Bubble Watch: 'Wonderland,' 'Beauty And The Beast' & 'Nashville' Head For Cancellation, 'Tomorrow People' Towards Renewal

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

October 13th, 2013


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.

Network Goals: The 2013-2014 Schedule Summary

At this year’s upfronts, I saw a number of articles exclaiming how the author didn’t know why Network X had the schedule they did. Personally, each network’s goals seemed clear and reasonable. My views on each network’s goal (and how various shows are doing this week) follows:


Primary Goal: Avoid more leaks.

A mountain of ink (and pixels) has been written about NBC’s struggles over the last half decade. The truth of the matter is that ABC hasn’t fared much better; roughly one success a season has given the impression they aren’t in shambles.

ABC’s situation is so shaky that their goal was simple: leave any veteran doing even adequate ratings where it was and try new shows in the holes on the schedule. The last thing the network needs is to move, say, Castle, and have it fall apart in its new timeslot and the show that replaced Castle fail as well. None of the veterans have significantly fallen apart from last year, but the rookies haven’t fared so well:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has fallen almost 40% since its premiere; this week’s rating was still the third highest drama on TV (The Blacklist & Scandal were tied for first). In no surprise, the show was given a backorder.

The Goldbergs, even with that lead-in, has fallen below all the veteran comedies. Its survival probably depends on how many comedy hours ABC goes with next year.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland premiered at only 75% of ABC’s scripted average for the year. Chalk up another one to the ABC Death Slot.


Primary Goal: Try new comedies.

Secondary Goal: Investigate 10pm options.

CBS has a rare problem: too many of their comedies were successes. The catch is that How I Met Your Mother is ending, Two and a Half Men is getting old and expensive, and Mike & Molly isn’t a break-out hit. How does CBS aim for multiple new comedies to replenish the ranks when they only have one or two timeslots to work with?

Answer: Expand to four comedy hours (and eat NBC’s former lunch in the process).

However, the gambit hasn’t particularly worked, so far:

We Are Men only dropped 10% in Week 2. However, it started off so low that the first two weeks’ numbers led to its cancellation, and a schedule shuffle on Monday.

Mom will now have The Big Bang Theory repeats as its lead-in for a few weeks; I am unconvinced they will goose Mom enough before the backorder decision has to be made.

The Millers only dropped 9% in Week 2; score another victory for the power of The Big Bang Theory.

The Crazy Ones still hasn’t settled, dropping another 17% this week. One single-cam already down; one more to go?

As for 10pm, people like to say that CBS is immune to how TV works nowadays. This is wrong. CBS still feels the pressures the rest of the industry faces, they just feel them roughly 5 years after NBC does. First Friday fell apart, then Sunday, and now the 10pm hour. (This sort of temporal shift isn’t uncommon; for a while ABC was running one year behind NBC).

To combat this, CBS tried everything they could this year in the hour:

Hostages, a serial with a well-known cast and high production values, continues to flounder and won’t be renewed.

Person of Interest was CBS’ newest drama hit; at 10pm, it has dropped down to numbers equivalent to what CSI and Elementary do.

CSI and Elementary continue to chug along, though no one will be shouting about their numbers.

Or to review, the expensive serial didn’t work, nor did the fresh contender break out. I think CSI and its ilk will be running for years at 10pm, as long as they can continue to cycle out expensive cast members.


Primary Goal: Avoid Singing Competitions

CW doesn’t have much real estate to work with; even worse, what little they have plays chicken with the kinds of singing competitions favored by the W18-34 the network used to target.

Hart of Dixie was thrown under The Voice bus; only down a tick or so from Tuesdays last year, it will hit its syndication lap next year, even if it ends up on Fridays.

Beauty & The Beast didn’t fare so well vs. The Voice, dropping 40% from how it ended last year. If it drops any more, it has a very real chance of being swapped out for The Carrie Diaries.

The Originals, not up against a new The Voice, did as well in its regular timeslot as Arrow did this week.

Supernatural returned as the #1 rated show of the week for The CW. Frankly, the show’s survival is one of the more interesting stories of The CW’s history.

The Tomorrow People did as well as its Arrow lead-in against The X-Factor. If it holds up as well against AI, it’ll be back next year.


Primary Goal: Grow new dramas.

Fox doesn’t have much in the way of dramas – Bones is getting older, Glee is only a hit amongst W18-34, and who knows how The Following will return. So cue a schedule that allows Fox to aim all their promotional power at one new drama at a time.

Sleepy Hollow already succeeded in getting a second season – though not a backorder, as the schedule is already overcrowded with unscheduled Glee and Gang Related episodes. Next up to bat: Almost Human.


Primary Goal: Use The Voice.

Secondary Goal: Reboot Thursdays.

The Voice and Sunday Night Football are the only real strengths of NBC’s schedule. NBC wisely decided to use The Voice to aid their dramas: to give The Blacklist a healthy start and try and bump Chicago Fire into the kind of show that anchors a night.

Chicago Fire, airing after a The Voice clip show, was up about half a point vs. its performance on Wednesdays late last year. The Voice seems to be working.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Thursdays, as the entire lineup tied or did worse than Parks & Recreation did against The Big Bang Theory. That sort of performance doesn’t make you wonder about how they schedule the night next year, it makes you wonder about who will do it.

Note: only scripted shows that have aired at least one episode this season are in the table below.

Show Network Status
Lucky 7 ABC Canceled
How I Met Your Mother CBS Final Season
We Are Men CBS Canceled
American Dad Fox Moving to TBS
Back In The Game ABC Cancellation Predicted
Betrayal ABC Cancellation Predicted
Nashville ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Neighbors ABC Cancellation Predicted
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland ABC Cancellation Predicted
Trophy Wife ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Good Wife CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hostages CBS Cancellation Predicted
The Mentalist CBS Cancellation Predicted
Mom CBS Cancellation Predicted
Beauty & The Beast CW Cancellation Predicted
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Cancellation Predicted
Dads Fox Cancellation Predicted
The Mindy Project Fox Cancellation Predicted
Ironside NBC Cancellation Predicted
Parenthood NBC Cancellation Predicted
Revolution NBC Cancellation Predicted
Sean Saves The World NBC Cancellation Predicted
Welcome To The Family NBC Cancellation Predicted
The Goldbergs ABC On The Bubble
Super Fun Night ABC On The Bubble
Two and a Half Men CBS 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
The Middle ABC Renewal Predicted
Modern Family ABC Renewal Predicted
Once Upon a Time ABC Renewal Predicted
Revenge ABC Renewal Predicted
Scandal ABC Renewal Predicted
The Big Bang Theory CBS Renewal Predicted
Blue Bloods CBS Renewal Predicted
The Crazy Ones CBS Renewal Predicted
Criminal Minds CBS Renewal Predicted
CSI CBS Renewal Predicted
Elementary CBS Renewal Predicted
The Millers CBS Renewal Predicted
NCIS CBS Renewal Predicted
NCIS: LA CBS Renewal Predicted
Person of Interest CBS Renewal Predicted
2 Broke Girls CBS Renewal Predicted
Arrow CW Renewal Predicted
Hart of Dixie CW Renewal Predicted
The Originals CW Renewal Predicted
Supernatural CW Renewal Predicted
The Tomorrow People CW Renewal Predicted
The Vampire Diaries CW Renewal Predicted
Bones Fox Renewal Predicted
Family Guy Fox Renewal Predicted
The New Girl Fox Renewal Predicted
The Blacklist NBC Renewal Predicted
Chicago Fire NBC Renewal Predicted
Law & Order: SVU NBC Renewal Predicted
The Michael J Fox Show NBC Renewal Predicted
Parks & Recreation NBC Renewal Predicted
Bob's Burgers Fox Renewed
Glee Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Sleepy Hollow Fox Renewed


  • Roco

    Why did you highlight Scandal?

  • Ellie

    I think Mike&Molly is a breakout hit if you looked at the uproar because it wasn’t on the fall line up and replaced by that horrible show We are men and you obviously haven’t looked at the ratings for a while Mike&Molly is always in the top 10 and wait till november 4th when it comes back and kills in the ratings. The comedy shows that are on like Michael J Fox show which is the most awkward bad acting show I have ever seen now that’s not a breakout show if ever I have seen one !!

  • Homer99

    You’ve forgot to add Nikita – final season.

  • Justin121

    Nashville, Mom, Brookly Nine-Nine: likely renewals.


    Tuesday: SHIELD and Super Fun Night and The Goldbergs may eek out a renewal. Golbergs to take Back in the Game’s slot by midseason.


    Monday & Thursday: remain as is through May.

    Next year: only one new comedy on Monday, one on Thursday. One out of Mom, Crazy Ones, Millers will be the “lowest rated CBS sitcom to get the axe”, in addition to the slot to-be-vacated by HIMYM.


    Voice + new drama Mon
    Voice + new drama Tues
    Chi Fi, Chi PD, SVU, Biggest Loser to cover 4-5 hours on Wed + Thurs.
    Parks, etc., cancelled.

  • Jason

    Almost all the comedies on CBS – with the exception of The Crazy Ones and Big Bang theory are about shock value and being crude – nothing more. They’re simply not funny. There’s seriously no substance – so who cares to watch them.

    I mean watching some guy get kicked in the nuts is funny… Once. 100 times, not so much.

    I don’t even find Mike & Molly that funny. CBS needs to get more shows that have good banter and appeal – like Big Bang, Blue Bloods and NCIS. Even Hawaii 5-0 has good banter (but their plots are getting stupid).

  • Jason

    @ Justin121: “Nashville, Mom, Brookly Nine-Nine: likely renewals.” – You’re out of your mind. And “SHIELD” may ‘eek’ out a renewal? Yeah; enough said.

  • Justin121


    It’s a long way ’til May.

    Nashville is one of the few dramas on ABC that has a solid fan base and isn’t a hundered years old.

    SHIELD isn’t done falling. Could be this year’s face-saving renewal.

    Brookly Nine-Nine and Mom are both well received, have potential to grow, and -given the overall comedy situation at their respective networks- have pretty good odds.

  • Mitchell


    What? ABC has just two dramas that are over three years old. And what the hell does ‘solid fanbase’ even mean?

    And BTW, it’s eke, not eek.

  • Mitchell

    Come on Tom. CBS aren’t going to cancel three veteran dramas this year. I’m not sure how you’re making the distinction between Blue Bloods and H50, either. Hawaii Five-0 is going to be renewed. The sooner you move it to renewal predicted, the less I have to bang on about this every week.

  • The 47th

    Is it possible to include spin offs in a syndication deal? For example: selling four seasons of Once Upon a Time plus one season of OUAT Wonderland.

  • Justin121

    From 2011-2013, out of:

    Nashville, Revenge, Once, Scandal.

    Nashville has been the most consistent in the ratings.

  • stefan

    I think Nashville, Blue Bloods, Good wife, Hawaii 5-O, The Mentalist, Parenthood, and Revolution should be bubble shows but I agree with everything else

  • Alvar

    If NBC were serious about rebooting Thursdays, they would have given up on the comedies, or at least cut them back to an hour. They need to use their established dramas to anchor non Voice nights and have new shows on Mondays and Tuesdays. My personal pick would be:

    8 The Biggest Loser (strong enough to anchor a non Voice night)
    9 Chicago Fire (would do similar or better numbers to SVU and stays on same night)
    10 New drama

    8 Michael J Fox Show
    8.30 Parks and Recreation (fall) / Community (spring)
    9 SVU (established audience would follow to new night, no other procedural competition)
    10 Parenthood

  • Mitchell


    Yeah, Nashville has been more consistent than Scandal. Better axe Scandal then.

    Consistency is meaningless when you’re consistently poorly rated.

  • Alvar

    ABC at midseason

    8 Agents of Shield
    9 Scandal
    10 New drama

    8 The Middle
    8.30 Suburgatory
    9 Modern Family
    9.30 Mixology

    8 New drama
    9 Greys Anatomy
    10 New drama

    8 Last Man Standing
    8.30 The Goldbergs or Back in the Game.

    Cancel the Tuesday comedy hour and use Scandal to lift the night. Replace The Neighbors with one of the new family comedies such as Back in The Game or The Goldbergs. Launch the midseason comedies on Wednesdays.

  • Oliver

    I still think the table is better ith 5 tiers. It’s more interested, allows for discussion, and allows for nuance.

    If you want to avoid putting shows on the bubble then “likely cancellation” is much more useful, since it suggests that you don’t think Mom (which will get a back 9) has the same chance of cancellation as Hostages (which is likely to get pulled).

  • Oliver


  • Dorothy5334

    From 2011-2013, out of:

    Nashville, Revenge, Once, Scandal.
    Nashville has been the most consistent in the ratings.

    Nashville wasn’t even on I’m 2011.. Besides it’s not their most consistent it average of their time that counts it’s their average this year.. Based in being consistent OUAT has been with both wks at 2.6 Nashville I think got a 2.4 first wk and 1.7 that’s a .7 drop if I have those #s correct..

  • Dorothy5334

    Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    Yeah, Nashville has been more consistent than Scandal. Better axe Scandal then.
    Consistency is meaningless when you’re consistently poorly rated.

    Lol I got a good laugh at that scandal cancellation.. Thx..

    We all do have to keep in mind that all these shows aren’t going to stay at these predictions.. I think the ABCs are the most likely to change.. At least the most of them..

  • Dorothy5334

    I was wrong on Nashvilles rating it was adjusted down lower if a 1.6. So it was a bit lower than I thought.. I actually thought I lt was more of a boring episode. I just got done with it. I fully expect it could go up a lot next wk..

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures