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


  • Greengirl

    Just my opinion. Why did the CW even bother to renew BATB, when it looks like to will be canceled? What a waste.

  • Shepherd

    As far as dramas are concerned, I pretty much agree entirely with you text.

    Because it is the CW, and they may not have any other choice, I’m personally waiting to make any call on BaTB until we see how their other shows premier. At this point, I’d still put its chances of renewal at 5%.

    Again, because it’s NBC, and everything else seems to be doing terribly, I’m holding off on calling Revolution just yet, although I’ll probably have it as likely cancellation by next week or the week after.

  • Fred

    15 year old AdamP is right on the money.
    Very impressive assessment .

    Nashville (not nearly as entertaining this season) is in great danger ratings wise. Hate to say this because I enjoyed it so much last season.
    OUAT and Revenge ( big fan of both) are more focused this season but not as entertaining. Both shows seem to be playing it safe due to criticsin last season. Rather the inconsistencies of last season because it brought some stand out eps. A lock in for renewal though because of syndication but wish both shows would improve creatively FAST.
    The Middle is still my favorite family sitcom, but so far this season is not quite as funny. The college scenes are boring and the show is missing that uniqueness it used to have . Perhaps it’s simply aging. Hope to see some improvement soon . Ratings are holding up OK though.

    As for new shows: Betrayal is the most dull show I have ever watched. But for some strange reason Im still watching it hoping it livens up a bit. I did enjoy past time slot entries like Brothers and Sisters , Pan AM and 666 much more. I miss all of them .
    Super Fun Night is super silly and too simple. But Rebel does make me laugh from time to time. Ratings are OK but would probably crash when moved away from the Modern Family glow . I enjoyed Happy Endings ( RIP)much more. Also still enjoy Cougar Town on TBS. Looking forward to that.

  • eelna

    Ratings Prediction

    What do you predict for REIGN?

    I’ve heard that it had really good reception at the New York Comic-Con. Fans really liked it. And having it after THE VAMPIRE DIARIES can help it. So I predict:

    TVD has next week a UP, because of Ripper Stefan, and the second episode was great, so I see: 2.6 Mill Viewers and a Rating of 1.3

    REIGN can build up from here, but still it’ll be down for 2.00Mill Viewers and a Rating of 0.8.
    For sure it’ll premiere better than the Carrie Diaries.
    Critics love it, so I think Fans will too:
    So the second episode will be at 1.8 Mill Viewers and a 0.7 rating, and it will most likely keep around there.

    Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast will go up, because of NO PRE-Emption.
    Hart of Dixie=1.2Mill Viewers and 0.6 rating
    BATB=1.4Mill Viewers and 0.6 rating

    The Originals will rise, because now everyone has realized that it’s on Tuesdays.
    The Originals=2.1Mill Viewers and a 1.0 rating
    Supernatural=2.2Mill Viewers and a 1.0 rating

    Arrow will go up after a huge season premiere.
    Arrow=2.9Mill Viewers and 0.9 rating
    The Tomorrow People=2.3Mill Viewers and 0.9 rating

    The Carrie Diaries in two weeks will premiere better than it left off last season
    The Carrie Diaries=1.2Mill viewers and a 0.4 rating

  • Shepherd


    I predicted Nashville and TCD as sophomore shows that would get cancelled this year. I probably should have added BaTB and Revolution to my list but I completely stand by my call on Nashville. That show has nothing going for it.

    As far as Nashville being steady, in what universe? 2.0, 1.9, 1.6 so far this season; seems to be on a downward trend in my book.

  • rob60990

    The Crazy Ones falling every week and MJFS already at a 1.2 do not make them certain to be renewed.

  • alexjones

    well wonderland wasn’t going to go beyond 13 episodes anyway.

  • Justin121

    My argument: Nashville has a better chance of renewal than cancellation because its ratings are close enough to the other dramas (NOT that its chances are better than the other dramas).

  • HeadlessHorseman (formerly JacobYates)

    Your argument is even worse than Nashville’s ratings.

    Glad to see the Bubble Watch improving since its poor start. I love how you write about individual shows by network in the post instead of just putting the table down.

  • Maximillian

    I still think the table is better with 5 tiers. It’s more interesting, 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).

    Totally agree

  • HeadlessHorseman (formerly JacobYates)

    What dramas are close to Nashville ratings wise?

  • Matt

    If Nashville stays consistent in the 1.7-2.1 area it won’t be cancelled. Plus ABC loves the show… And the cast. It will probably go up to about a 1.9/2.0 next week. The show also has a huge following.

    ABC needs to move The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife to Wednesdays at 8:30 and 9:30 in order to save them and create a “Family Comedy Wednesday”. Cancel The Neighbors and move Back in the Game to Fridays at 8:30. Then move Super Fun Night to Tuesdays at 9:00 to lead into new comedy mixology at 9:30. This comedy reworking makes much more sense, and all the comedies would work well together. And I’m sure ABC can fit Suburgstory in there somewhere.

  • Percysowner

    Is there a risk the Cw might not be around next year?

    I’m pretty certain affiliate contracts run through 2015, so the CW should stay on until then. The affiliates won’t pull out until then because it is too costly. The CW won’t close on its own because its shows (well Warner Brothers shows) are making them money in syndication and Netflix. The crunch will be when the affiliates have to decide whether to re-sign another contract for 2015 to whatever.

  • Scandalicious

    I can already tell this season is going to be a heartbreaker. I get attached to these new shows and they underperform and are (understandably) canceled.

    ABC: I am loving Trophy Wife. I really wish they would swap the new Tuesday comedies with the new Wednesday comedies and put Trophy Wife after Modern Family. I also really don’t want to see Nashville canceled, but with the exception of Betrayal and Wonderland, ABC has a solid line up of dramas. So glad to see Scandal domination!

    CBS: The only new show I have really grown attached to in The Crazy Ones. If it can stabilize NOW I think it will be renewed. I think it will be interesting to see how far the network has slipped by the end of this season.

    CW: Thankfully, both The Originals and The Tomorrow People have done pretty well by CW standards. I am still pulling for a huge CW comeback. Their numbers aren’t that far off from the NBC has been getting.

    FOX: I have jumped on the Brooklyn Nine-Nine train and I don’t want to get off. It is such a great comedy. I just have a sinking feeling FOX won’t be as patient as they should be. I am glad Sleepy Hollow was the first renewal of the season! Please, just yank Dads now.

    NBC: Go The Blacklist Go! NBC’s only new hit. I’m glad they launched this after The Voice to ensure its success. I am also still a fan of Revolution. This season has been so much better than last. If NBC can shuffle up its schedule a little bit (and put Revolution at a latter time) it could still survive.

  • Melissa


    My argument: Nashville has a better chance of renewal than cancellation because its ratings are close enough to the other dramas (NOT that its chances are better than the other dramas).

    The only drama of the three you listed that Nashville is arguably “close” to is Revenge, which has syndication on its side. As of right now, Once Upon a Time is still in the mid 2’s and Scandal is in the 3’s, a far cry from Nashville’s mid-high 1’s.

  • Bitter Go On Fan (Former Bitter Ringer Fan)

    The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife need to be on wednesdays with The Middle and Modern Family.
    Nbc needs to accept defeated and cancel both WTTF and SSTW!!!! like asap!

  • Chris J

    For NBC, I can’t see any of their comedies being renewed.

    All of their comedy ratings will likely continue sagging through the Spring, so none of them will be in renewal territory by the end of the season.

    Only shows that I can see being RENEWED:

    Blacklist (obviously)
    Chicago Fire
    Chicago PD (this spinoff will probably be given prime scheduling since NBC wants to build off of these shows a new franchise)
    Law and Order SVU (its steady as a rock)
    Grimm (it’s friday show in it’s 3rd season)

    Everything else will be CANCELED. As you can see the only likely shows to be renewed are procedurals, and that seems to be where NBC is going back to. Less serialized dramas more steady procedurals.

    Also midseason “DARK HORSE” shows that may eek a renewal would be “Believe” and the “Night Shift”. Everything else will like be DOA.

  • Valentin

    With Nashville, the thing is that they earn money from the soundtracks + Connie was nominated at the Emmy + critics acclaim the show & ABC loves it too much. So if it stays stable from last year’s ratings, ABC will probably renew it for a third season.
    For CBS Comedies, it depends on how much The Crazy Ones will fall but I think it will stabilize enough for CBS to order a 1st season and maybe switch it with The Millers because TCO needs a bigger lead-in to establish its fanbase. Mom will probably grow from TBBT repeats & The Millers will be okay. 2 Broke Girls, I hope, will grow behind HIMYM. TAAHM needs something to increase because this is not TCO’s fault (the series premiere was super high & TAAHM was not that much right after).
    CW :
    I guess, that they will wait to see how well BATB will do for the 1st part of the season but I don’t see them cancel it, the network loves it too much. The Carrie Diaries will probably stay stable from last year and as it’s a Friday show, CW will be okay with it & may give it a back 9 order. I don’t cancellation for The Tomorrow People or The Originals. I don’t know for Reign. We’ll see.

  • Cliff

    Well Mike & Molly might not be the break
    Out hit you were looking for but there repeats
    This summer on Monday’s were the best
    Of the bunch at 9:30p. It is a classic
    Style sitcom and a refreshing break from
    The boring office party or 2 broken girls fluff
    That isn’t working kinda shows

  • Justin121


    R/C Index: What Will Happen if the Season Ended Today.

    Bubble Watch: What Will Happen in May.

    Revenge and Castle: already close to Nashville.

    Once: a couple of tenths higher. Had a gigantic drop last year from Sept. to May.

    Scandal: could easily fizzle.

    Grey’s: on a downward trend.

    All this without even mentiong the 10 pm factor and the failure of nearly 8 new series (again: May. Super Fun Night, SHIELD, haven’t stabilized and the rest outright bombed).

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