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


  • Justin121

    LOL I don’t know why people bother with fantasy schedules when they (should) know that no network will ever make as many changes.

  • Theisssuesarenow

    POI is definitely going to be cancelled when it gets 1’s in the spring it’s already below Vegas wouldn’t be surprised if it goes below 1

  • HV

    @Simon @Bill
    It seems to me that some networks (NBC) don’t care about retention at all. That’s why Smash and Revolution got renewed and The Blacklist will get renewed.

    Some networks however overestimate how powerful one lead-in is over another, and, as a result a higher-rated, really good show gets renewed over a lower-rated, stupid show. (Okay, I may be venting a little bit about HTLWYP’s cancelation and The Neighbors’ renewal…)

    Anyway, what I’m saying is that some networks (ABC, CBS) care about retention, while others (NBC) do not.

  • Dan

    @CBSViewer – I never saw Mike & Molly as an 8:30 show but if it does well there than it can be a good replacement for We Are Men. My guess is that Friends With Better lives will replace The Millers somewhere down the line and Bad Teacher will inherit The Crazy Ones slot thus reducing the number of repeats in those slots.

  • omabin

    Regarding the whole Nashville discussion, I think there is a chance that it could be canceled. Even assuming that all three midseason dramas flop, which I don’t think is a stretch especially considering the timeslots they are likely to be thrown at, Nashville will be canceled if:
    – Wonderland and Shield are renewed, which is possible and I would dare to say likely
    – ABC sticks with current number of hours for reality (3/week), comedy (4/week) and drama (10/week) [+1 hour of news magazines], which they appear determined to do seeing as they kept it this year even after the failure of last year’s tuesday block (and to a smaller extent friday’s)
    – ABC wants to premiere at least 3 new dramas next fall, as they usually do
    – None of the current dramas is hold for midseason (I don’t see it happening with any of them as we stand right now)

    If all of these are verified, then Nashville will be canceled, because ABC will need 3 slots for dramas. Betrayal and Lucky 7 are two slots, but they will need a third one. I suppose the battle will be between Wonderland and Nashville. Outside possibility is Grey’s ending but I don’t see it happening, they are trying to revamp the show with the interns so they would likely try it for at least one year to see if it is doable.

  • omabin


    You are wrong, Person of Interest is VERY VERY unlikely to be canceled. Its ratings alone would guarantee its renewal since it is the top rated 10pm show on CBS and, in fact, the only dramas that are beating it (and I don’t expect this to show a lot during the season) are the NCIS twins and Criminal Minds. Networks do not tend to cancel their 4th highest drama. Yeah, it can hit 1s in the spring, but let’s see how the other dramas perform at that time. I sincerely doubt it would be performing worse than Elementary, Hostages, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, The Mentalist or The Good Wife. Could be at the same level of CSI but it makes no difference since there is plenty of room for both to be renewed.

    Of course besides all this there is still a little something called syndication, which means that even if its ratings were to be lower than all of these shows, which is statistically quite unlikely, they would have to be WAYY lower than them, not marginally lower.

    It will not happen. Period.

  • Boiler

    This is a bunch of nothing right now. They just want readers which of course I am. For example Nashville wasn’t even up against its normal competition!! Perhaps the chart should wait until December

  • Jiji Moran

    Great speech. HOWEVER, I still do not find funny, AT ALL, the Parkinson’s jokes, no matter if (like you said) self-deprecating is great, or not. If the comedy flowed without those jokes, it would be better. Well, at least for me.

  • Jiji Moran

    OOps! That last post was for Parker Wyatt, sorry.

  • Melanie P.

    I hope Parenthood makes it. Love, love, love this show!!

  • Robert Ford

    I’m also pissed about ABC renewing the Neighbors over HTLWYP, but I doubt that it had to do with retention. Someone else here explained it well, though I was too pissed to listen at the time.

    HTLWYP was a Fox-produced show with big-name actors. The Neighbors was an in-house productions with no-names. ABC was going to move whatever didn’t have an audience of its own yet (anything that’s not the Middle or Modern Family) to Friday. They likely assumed that one of the new fall comedies could get even better ratings for cheaper on Wednesday than HTLWYP. They couldn’t move HTLWYP to Friday, because its ratings were likely to collapse (as in fact they did in the summer burnoff). Meanwhile, they decided to take a gamble (a really stupid gamble) on getting the Neighbors to syndication.

    Now I, personally think that HTLWYP wouldn’t be doing as bad in the Friday slot as The Neighbors is, given that it didn’t even *start* to do that bad until several episodes into the summer burnoff, *well* after it was already canceled. I personally think that ABC should have kept it around as spackle, and should one of the Wednesday comedies tank give it another half-season to build an audience. But I don’t know the economics, beyond that HTLWYP was almost certainly more expensives, likely considerably so.

  • steve

    @omabin Im a massive POI fan but i worry for it

    1. Those ratings where its PREMIER Episode it’ll slide down in ratings & would not shock me if goes to H50 Levels :(

    2. Sydication CBS dont own it so CBS would gain Nothing from it so i dont think you can count on potential syndication saving it.

    Why does america hate GREAT TV.

  • steve

    @omabin forgot to add blue blood & H5O are on fridays so you have to take that also into consideration if gets to a stage where isnt beating them too

  • Sam

    Isn’t 5-0 near syndication? Or is it there already?

    Cuz if it is near, it should come back. If not, then it’s dead

  • Leah

    Sarcasm June, not becoming on an adult. I am a fan of H50 and guess what, I am an adult and your bulling tactics may work on kids but not on me. It always surprises me when a person runs down a show they don’t like instead of praising up the shows they like. I have said this in the past and I will repeat myself, “No wonder some people’s children grow up to be bullies and malcontents is because of the examples there parents are setting”.

  • Anna g

    Hello Leah, greetings from another H50 fan and my advise is to ignore June. She is a troll just like Tim. They both infest this site and trash the show probably since it premiered.

  • Camsmom222

    So with the new numbers out for H50 4.1 seems you were completely wrong in your prediction for h50 to be cancelled! Live plus DVr was over 12 mill viewers and a 2.3 demo! And that is on a friday night!! Seems irresponsible to predict a shows cancellation without data! Next time stick with real numbers and not just your opinion. H50 is gonna be just fine.

  • Leah

    All I can say Camsmom222 you go girl :)

  • Camsmom222

    Oh June you are so wrong!! H50 got a 2.3 demo and over 12 mill viewers with live +3day DVr! Networks do factor in DVr playback towards ratings. If u don’t like the show that is your perogative but get your facts straight before attacking fans of that show. What do you care if h50 has millions of fans, watch something else!

  • Camsmom222

    Sam, yes it is in syndication on TNT! Just started in September! Show is doing excellent on fri nights, seems to be a good fit! Ratings up 20% from last season! It will be just fine.

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