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


  • bluejays

    @Mitchell. Sorry yeah, you are right. Hostages is certain to be cancelled as far as I am concerned. The other four, The Good Wife, HFO, Blue Bloods, The Mentalist are all on the bubble. And to be quite honest with the performance of some of CBS ten pm shows this premier week I doubt they will be alone!

  • Leah

    CBS president Les Moonves says on Friday nights it’s the viewership more than the demo that counts. H50 2nd to BB in viewers. Sunday is the same way. Nina Tassler said at SOTB this past Thursday that H50 and BB’s a good fit. BB’s did better because of the retention of the H50 fans. Let’s all keep level heads and give it a chance. I still say if you don’t like it that’s fine but so many people are hating on it just because it’s not the old H50. H50 grew in numbers from lead in Undercover Boss. We will just have to wait and see. So many people are saying it will bite the dust when Grim debuts but I think BB needs to worry about Dracula, that looks to be a great new take on the vampire world.

  • Percysowner

    I agree with going big on this table. If he’s right, great; if not we probably won’t remember by season’s end or we will all point out how wrong he was. Predicting at this stage of the game is hard. Everything hasn’t previewed. Shows are still working on buzz and need several weeks to see if they hold good ratings. Shows with bad ratings may look good when other shows tank. Why not go for the gold and make bold predictions. It’s not like Tom actually has the deciding vote in the end. He’s just making informed judgements.

  • Not an exec

    “Aggressive” is the new buzz word…

    must be a lot of network executives chiming in. my message to you, if you were more “aggressive” in trying to find imaginative material instead of hooking up with so-called “hot” writers who consistently chug out substandard crap, the networks wouldn’t be in such trouble.

  • Mitchell

    @Mike 1

    I’m not sure if there is really much of a difference between Fridays and Sundays on CBS, and I don’t think the specific ratings really matter either. Fridays and Sundays are mostly for bulking up on episodes for syndication.

    Hawaii Five-O got moved to Fridays because CSI:NY being cancelled made a gap. If, say, TGW was cancelled instead, then H5O would’ve moved into that slot instead.

  • Percysowner

    My gut tells me The Mentalist is gone after this season. The fact that they are going to reveal who Red John is by midseason says to me that the producers are looking to wrap this baby up. It’s been put on Sunday at 10:00 meaning that with football it will end up on Sundays at 11:00 at least a few times. It’s not owned by CBS. They are cutting budget by cutting some actors. All in all, I think the producers are looking at the Last Hurrah for Mentalist.

  • Dan S

    I would’ve waited 1 more week before starting the bubble watch. Not enough data to accurately predict how shows are performing yet. The Goldbergs got over a 3 & is on the bubble ? Trophy Wife that followed should be on the bubble & is certain cancellation ? Crazy Ones gets 3.9 & again on the bubble along with Michael J Fox that scored much lower. Not enough data yet

  • Cyrax86

    The Whole Truth did produce all of its episodes but it was pulled from the schedule after around 5 or 6 and the rest never aired. This time ABC has 3 new midseason dramas on the bench, I can see Lucky 7 pulled soon and Killer Women launch there for November sweeps.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Amanda Kondolojy

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

    Ask and ye shall receive.

  • Paullo Mendonça

    Nashville cancel? noooooooo!

  • Rob R

    Too soon, guys. Too soon. We will take you seriously around November 1.

  • Kyle

    I like the new format, personally I think everything is on the bubble, so I like when people make decisions flat out. I do however think Nashville and Revolution will be renewed.

  • TV God

    I think Mom will move to Thursdays after Big Bang, then it’s ratings will be way better. 2 Broke Girls will get better rating wise I think. I hope both do well and last around 8 seasons. I’m worried about Sean Saves The World, I want that show to do well, but based off of NBC and how sucky Parks and Rec started, I don’t think it will do well, even if it deserves it.

  • Tom Shaw

    But to answer what seem to be the most likely sticking points. All episode counts are at the end of the season (which, remember, is what Bubble Watch is predicting):

    Hawaii Five-0 will now be at 91 episodes, which means no major further losses to get it to syndication. CBS’ retirement tour is pretty established at this point; jumping directly to Friday is not a good sign, and it will take significantly better than Friday numbers (or massive failures across CBS) before I will change that opinion.

    Last Man Standing appears to have a 22 episode order, which puts it at 66 episodes and invokes the syndication rule. That said, it airing on Fridays next season… on Fox wouldn’t surprise me either.

    Bones is old and probably more expensive than average; I haven’t been fond of its chances in the past. But with X-Factor soft, Glee soft, the Tuesday comedies largely busts, and Fox aggressively scheduling Fridays with first run shows, I think it gets another season.

    Elementary is at 46 episodes. I suspect it will still do better than all the Friday and Sunday dramas, which makes it likely CBS runs it to syndication on the retirement tour, if nowhere else.

    Nashville was a close call last year; it doesn’t seem like it is improving. If Paul Lee goes it is definitely dead; even if he stays, I think its chances are less than 50%, so into the cancellation pile it goes.

  • bluejays

    I don’t agree that HFO being moved to fridays means its done for, Mike. I do think it might be done for, for a host of different reasons. Namely if it drops further when Grimm airs (a very real possibility) and if the writing continues to be majorly, crazily bad, then its gone. But it isn’t a cancelled show purely because it got moved to friday.

    It could easily do another season or two in that slot if it does okay ratings wise. Of course, it has to do ok ratings wise, and I have no faith it can after so many fans have been so badly burned by the awful awful writing and ridiculous characters like Momma McGarrett.

  • reallyamerica


    I think that even if Revolution stays at 1.6 to 1.8, it’s still in danger of being cancelled.

    Last year, NBC renewed 6 dramas: Revolution, Chicago Fire, Law and Order: SVU, Grimm, Parenthood, and Hannibal.

    This year, I’d guess that Grimm, Law and Order: SVU, at least one of Chicago Fire/Chicago PD, and The Blacklist are a lock to get renewed.

    Grimm on Friday and Law and Order: SVU on Wednesday are decent options and will stick around. NBC is investing in the Chicago franchise as a successor to Law and Order and the spinoff is a huge vote of confidence. If NBC didn’t see potential in Dick Wolf’s Chicago concepts, they wouldn’t have spun it off, so at least one Chicago show will remain. If Revolution and Smash are any indication, NBC will also be patient with whatever they place Monday after The Voice so The Blaclkist is safe.

    That’s four dramas locked as renewals.

    If the second Chicago Dick Wolf show gets renewed, that’s five shows. That will leave one (perhaps two) spots left. If Ironside or Dracula hits, both will take a renewal spot. We’re up to seven renewals, one more than last year for NBC.

    I haven’t even counted other mid-season shows besides Chicago PD. If Night Shift, Crossbones, Crisis, or Believe hits, then they’ll take a renewal spot.

    Even if NBC shared timeslots to accommodate extra renewals, NBC is going to want to order some new dramas for next year. NBC is going to air reality shows and comedies, so there are only going to be so many drama spaces.

  • Leah

    Tom appears to let his personal opinions drive his predictions. H50 not doing good in syndication for TNT hmm, just started really and only on late, moving up in the polls. H50 not on 50 times a week like some. 2 mil syndication deal, 200 international markets, big corporate sponsors, 2nd largest viewership for the night. As Tom has his opinion I have mine, and seriously maybe he is trying to stir up a hornets nest or make himself feel important. I personally will give all shows a chance but sadly some people are cattle and will follow where they are guided and Tom appears to want to be the herd boss. I trust Les Moonves and Nina Tassler over Tom. At the end of the season if Tom is proven right I will give him his props but if he is proven wrong I would hope he would admit it.

  • Rob3008

    What you state in the text about Revolution completely contradicts the headline and table?

  • tp

    Some of this predictions are gonna fail badly.. nashville and parenthood especially. There are a lot of factors to consider and its way too early to predict cancellations for shows above season 1! You may also misfire on h5o and lrevolution

  • HalCapone

    I read that the networks were all preaching for patience more so this year due to the carnage from last season and the higher anticipated use of DVR’s. Probably more network PR mumbo-jumbo, I suppose, to lower expectations this year

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