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


  • HV

    My predictions:
    (Note that I only move shows to very likely renewed/canceled if they have aired at least 2 episodes)

    The Neighbors

    Lucky 7
    Back in the Game
    The Crazy Ones
    The Mindy Project

    The Goldbergs
    Trophy Wife
    Last Man Standing
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    Hawaii Five-0
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    The Michael J. Fox Show

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    The Middle
    Modern Family
    Grey’s Anatomy
    2 Broke Girls
    NCIS: Los Angeles
    Person of Interest
    Criminal Minds
    The Big Bang Theory
    Two and a Half Men
    Blue Bloods
    The Blacklist
    Chicago Fire
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    Parks and Recreation

    Sleepy Hollow
    New Girl

  • bluejays

    @Leah. I agree that some of Tom’s reasoning is somewhat ‘off’ (and against things Bill and Robert have been telling readers for years) however – seriously – Tassler and good old Les are hardly gonna say “yeah, HFO is cancelled” are they?

    They always give the usual PR spin and they always drone on about overall viewers and other things. In fact the very fact that they are ‘bigging up’ HFO makes me think it really is done for and Tom is right!

  • jenn

    Tom, I am wondering did you even look at the numbers for Friday night? #h50 did quite well. actually beating out the competition. seriously cannot believe you actually make such predictions especially when it’s the first week.

  • Justin121

    Bold predictions.


    Nashville: will be renewed.
    The Goldbergs: too early to tell.
    Back in the Game: too early to tell.
    Trophy Wife: too early to tell.
    The Neighbors: will be cancelled.
    Lucky 7: dead on arrival.


    Mom: will be renewed.
    Hawaii 5-0: will be renewed.
    Crazy Ones: will be renewed.
    Two and a Half Men: will be renewed.
    Hostages: dead on arrival.

    Parenthood: will be renewed.
    The Blacklist: will be renewed.
    Revolution: will be cancelled.
    The Micheal J. Fox Show: will be cancelled.

    Dads: will be cancelled.
    Mindy Project: will be cancelled.
    Brookly Nine-Nine: will be renewed.
    Sleepy Hollow: will be renewed.

  • sam


    Do u really believe all Les and Nina say? LOL I bet LM said that because he knew that h50 was not going to win the slot in demo . It may even lose to Grimm too. And what was NT supposed to say other than it was a good fit? Did u think she was going to say they moved the show to Friday because of the bad numbers?
    All are Press Releases,no more.
    That is the same as when they say H50 has been sold to 200 countries, when all CBS shows are sold everywhere.
    All is network talk, means nothing.
    I remember CBS was all nice talk about Ghost W. and then it got canceled. They do that a lot.

  • Josh

    Yep Back in the Game is certain to get cancelled. After all it was my favorite new sitcom. Everything I like gets cancelled early.

  • Charmed

    Nashville should be ‘on the bubble’

  • HalCapone

    So far, a most mediocre Fall season of premiers. Talented comedy writers are apparently in short supply. No wonder the recent Emmy awards show spent so much time on death.

  • Jamie04

    I think it may be a bit early to predict, but I think this week will tell. A lot of shows that did well in premiere (just because people were curious) will drop sharply. In particular – MJF and Crazy Ones – they were both terrible – I won’t be watching again.

  • Ryan


    I don’t really understand why you have The Crazy Ones as likely to be cancelled while you put Mom as likely to be renewed since The Crazy Ones pulled in a 3.9 while Mom was a 2.5.

  • Ryan

    I would be wary of claims of a “modern equilibrium” or anything like that. Following more than a decade of consistent losses, broadcast TV was roughly stable from 1992-1994 and many of the same claims about equilibrium were made then. (Not coincidentally this was when the sales of ABC and CBS were put into motion) The inevitable declines began again in 1995 and haven’t abated since. And I wouldn’t be talking about equilibrium based on one week’s worth of data, either.

  • Justin121

    Appreciate the aggresiveness, not the wrongness.

    No justification for Nashville, Parenthood and Mom.

    Nashville: second year, pushed hard by ABC, decent and consistent ratings.

    Parenthood: proved to be consistent over four years. The only available data point so far (1.6) is in line with its ratings -and NBC standards- over the last few years. Revolution is another story because it’s a second-year NBC show moved away from a cushy timeslot. That I agree with, at least for now.

    Mom: CBS isn’t doing so hot with dramas or comedies this year. Standards have been lowered for all network that a 2.0 right now is good for even CBS. That, with the facts that it premiered at a 2.5, has potential to grow, CBS having no 3.0+ returning comedies (save for TBBT, of course), all make it as of now a strong possible renewal.

  • Leah

    I actually think that saying nothing would speak more to the no faith in a show than by making a statement. Tax credits in HI make the show less expensive to make than most people realize. The cast not making huge amounts either, I may be wrong but good demo and good viewership are very important. I just don’t know. I still say I will listen to what Les and Nina say, their word has as much validity as Toms does. I don’t know if it matters or not but with Peter Lenkov, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman signing deals with CBS and they are the shows executive producers may or may not have bearings. These are development deals so they have to have faith in them. I will say the writing last season left a lot to be desired but the writing in the first episode was great. I will watch H50 as long as it’s on the air but I don’t watch a lot of tv because of real life, maybe that’s why I am so passionate about the shows I do like.

  • tvwatcher

    I like this! Much better than putting everything on the Bubble. Also, I don’t watch any shows that are predicted to be cancelled, so ……. wipes sweat off brow.

  • Owen

    CBS Predictions

    TAR > Renewed
    2BG > Renewed
    NCIS > Renewed
    NCIS LA > Renewed
    POI > Renewed
    Survivor > Renewed
    CM > Renewed
    CSI > Renewed
    Elementary > Renewed

    TGW/TM/H50/BB > Toss up, best guess would be TGW (critics like it) and BB (steady friday performer) renewed and other 2 cancelled.

    2BG > Renewed
    Mom > Toss up, has some leeway because of Lorre behind it
    TBBT > Renewed
    TCO > Toss up, good start
    TAAHM > Toss up, best guess (final season) renewal.

    WAM/TM > premiers this week, so let’s see. no high hopes for We are men.

    Mike and Molly > Renewed.

    Lot will depend for the comedies on how many they want to air next year (6 or 8).

  • HV

    Well The Crazy Ones had a massive lead-in, while Mom did not. The Crazy Ones will fall huge next week. Mom won’t fall anywhere near as much.

  • tim

    I think H50 fans should just be grateful the show has lasted as long as it did. Without TNT this show would had been canceled long time ago. It has been a syndication miracle :-)

  • Jerry

    I am scratching my head over the “cancellation predicted” for Nashville. As much as I love OUAT and Revenge, and don’t watch Nashville, it is very likely that OUAT and Revenge will probably end after the 4th seasons once they reach syndication episode levels. Those two, in terms of storyline, and ratings, won’t see them being sustainable after their 4th seasons. (In fact, they are already showing signs of weaknesses and “brain drain” in season 2). Grey’s Anatomy probably is on its last legs, Betrayal is almost certainly DOA. Dancing With The Stars is being exhausted.

    The only bets that can go on and on at this point will be Castle (Bones-style), Modern Family (though relegate to slightly-above-average ratings like CSI or Criminal Minds), and maybe Scandal. Too early to tell for SHIELD.

    I am not saying that Nashville’s ratings are good, but the best bet for ABC is to hope for a “Scandal” in the making. Their other routes are eventually leading to empty slots. ABC’s whole Sunday will be in jeopardy after 2 years.

  • Ryan


    Just because a show had a large lead-in doesn’t mean it is necessarily lead-in dependent. I really don’t think you can make that prediction until there’s another week of data. It is quite possible that most of the audience that sampled it returns.

  • omabin

    For the record, my predictions:

    ABC Drama:
    Grey’s Anatomy: Renewal
    Castle: Renewal
    Shield: Renewal
    Luck 7: No back-order
    Nashville: Bubble

    ABC Comedy
    Modern Family: Renewal
    The Middle: Renewal
    Last Man Standing: Renewal
    The Goldbergs: Bubble
    Trophy Wife: Bubble
    Back in the Game: Bubble
    The Neighbors: Canceled

    NBC Drama
    Chicago Fire: Renewal
    The Blacklist: Renewal
    Law and Order SVU: Renewal
    Parenthood: Bubble
    Revolution: Bubble

    NBC Comedy
    Parks and Recreation: Bubble
    The Michael J. Fox Show: Renewal

    CBS Drama
    Hostages: Canceled
    NCIS: Renewal
    NCIS LA: Renewal
    Person of Interest: Renewal
    Criminal Minds: Renewal
    CSI: Renewal
    Elementary: Renewal (although I don’t feel too safe about this)
    Hawaii Five-0: Bubble
    Blue Bloods: Renewal

    CBS Comedy
    How I Met Your Mother: Ending
    2 Broke Girls: Renewal
    Mom: Bubble
    The Big Bang Theory: Renewal
    The Crazy Ones: Renewal
    Two and a Half Men: Bubble

    FOX Drama
    Sleepy Hollow: Renewal
    Bones: Renewal
    Glee: Already Renewed

    FOX Comedy
    New Girl: Renewal
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Bubble
    The Mindy Project: Could be renewed, but I will say canceled
    Dads: Canceled

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