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


  • Shepherd


    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).

    A better chance that what other dramas?? Once, Scandal, AoS, Revenge?

    Once is 98-99% certain for renewal because of syndication. Sure it could drop to 1.0 next week, fall to the mid 0’s in the spring, and wind up with a season average around 1.0; but that isn’t going to happen.

    Revenge is in the same boat as Once; it’s about 97-98% certain for renewal because of syndication. Again, if its season average falls below 1.0, I agree that it might be in trouble, but that’s not going to happen no matter how much I and others wish it.

    Scandal may have seen a big drop for its second episode, but 3.1 is only 3% off the S.2 finale of 3.2 which was a series high. If it drops another .5 next week, then maybe we could bring it into the discussion; but the way I see it, at this point, the S.3 premier was just a spike in the ratings and the show is still in line with what it was doing towards the end of last season.

    While Scandal has an extra 7 episodes under its belt, those can easily be seen to offset the added cost of being a season ahead of your typical sophomore show. This means that both Scandal and Nashville are basically in the same boat as sophomore dramas. You’re honestly saying that the show that has been above 2.6 since Nov.2012, the entire spring season, has a greater chance of being cancelled than Nashville which hasn’t gone above 2.0 since January? Scandal is essentially a lock for two more seasons at least. Even if they have to shorten that second season because of ratings, after S.4, it will only be 15 episodes away from syndication.

    But it has a greater chance of renewal than AoS right? Wrong. Don’t forget, AoS is a freshman drama. AoS need only match Nashville’s numbers from last season for a renewal. It would basically have to average less than 1.9-1.8 for the entire spring season for it to even fall on the bubble. That’s certainly possible if the numbers continue to decline at its current rate, but highly unlikely. As you pointed out, AoS is probably a lock for a ‘pity’ renewal at the very least.

  • Anthony

    I agree with most of your predictions except a few (mainly on CBS). I don’t think CBS will cancel 4 dramas this season, especially given the likelihood that they will be dropping an hour of comedies for next falls schedule as well. Normally CBS tries to launch 3 dramas and 1 comedy each fall. If they do cancel that much they would be launching too many new shows in the fall (and would be doing so either in the dreaded Fri/Sun slots or shifting half their existing slate to Sunday/Friday, neither of which seem like enticing options). I think Hawaii 5-0 will probably be safe (pending it not imploding once Grimm returns). Good Wife and Mentalist seem done though (5-0 and BB have a leg up as they could use more episodes to sweeten syndication revenues). I think one of Dads, B99, and Mindy will be renewed as spackle (likely Mindy- more stable and closer to syndication). I think Michael J Fox show is dead, one (or both) of the midseason comedies will be renewed in addition to maybe Parks, but MJF already is at a 1.2 in the fall and is not a NBC production, it’s dead.

  • Justin121


    a better chance (of renewal than cancellation)

    NOT a better chance (than other dramas)

    How could I make this any more clear?


    See my reply to @Headless.

  • Maximillian

    Seriously, people are still making the argument for Nashville that it has better renewal odds b/c ABC profits from the soundtracks? :roll:

    Ok lets get a crash course in the music industry real fast. Nashville has sold appx 1.3M singles, and 100-125k albums. That is NOTHING. Any profits from this go straight to Big Machine Records who distribute the album, the songwriters and producers (most of which are well known names and are paid accordingly), and ABC may see a very small residual of the profit. CD’s/Singles don’t make money for artists, tours make money. Nashville certainly isn’t touring, and ABC certainly isn’t profiting from the music.

    Can we put that argument to rest now?

  • Matt

    I can easily see ABC give Castle a 2-season renewal by the end of the season. It’s continued success must make ABC happy, as it is there only procedural. Also, it is one of ABC’s only shows that consistently garner over 10 million viewers every week. While it’s demo ratings are marginal, they are not bad at all. If ABC does double renew Castle, and if castle keeps getting the ratings it gets, the 8th season probably won’t be the final season. I myself can see it go 10 seasons, easily.

    So happy to see Scandal Domination! :) Thursdays #1 drama and Thursdays #2 TV show!

    Hopefully, maybe Nashville can experience the same rare second season miracle that scandal did?!

    As I commented before, ABC should move TG and TW to Wednesdays at 8:30/9:30 to create a family comedy Wednesday, move super fun night to Tuesdays at 9:00 to lead into Mixology, and move Back in the game to Fridays at 8:30. This comedy schedule makes much more sense, as the comedies paired together would work well together.

    As much as I’d love to see ABC move Greys back to Sundays at 9:00 to lead into revenge and help boost Revenge’s ratings, I’m not sure I can see ABC doing that.

    RE: Agents of SHIELD. I think it has finally stabilized in the 2.8-3.2 Area, which is rather good for ABC and being up against powerhouses NCIS and The voice. Also, and if ABC can manage to score more guest spots by famous Avengers stars, such as the Sam Jackson, the word of mouth will be even better and will definitely help it. I predict next weeks ratings to tick up to about 3.0 and 8 million.

    NBC should just wipe out Thursdays completely and announce final seasons for Parenthood and parks unless their ratings improve.

    ROB premiered two years ago on CBS and never dropped below a 2.6 and averaged in the 3.0 area. TCO has already dropped from a 3.9 to a 2.9 to a 2.4.

    NBC must be happy with continued ratings success of veteran SVU.

    CW also is doing OK but not as good as last year however.

  • Tom Shaw

    To address some frequent comments:

    After seeing how the CBS Sunday dramas started, I stated last week that I think H50 has the best shot of the three (H50, Good Wife, & The Mentalist). However, Blue Bloods gets adjusted for the 10pm factor; H50 doesn’t. H50 still hasn’t aired against its normal competition yet either, which is why I’m not moving it yet.

    Revolution, Mindy Project, Nashville, etc.: I’m still getting the numbers together for next week’s bit on The Terrible Twos – the odds for renewal on a struggling show when its for 44 episodes, not 22.

    NBC Thursday – I want to verify that this week was the new normal for them, and not Glee related weirdness. Even if it was the new normal, I still think a spackle order of Parks is likely (NBC has to have some replacement, since it looks like near complete reboot again) and at least 13 episodes of MJF is probable, depending on who is running the network (more on that in two weeks!)

  • Shepherd


    A shows chances for renewal are based on how the other shows on the network are doing. Nashville is by far at the bottom of the pack in relation to non freshman dramas on ABC. Even if every new drama on ABC fails, Nashville would still need to markedly out perform AoS to earn a renewal; and at this point, AoS is markedly outperforming Nashville.

  • Austin

    Nashville is almost the new SMASH!

  • Chris J

    Tentative NBC midseason 2014 schedule:

    8 – American Dream Builders* (NEW)
    9 – Believe** (NEW)
    10 – Crisis** (NEW)

    8 – Voice
    10 – Blacklist

    8 – Voice results
    9 – Chicago PD (NEW)
    10 – Chicago Fire

    8 – Revolution**
    9 – Law & Order SVU
    10 – The Night Shift (NEW)

    8 – The Biggest Loser*
    9 – About A Boy (NEW) / Michael J Fox
    10 – Parenthood**

    8 – Parks and Rec (final season) / Growing up Fisher (NEW)
    9 – Grimm
    10 – Crossbones (NEW)

    *This schedule assumes NBC picks up another cycle of “The Biggest Loser”. If not, I could see the new reality competition “American Dream Builder” (which I expect to flop out of the gate) to be scheduled Thursday 8pm instead of Sunday 8pm.

    **This schedule also assumes Bubble Shows Revolution and Parenthood keep their slots. Both could be moved to a Sunday “burn-off” with new dramas “Believe” and “Crisis” taking their respective places.

    All other new shows not scheduled will either be pushed to Summer, have a late Spring premier, or be pulled before airing.

  • Chris J

    @Chris J

    NBC will also have a few limited series to air this Spring.

    They will have the sequel to “The Bible” series which will probably be huge, and I could see them slotting that at Thursday 8pm, to give a better lead in to Thursday family comedies.

  • Russ

    Nothing they put in Wonderlands spot will ever succeed while you have shows like TBBT that dominate a general audience, X-Factor, which command a general and W18-34 audience, and TVD, which commands a heavy W18-34 audience. Everything they put in that timeslot is going to fail. If OUATIW can maintain a 1.5 average for the season, they should renew it with a reduced budget for next year.

  • Russ

    Or a better timeslot. Put some cheap reality garbage in that slot, like they did with Wipeout, since they can really only compete with a cheap show that will have low ratings, not on big budget high ratings show.

  • Shepherd


    Wonderland was DOA. ABC will not renew it because it aired in the “death slot”, just like they didn’t renew Last Resort. They’ll take their chances with something new again next year.

  • Chris J

    Assuming only 5 dramas are renewed this year, with another comedy reboot next year here is my tentative NBC Fall Season 2014/2015 schedule:

    8 – Football

    8 – Voice
    10 – NEW Drama

    8 – NEW Comedies
    9 – Voice results
    10 – The Blacklist

    8 – The Biggest Loser
    9 – Chicago Fire
    10 – Chicago PD

    8 – The Space Race (NEW)
    9 – NEW Comedies
    10 – Law & Order SVU

    8 – Dateline
    9 – Grimm
    10 – NEW Drama

  • David James

    Fox continues to amaze me with their comedies. They’ve now cancelled Us & Them, the only Tuesday 9:30pm time slot competitor The Mindy Project had, which coupled with Mindy’s relatively stable ratings makes me think it’s a bubble show leaning towards the side of renewal. Obviously we’re only 3 weeks into the season (4 for Fox) and things can quickly change but those are just my two cents. Revolution’s future is still very uncertain so I’m not sure what to think of it as of yet but Nashville is probably bubble.

  • Rich

    The good thing (I suppose) about OUATIW is that it is only ever meant to last for one season anyway. Adam and Eddie have been very clear on that.

    So, ABC either lets it run on Thursdays (and accept the low ratings, which have a chance to improve) or move the remainder of the season to fill in OUAT’s 8 p.m. Sunday slot when that show breaks for the winter (December – March) as was originally intended.

  • Rich

    @Fionn518 “I really hope Once Upon a Time in Wonderland isnt cancelled, I really love it, it isnt fair that people are giving it such a hard time after just one episode either.”

    Exactly! Go back and look at the first episode of any series. You don’t judge a book by chapter one alone.

    The reviews have been favorable (more or less) and it’s getting word of mouth. I think that when the final DVR and on-line views are accounted for, OUATIW won’t look like the disaster people are making it out to be. Episode 2 looks good (filling in the holes from Episode 1) and Episode 3 has a bit of a cross-over with OUAT. The show just needs to find its footing.

  • Danielle


    It’s funny what fans find interesting and what they don’t, because I’m very much enjoying the slower pace on OUAT this year. It’s allowing room for the characters to breathe and allowing the story to get to the emotional heart of some things that have plenty of inherent drama (i.e. the Charmings and their family dynamic, which is, in the interest of full disclosure, the heart of the show for me). What we’ve seen so far this year, in terms of the characters and their emotional journeys, is what I’ve been wanting to see since the curse broke. :)

  • Shepherd

    @Chris J

    I could maybe (gr.) see that, but I don’t see Chicago PD doing any better than Wonderland. If it fails, I see a new Drama with F on Wednesday and possibly Revolution paired with Grimm on Fridays. Of course Revolution is doing quite poorly at this point, and it’s quite possible that even if Chicago PD bombs, it will still end up in a better position than Revolution.


    It’s my understanding that Wonderland has already been pulled for November sweeps.

  • Michael

    I think that Fox will try to salvage Brooklyn 99, just because the show is worth saving. They might need to move it after New Girl or air it after Idol in the Spring, but it’s current competition and terrible lead in are killing it.

    Even moving it to Sunday with their cartoons would save it. 8:30 between Simpsons and FG.

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