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


  • Haroon


    8 How I met your mother
    8:30 2 broke girls
    9:00 friends with better lives/bad teacher
    9:30 mike and molly
    10:00 Intelligence

    Tuesday stays the same

    8:00 Reckless/survivor
    9:00 Criminal Minds
    10:00 CSI

    8:00 Big bang theory
    8:30 The crazy ones
    9:00 two and a half men
    9:30 the millers

    The rest stays the same


    8:00 Almost Human
    9:00 The following

    Sleepy hollow is getting a 2nd season 13 episode order, the first series will be 13 episodes as well I think

    8:00 Brooklyn nine nine
    8:30 Surviving Jack
    9:00 New Girl
    9:30 The mindy Project/ Us and them

    Dads will get cancelled because of the mediocre ratings and the panned reviews. I hope TMP will get renewed but I don’t think it will.

    8-10 American Idol

    8: american idol
    9:00 Glee/Rake

    8: Bones
    9:00 Raising Hope
    9:30 Surviving Jack/US and them

  • ENTPgal

    Come on Nashville, Good Wife, B99, and Revolution! ~crosses fingers~

  • Anthony

    Tom, perhaps you could explain why you continue to predict a cancellation for Revolution despite steady ratings and being at ~85% of NBC’s scripted average, bound to grow as a percentage of the average as other shows especially Thursday comedies collapse. Meanwhile, Michael J. Fox’s show at a 1.2 in its third episode is a likely renewal?

    Looks like NBC really should have renewed one of Go On or The New Normal and cut the comedy time in half.

    Because the bubble watch is trying to predict what will happen at the end of the season (not what would happen if the season ends today- like the renew/cancel index). Revolution is currently at 85% of the ratings average as other NBC shows but that includes the flagging comedies, which NBC is likely going to grading on a separate scale as the dramas (see Deception last season which was okay on an average basis but lagged well below other dramas). Revolution is well behind Blacklist, Chicago Fire. While it is Still close to SVU, as it is a serialized drama (same goes for Parenthood) it is likely to dip in the ratings as the season progresses while SVU will be steadier. While I don’t agree with Tom that MJF will be renewed, he already stated in a comment that he is waiting to see if this week is a blip related to Glee or not before moving.

  • Percysowner

    @Doug F I agree that being the 2nd or 3rd highest rated show on a network usually means a show is safe, but not always. My understanding is that The Sentinel was UPN’s second highest rated show and they canceled it because the “wanted to take the network in a different direction and CBS had the noted purge of rural comedies that were doing well in the ratings. The history of Supernatural is interesting in that it is the only scripted show from the WB and UPN that remains on the schedule (ANTM did run on UPN, I think. I never watched it). There was talk of canceling after season 3, but the writers strike meant that there wasn’t much time to develop replacement shows (Pushing Daisies was renewed for a similar reason). Supernatural did not fit into the type of show that the CW said it wanted (female oriented dramas). Dawn Ostroff, who ran the CW was pretty clear that she wanted to dump the show and couldn’t because it was getting better ratings than her pet shows. Supernatural has been moved all over the place,(every night the CW programs for, except for Mondays) including the Friday death slot, and still managed to stay one of the highest rated shows on the CW.

    Supernatural had a lot of reasons why it shouldn’t have survived and yet it kept on getting good ratings for the network and may end up being its longest running scripted show. Lord knows how long ANTM will run, so that may be the network’s longest running show. It is tied with the ANTM to be the show to run the longest on the CW not counting the WB/UPN years. Supernatural would have to go to 11 seasons to beat Smallville for the all time CW/WB record and to be the longest running genre (scifi, horror, fantasy) show. There are reasons it is called “the little show that could”.

  • Melanie

    Regarding your CW predictions

    There is no way that the CW will make that many changes in their schedule. Arrow will not move from Wed at 8, the Tommorrow People will not move from Wed at 9.
    Now, if Reign is DOA after The Vampire Diaries AND the Originals struggles at 8 on Tuesday, which with only one data point there so far doesn’t seem to be happening, then yes, the CW might (emphasis ‘might’) move the Originals to 9 on Thursdays. But they are more likely to use TVD to launch one of the midseason dramas.

    I do think Hart of Dixie will end up on Fridays w/ Carrie Diaries. Beauty & the Beast is sacrificed to the Voice on Mondays and will limp along there to the end of the season.

  • Melanie

    SPN is already the CW’s longest running drama – it has been on the CW longer than any of the (now finished) WB shows or any of the shows the CW itself has launched.
    You’re correct about it needing to beat Smallville to be the longest running American Scifi-Fantasy program (any network) but it needs to beat 7th Heaven to be the longest running WB/CW drama.

  • Eric

    I don’t know why people act like Nashville is getting cancelled. It’s not. Its ratings are a little low, but I think it’s common sense that ABC is going to renew the show regardless. I don’t any ‘facts’ to back it up, but again, I fee as though it’s common sense. It’s just a ‘feeling’ I have about the show. Just my opinion, though.

  • 3terms4obama


    There’s no world in which Revolution should be listed as a cancellation while MJF is listed as a renewal. This discrepancy was not discussed in the article, and if someone had posted on the daily ratings post that MJF’s 1.2 was maybe just a blip due to a slightly stronger Glee — they would’ve been laughed out of town. Even if that’s what he believes, shouldn’t it be on the bubble? Sean Saves the World, meanwhile, apparently did not get this benefit of the doubt.

    I wasn’t aware the Bubble Watch predicted future ratings. If it does, it should take into account what has already happened this season — and Rev has been more steady than SVU.

  • ToXiX

    CBS Monday Midseason

    8 How I Met Your Mother
    830 2 Broke Girls
    9 Mike & Molly
    9 Mom

    CBS Thursday midseason

    8 The Big Bang Theory
    830 Friends With Better Lives
    9 Two And A Half Men
    930 The Crazy Ones or The Millers

    I have a feeling Bad Teacher will be this seasons Friend Me.

  • Anthony


    Don’t mistake me answering you with me defending all of Tom’s decisions. I was merely repeating what he had already written in the comments (about MJF). I do however agree that Revolution will be cancelled at seasons end and SVU will be renewed (I for the record think that both Revolution and MJF will be cancelled). I would also like to point out that Revolution has not been steadier than SVU. It has dropped in the ratings every episode this season (the same as SVU). While SVU has fallen further (from it’s premiere), it is still in the ratings range it ran in most of last season, while Revolution is well below it’s numbers from the last season. Couple that with the fact the SVU has a history of being a steady ratings performer while Revolution has a history of ratings declines (and only a history of ratings declines) this does not bode well for Revolution.

  • Anthony


    Also forgot to mention that there is a world where MJF could be renewed and Revolution cancelled. The world in which MJF is NBC’s highest rated comedy, and Revolution is (one of) NBC’s lowest rated dramas. Networks typically do not cancel their highest rated show in any category (be that comedy or drama) unless there are special circumstances (cast wanting to stop, cost, etc). Especially if the shows on that network are performing so badly they will be cancelling all their other shows in the genre (name the last time a network cancelled all of their existing dramas or comedies in a single season). At least one comedy will be back next season and right now MJF and Parks are tied for number one.

  • Tom

    The CW’s programming strategy for this season was to pair each of its three highest rated shows with a new series. HOD and BATB were the next highest rated and, hence, were scheduled together on Mondays. I find it difficult to believe the CW didn’t understand it was sacrificing these shows. So, don’t expect them to be cancelled or moved. The CW has already thrown in the towel on Fridays and has nothing to replace them.

    I’ve always considered the CW to be run by philistines, so it’s not entirely clear that, at the end of this season, the network will simply walk away from 44 episodes of BATB. It certainly didn’t with Nikita. Accordingly, BATB could drag on through a third season, particularly if its rating rise into the 0.4/0.5 range.

  • Shepherd


    I don’t know why people act like Nashville is getting cancelled. It’s not. Its ratings are a little low, but I think it’s common sense that ABC is going to renew the show regardless.

    It’s not common sense that Nashville will get renewed regardless, it wont. Common sense says that ABC is going to renew 6 dramas just like they did last year, which means that Nashville is in competition with their other dramas for a spot on next year’s schedule. If ABC decides to renew one of its freshman dramas, and it looks very likely that Agents is going to get the nod, then Nashville would have to beat out one of the other veteran dramas to earn a renewal. Assuming no contract issues with Castle or Gray’s, and assuming that the producers etc. of those shows wish to continue, its highly unlikely that Nashville can do that. As it stands, Nashville is at the bottom of the pack when it comes to veteran dramas on ABC.

    If ABC for some reason decides to renew 7 dramas, and the remainder of their freshman dramas fail; then Nashville might have a chance. However, most people around here are not in the habit of predicting miracles. No offense to your ‘gut’.

  • Maxx

    The OUATW producers already said that they would have told a complete story regardless of many episodes it has. I just look at the show as another episode of OUAT.

  • Dahne

    Finally a cancellation list I am good with since the only show on there I make an effort to watch is Trophy Wife. I never expected to like it but it is my surprise of the season. Here’s hoping moe people check it out.

  • Shepherd

    Of course if ABC does decide to renew 7 dramas, it’ll likely be because one of their yet to air freshmen dramas turns out to be a solid hit. In which case, Nashville still gets axed.

  • Seeker

    There’s a loophole for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Planned events for the series will eventually happen in the parent show.

  • dji

    reading this post no shows are doing well but then you predict all these shows being renewed. i don’t know what to make of the post.

  • Brandy

    @Tom(not TomShaw).I agree.Mon & Fri were the lowest rated night last season and probably will be again this one and I think if Tues-thurs are solid(o.7/0.8-1.0) I think they’ll be semi -happy.Also, they only shows I know of being pulled or moved during the season were:H8trs,Beautiful Life,Cult,Remodeld,Prefect Score.Prefect Score moved from Tues to Fri, Cult from tues to Fri then was pulled but later burne off its episodes and Remodeled was puled for a while then retund to burn off its episodes.Also,even with CD,GG,90210 doing under a milin viewers and 0.2-0.4, they weren’t lulled or moved.Emily Owens MD also stayed in its original timeslots despite 0.4-.4& once hitting a million viewers.CW will allow HoD & BaTB to finish thier seasons just as they have nearly every other underperform ing ,low rated show.Youre right also in that they don’t have replacements for them:CD,Reign,Nikita,ANTM will all be finished with thier seasaons by /at Midseason and need replacements.Seed,Whose Line,Master of Illusions might be summer shows,I not sure but I do know Famous in 12,The 100,Star-Crossed are in season replacements.I also doubt they would move CD to fri then move back to mon to move either HoD or BaTBt fri.I think Famous in 12 at least wil air on fri.

  • Mark Wood

    Doug F

    While being a top 2 or 3 show is a great way to survive, that doesn’t apply to SPN, it’s didn’t get to those levels until later in its run.

    Hell it’s had a season where encores of Pussy Cat Dolls beat it.
    Add to the fact that, the CW has never made secret that it targets adults 18-34, a group that SPN historically done poorly in. There have been years that SPN was the cut off point between renewal and cancelled, relative ratings wise, that’s season 2 and three.

    The strength of the show is that it’s lost very little of its audience during its run, and that is very rare for tv.

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