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


  • Niallerz24

    Last Man Standing: If it can keep the 1.2 a series low for the year the show will probably get renewed for a shortened season 4.

    Nashville: It will drop in the coming weeks. If it can keep in the 1.7-2.0 range it might have a chance or coming back next year.

    Castle, SHIELD, The Crazy Ones and The Michale J Fox Show I agree where these shows are right now. The coming weeks for the three new ones, and Castle if it can average what it was getting last year then a renewal is possible.

  • JIames

    H50 is not syndicating well. There is no incentive to keep churning out episodes. This is it’s last season.

  • JIames

    Castle is syndicating well – above TNT and ABC estimates. It will get a Season 7 for that reason alone, but that will most likely be it. Nathan Fillion’s contract will be up and he will likely want to move on to other projects.

  • bjssp

    On CBS, why would H5O go to Mondays if Intelligence is supposed to take over the slot just to go back when that show premieres?

    Also, I think Lorre’s involvement with Mom gives it an advantage over any of the other shows, if all of them are around the same numbers. If TM is weak or especially if it flops, I could see Mom being moved to Thursdays and then having one of the other shows go on Monday.

  • omabin

    @Tom Shaw,

    While I understand that, I think you need to establish credibility first. For me as a reader, the point of the column is to give me credible views on what will happen with the shows. If I don’t believe it, then there is no point in reading it anymore. Making guesses is okay for commenters, it should not be okay for the actual writer of the column unless you have a way to turn your guess into a substantiated prediction. These are just my two cents.

  • Bradley

    I wonder how Mom and Mike & Molly would do on Fridays. Maybe CBS should explore a Friday comedy block.

  • Bradley

    Wow. Lots of hate for Tom today. This is only the second week of predictions. Calm yourselves.

  • Quadrey James

    Partners was CBS’s worst comedy come on shaw get on your facts..

  • Jack Bauer

    Why do they predict two NBC shows in Parenthood and Revolution? The ratings always “cheat the system” and it’s still not fair. :-(

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    It’s obvious at least some are reading both the text and the table. That’s progress!

    I support Tom’s approach of attempting to minimize the number of shows on the bubble. Particularly since once the CW starts airing middling & poor ratings performers, the Bubble is likely bound to grow — i.e. we probably could/should change the “Why We Don’t Do Renew/Cancel Prediction for Cable Shows” to “Why We Don’t Do Renew/Cancel Predictions for Cable and Some CW Shows.”

  • Shepherd

    Wow! No OUAT poll??! Is this the first week that has not happened? lol

    Otherwise, I like Tom’s willingness to actually make predictions. I’m not sure why everyone insists on calling this bold; a prediction is just that; a prediction. To me, saying something is “on the bubble” is the same as saying “pass”.

  • bluejays

    This is all a bit silly and far too aggressive. I used to like this site for quite well considered and realistic predictions.

    You say you can see Revolution maybe getting a renewal if it sticks at a 1.5 but then put it as cancelled! makes no sense. It is in effect a bubble show. To put it in the cancelled column feels like cheap headline fodder. (And I don’t watch the show but the column and the headline clash with the analysis and make it a bit of a mess).

    And why does HFO get predicted cancelled when Blue Bloods doesn’t? I absolutely disagree that moving it to Fridays is a guaranteed death slot – and indeed leveller heads on this site were arguing against this very thinking last year!!

    That said I think it HFO *does* have a good chance of being cancelled but no more or less than The Good Wife, Mentalist, Blue Bloods or Hostages.

    Bit of a shame to see this ‘TV Guide’ level of silliness.

  • s0303

    lms is still only half way to syndication…it should at least be on the bubble, parks and rec also…both started horribly this season…

  • Mitchell


    You think that H5O/TM/TGW/BB have the same chance of being cancelled as Hostages?

  • Pete

    On the bubble, the same as “pass”… so why not put The Goldberg’s and The Crazy Ones as Certain Renewal, and 2 1/2 Men and Michael J. Fox and Certain Cancellation then? Call it the Renewal/Cancel Watch.

  • AprilFox

    I hope they switch Hawaii Five-O back to Mondays at 10. It was awesome. Hostages is just brutal and should move to Fridays for the rest of the episodes. I also thought Tom Selleck said in an interview that this is the last season of “Blue Bloods”. I tuned out Person of Interest awhile ago, Jim Cavizel’s voice puts me to sleep. Everytime he talks I doze off! :P

  • Shepherd


    “I support Tom’s approach of attempting to minimize the number of shows on the bubble.”

    Me too.

  • bluejays

    @Bradley. It’s not hate. It’s only TV for gawds sake. I wouldn’t hate anyone for any predictions re TV shows and hope no one else would either.

    It’s just that it does all seem a bit ‘sensationalist’ when it comes to a fair few of these predictions and not to be based on analysis, but rather gut feeling, or to take into account things like syndication deals and other stuff that does actually matter.

    And some of the placements even go against the actual analysis written in the text (see what I said re Revolution).

  • Mike 1

    I think Friday is a worse day than Sunday when we talk renewal/cancelation. I remember reading the commercials costs for each day of the week , and Friday is the cheapest night of the week. Shows on Sunday are paid much more than Friday shows, I think H50 would had a better chance of renewal on Sunday than on Friday. I see TGW safer than H50 .
    H50 doing so awful in TNT has not helped either.

  • Lostboy

    The reviews for Revolution S2 have been very positive. I think if it stays around 1.6 to 1.8 NBC keeps it. Let’s see the DVR #’s. Black List will drop in the coming weeks. CF ail also drop off to 1.8 /2.0 POI will win the time slot. To early for prediction gosh Revenge and that awful show QUAT have not premiered yet. Revolution Haters

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