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


  • JaredK

    I like that Tom’s being so bold with his early predictions. There’s little point in doing a post like this one so early in the season if all that you’re going to do is list every single show other than obvious renewals (The Big Bang Theory) and obvious failures (Lucky 7) as “On the Bubble”. We all know that it’s early and that ratings can change rapidly, and with them the fortunes of shows.

    I think that the Tom has offered up in defense of his calls is very sound. While I disagree with a few calls at this stage (I’m a little more bullish on Parenthood’s prospects than he is, and a little less confident in Brooklyn Nine-Nine), I think that this is a good snapshot of where things stand early in the season. The whole point of this series is to generate honest debate (and with it, traffic for the website). Mission accomplished.

  • Bradley


    Regardless, even if it dropped a full ratings point during the move, it would beat most of NBC’s comedies.

  • Melissa

    These predictions are too aggressive IMO. Not enough data points to back them up.

  • Mitchell


    Um, Mom is ‘sandwiched’ between a fairly diminished 2BG and Hostages. There are far, far cushier slots on CBS.

  • reallypeople

    The aggressiveness nature of the list doesn’t bother me at all. Things can always readjust and it’s nice to see boundaries being drawn.

    The one head scratcher I have though is Bones being “renewal predicted”. Am I missing something major? It did a 1.9 in week 2 versus a 3.1 for Sleepy Hollow. I seriously doubt it stays on Monday (more than likely it will be moved to Fridays, especially with Almost Human entering). And if it’s moved to Fridays, certainly the 1.9 will drop further. I’d place it (being aggressive) as “cancellation predicted”.

  • Bradley


    Yeah. It’s definitely not getting help from Hostages.

  • Niallerz24

    I think we need to see what Parenthood does in the next few weeks, see if it drops anymore, rises or remains stable. The show didn’t do great or really bad.
    And the same for Revolution, but I do think it will drop in the coming weeks and will probably be canceled by May.

  • Melissa


    This isnt even agressive. Its an inconsistent mess.

    Good point. Robert come back!

  • Jimmy

    I know Two and a Half Men has some hardcore fans, but the addition of Charlie’s previously unknown daughter smacks of a Cousin Oliver moment. Moreover, the character isn’t all that funny. It’s time for this series to ride off into the sunset.

  • LisaV

    Where is “X Factor?” – It’s the EIGHTH highest rated show on Thursday night – OUCH! This massively expensive disaster should’ve been cancelled last year. Anyone have Rupert’s ear? Everyone involved in the “Idol”/”X Factor” cannibalization should’ve been fired long ago.

    Hilarious that as long as these talentless yahoos are making a profit, they keep their jobs. To hell with efficiency, quality and MAXIMIZING profits.

    Oh, the joy of tracking incompetent TV executives and their ALMOST government-level job security.

  • Ryan

    Trophy Wife, Hawaii Five-0, and Mom should be on the bubble as should Last Man Standing, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and (as much as it hurts me to say this) Parks and Recreation.

    Mom in particular will stand out better when We Are Men and The Millers flop out of the gate. Crazy Ones should be bumped up to renewal predicted after a few more data points.

  • Bradley


    Bones is valuable to Fox. It is one of few shows Fox has in syndication and regardless of its time slot gets between a 1.5 and 2.0 consistently. I would think that’s why it is listed as renewal likely.

  • Matthew Chapman

    With Fox i Can for some reason see this schedule happening from November onwards.

    Monday-As Announced

    8:00-Raising Hope
    8:30-Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    9:00-New Girl
    9:30-Mindy Porject


    8:00-The X Factor

    8:00-The X Factor
    9:00- Either Dads gets relegated to here or repeats.

  • Bradley


    Reality TV is too hard to predict because they can cut the budget continually until it just doesn’t make sense anymore.

  • Percy

    Hawaii Five-0 should be on the bubble. I think your predictions are really off.

  • Tom Shaw

    As I mentioned last week, I would rather be bold and wrong than timid and “correct” (if no opinion can be counted as an opinion).

    There will be fuller explanations of returning shows next week; I debated whether I should make that clearer at the top.

  • Bradley

    @Tom Shaw

    There’s no point in writing the column if it isn’t bold.


  • Sarah

    I really hope Bones does better this week so it stays in the “Renewal Predicted” section

  • Mike 1

    Well, I only watch Revolution from the “Cancelation Predicted ” list , so loving it.
    Good for Castle , so many times people said it was going to be crashed, when H50 premiered , when RVN premiered, when Blacklist premiere….And look at the show !!! RENEWAL PREDICTED ! :)

  • JED

    “Hawaii 5-O” as even stated here, did almost as good as it did in the prime Monday 10pm slot. It’s also very close to syndication, and it’s not going any where. CBS should be thrilled on a Friday they have two dramas in a row hitting 10 million live viewers. Way too aggressive, which make me think Mr. Shaw doesn’t like this show himself, which is irrelevant. Again, 10 million live viewers + PVR, + online, + DVD = success. It’s not going anywhere for at least 1-2 more seasons. The rest, I am OK with it – most was predictable, and the mid-season shows actually look rather good on all networks.

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