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


  • Dan14

    It’s obvious that NBC needs to get out of the sitcom business. At least for a little while. As much as I love Parks, I don’t really see the need for a 7th and “final” season. Especially considering that every season since S2 has been written as a “final season.”

  • rgxx

    I swear – if NBC doesn’t give Revolution or Parenthood time to finish their stories or give them a good send off – I will only view tv series AFTER they are completed onto DVD.

  • Spero

    If by some miracle Wonderland holds at its current level in the ABC deathslot, it’ll be renewed. It would also not surprise if they moved it to a new day, maybe to Tuesdays or even Fridays, and found the ratings fair well by comparison. It’s on a path to cancellation right now, but I think there’s some hope.

  • thesnowleopard

    Supernatural’s numbers are by far the most interesting thing to watch for the CW’s ratings. Not that it’s boring watching a network plumb the depths with its worst shows (or even hold well enough to slowly gain on the bigger networks). But a show that goes against the usual theories for a decade is always something to watch and emulate, especially when it’s not a cop or ensemble show. Expect to see more Grimm-style Supernatural clones down the road. And I don’t just mean that ill-considered spinoff.

  • scott

    Beauty and the Beast should never have been renewed in the first place. It has horrible acting, bad writing and is like watching the worst soap opera imaginable. The CW is really focusing this year on some really great new shows and it does not need to have this dribble stain its valiant effort

  • Wright

    Revolution will be renewed.

  • Chris

    Wonderland, Good Wife, Hawaii 50, The Mentalist, Revolution, and Parenthood are closer to being bubble shows then canceled, everything else is basically a 50/50 depending on what the channel will end up needing in the spring or next season.

  • anniesum

    It is really interesting that so many people “don’t like” so many of the shows on TV today. It would be nice to know what it is that people are looking for in a great TV show. Sleepy Hollow seems to have found the formula and of course the NCIS’s, and the Big Bang Theory on the comedy side. But those few shows and a few more, do not a season make, especially with the number of networks that have to find shows. What is it that people want?


    If they get the great music back in Nashville (Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen), it will be fine!! Should be on Bubble.

    Once Upon a Time in Wonderland has only aired one episode, why not Bubble??

  • Jon

    Terrible bubble list. There should be way more bubble shows at this stage in the game. At least 8-10 at a minimum. Way too early to be that certain.

  • supergirl18

    Maybe if they didn’t put Once upon a time in Wonderland on a Thursday, the show would do better?

  • Chris J


    There’s enough lead time now where Revolution and Parenthood’s current seasons can be written as final seasons to tie up any potential loose ends.

    Same goes for Parks and Rec.

    NBC already knows nine of these series will make it pass this season anyway. Instead of stringing these series along they should notify the producers early that their series won’t be picked up for another season. Then NBC can begin branding these current seasons as final seasons for these 3 shows. That may help lift ratings especially for veterans parenthood and parks.

    Also that’ll help give closure to fans and help the writers conceive satisfying endings to their series.


    I honestly hope it’s not NBC doesn’t need anymore low rated series in its roster. They are so close to turning their ratings situation around.

  • Mica

    Parenthood..really? That would be a huge loss. Good quality TV!

  • Patrick G

    There are far too many shows in the “Cancelation Predicted” and “Renewal Predicted” categories that really belong “On the Bubble,” especially this early in the season. Plus, the column IS called “Bubble Watch!” Yet only 3 shows on all 4 networks are on the bubble!?! NOT!! How about a little more conservatism with the predictions this early on?!?!!!

  • michaelincmh

    Mike & Molly is nothing but a show that glorifies being obese. Can’t wait until it’s off the air!

  • Ultima

    The Good Wife is such a great show! It is one of the only truly smart legal dramas and never fails to entertain. Their problem is the terrible time slot CBS put them in. I know so many people who stopped watching because of the football games that make almost the entire season pre-empted. You can’t even DVR it effectively.

    Easy guide to recording your CBS Sunday shows…

    During football season, check your local listings. If there is a football game leading into 60 Minutes, extend the record time for your show by 30 minutes.

    During late March/early April, if there is Basketball/Golf leading into 60 Minutes, extend the record time for your show by 60 minutes.

    That’s all there is to it.

  • Ultima

    Sunday will totally change after football is over

    People say that every year, usually because they have no clue what they’re talking about.

    Here’s what is actually going to happen when Sunday Night Football ends: Higher HUT levels and an abundance of repeats will results in ratings boosts for many shows airing during the week in January (and possibly in February with sweeps stunting); meanwhile, due to two months of awards shows, playoff games and preemptions, Sunday shows probably won’t see any increase in ratings and may actually drop, some of them significantly.

  • Ultima

    Just a random thought regarding DVRs and CBS, I would like to see them use the 7:30pm start time for the first two weeks of March Madness as well. That way, viewers could simply do a record+30 every time they see sports and not have to worry about it.

    About the only things that would still miss would be extra holes at The Masters or extreme overruns, which occur at an acceptable rate of less than once a year. (You can never DVR safely 100% of the time anyways, due to the small chance of breaking news, etc.)

  • Jon

    @ Michael………I am not a fan of Mike and molly, but what does it mean to glorify obese people? Is Tv supposed to always pretend everyone is a size 2 when over half the American population is obese. Are we then to disregard these people as somehow less worthy to be acting on Tv since they are fat.

  • Fred

    The OUAT Wonderland pilot was well acted and well produced.
    However so far it seems a bit juvenile , unlike the original OUAT that is more violent and seems to cater to an older demo.
    Perhaps Sunday at 7:00 would be a more appropriate time slot followed by OUAT at 8:00.
    AFHV can be saved after Wonderland ends.
    Thursday at 8:00 is a very tough slot. A low cost light news magazine such as The Look Out or Primetime What Would You Do? might work there. Shows like that don’t need high ratings.

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