us (again – just like back during the hiatus), and saw nothing but the same old Rev. For every improvement there was at least one major degradation. The next two episodes will either get a heck of a lot better, or else this series is bear food.

    @Patty – It only did that well because of the new addition to the cast. Once everyone realizes the writing is still the same, it will be back to the bubble. Tourism will have no effect, unless it has enough numbers to negotiate tax incentives with the State, and then the Networks would care.

  • JohnnyRico

    The second I was done watching Trophy Wives I felt like it was detined to join Don’t Trust The B and Cougartown in the cancelled great series with titles that make viewers not want to watch club.

  • Chris_SAdvisor

    Wright – Invalidating everything of importance from season one, nanites have eaten the guns (again – but this time they got the rifles as well), and five separate plot holes in *one* episode, is what you call good? Since Kripke wrote this script himself, I would call it *terrible*. I would go so far as to say it marks a low-point, with ratings set for a rapid decline.

  • CBSviewer

    @ Dan

    Maybe then CBS can put Mike & Molly at 9:30 and put Mom at 8:30

    CBS won’t move Mom to 8:30. Mike & Molly will replace We Are Men at 8:30 and one of Bad Teacher or Friends with Better Lives will take the 9:30 slot.

  • Justin121

    CBS Monday midseason through May:

    HIMYM – Mike & Molly – 2 Broke Girls – Mom

    CBS Thursday midseason through May:

    TBBT – The Millers – The Crazy Ones – Two and a Half Men

    That is, I expect We Are Men to crater, Mike & Molly to take its slot sometime between November and January, CBS sticks with the rest of sitcoms, Bad Teacher & Friends with Better Lives to never see the light of day or be burned off in spring or summer.

  • Fake Me Out

    Just a small suggestion/request … just like last year when that weird game got it’s own page so those interested could go and play without cluttering up other comments, can we please, PLEASE have a separate page for those who want to play next year scheduler. It’s one thing to suggest tweaks to this years schedules but it’s another to clutter the comments by repeatedly posting lengthy fantasy schedules 12 months down the road. If Tom is up to the challenge, he can write a second article for Sundays, Bubble Watch 2014 where he makes up imaginary ratings for imaginary schedules and everyone who wants to play can go there and leave us to discuss THIS years ratings & schedules.


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