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


  • william

    abc should move revenge to 8:00, once upon a time to 9:00, and once upon a time in wonderland to 10:00.-sunday night line up

    last man standing-8:00, back in the game-8:30, whatever else- friday night line up

    the middle-8:00, the neighbors-8:30, modern family-9:00, trophy wife-9:30, suburgatory-10:00-wensday night line up.

  • Mark3

    Please give parenthood a final ep! U have enough time now to wrap it up. Please.dont cancel a show after being.on this long!

  • Percysowner

    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.

    I totally forgot about 7th Heaven, mostly because I never watched it, and partly because I was always mad that they renewed Everwood then canceled it when the 7th Heaven series “finale” did so good in the ratings that they brought it back. Checking the IMDB, 7th Heaven had 11 seasons, so if Supernatural needs 11 seasons to beat Smallville as longest SciFi/Fantasy and tie 7th Heaven as longest running WB/CW drama. If they go by ratings, it could go that long.

  • william

    I’m a once upon a time fan, and even i think in wonderland had a slow start, but after jafar made his appearance sh*t got real. as long as they do more flashbacks of alice at home the show should improve from the pilot.

  • queeneeuq

    Despite the fact that my favorite, The Neighbors, is in the red box. I actually agree with tthe rankings with two exception s.

    The Goldbergs should be predicted cancelled after having identical ratings to BitG in its third week

    2 + 1/2 Men is predicted renewed as CBS is likely gonna give it a final season like they did for Mother.

    Only SFN is the bubble left. Of course that could change once shows start to becone cancelled.

  • william

    i’m hopeful that they won’t cancel parenthoood, but if they do i think they’ll give them advanced notice before they are anywhere near the end of the 20episodes season. i just want the show to last long enough to see max finish high school, or possibly show him in the world one year after high school ends.

  • Brad


    Common sense and feeling means nothing.

    44 episodes at the end of the Season. It’s not going to get renewed if it keeps falling.

  • Brad


    You think Parenthood will last another 5 years? You’re joking, right?

  • Fred


    Regarding OUAT: don’t get me wrong I love the show. It’s just that I loved it more last season.
    Last weeks Fairytale land plot felt like a recap S1 ep. Although I’m enjoying the Neverland plot very much.
    Still we’re only 2 eps in and I should save judgement until the end of S3.

  • Stu

    Hey didn’t this website predict Revolution cancelled last year at this time and it was still the top drama on NBC and the ratings were slowly going down. Revolution has probably hit its bottom.
    What will NBC replace Revolution with with the Hannibal because it was highly rated..
    I guess will see in May 2014.

  • Pepper

    H50 is a bubble show. Other than that, looks solid.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Hey didn’t this website predict Revolution cancelled last year at this time and it was still the top drama on NBC and the ratings were slowly going down.”

    Hey, it didn’t. Whether we’ll be right this season remains to be seen, but we were right on it last season.

  • Mumbo

    I’d argue Revolution should be in the “On the Bubble” column. Only three weeks in and it’s NBC’s fourth-ranked scripted performer (behind only The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, and SVU). I think it is literally 50/50 on which way it could go.

  • aciel

    i’m confused why is nashville at a likely renewal in the renew/cancel index but hear its at a likely cancellation?

  • aciel

    something is wrong with the this bubble index nashville and the good wife should be on the bubble

  • HV

    Here are my predictions, although some things may be a little bit off, by like one section (usually likely vs very likely) because I am having problems with my regular computer.
    Note: A show that has aired only one episode this season cannot yet be moved to “very likely renewal/cancelation”. Also, I usually include shows whose fate are already announced, but I am not this time due to the previously mentioned computer problems.

    The Neighbors
    Welcome to the Family

    The Goldbergs
    Trophy Wife
    The Crazy Ones
    The Good Wife
    Beauty and the Beast
    The Mindy Project
    Sean Saves the World

    Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
    Super Fun Night
    Blue Bloods
    Hawaii Five-0
    The Mentalist
    The Millers
    The Tomorrow People
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine

    Last Man Standing
    2 Broke Girls
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    Person of Interest
    Hart of Dixie
    The Originals
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    The Michael J. Fox Show
    Parks and Recreation

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Grey’s Anatomy
    The Middle
    Modern Family
    Once Upon a Time
    The Big Bang Theory
    Criminal Minds
    NCIS: Los Angeles
    The Vampire Diaries
    Family Guy
    New Girl
    The Blacklist
    Chicago Fire


  • KC

    Nashville is definitely heading for cancellation. Honestly, The Good Wife would probably fair better on Fridays than against football on Sundays. Parks and Rec headed for renewal? I love Parks but it is getting terrible ratings right now.

  • aciel

    i know that revenge this season will get renewed because of syndication but if it wants save itself from cancelation next season it should be renewed for 12 episodes next season and that should just be the final season just like what they did with nikita

  • KC

    Scandal has defied logic to get excellent ratings in a 10:00pm slot and I think that it needs to be moved, but where? You can’t have it on Sundays (football). You can’t have it on Mondays or Tuesdays (Voice). Modern Family is doing very well at 9:00 on Wednesdays. And Greys is doing well at 9:00 on Thursdays. Do you risk moving Grey’s to 8:00 (death slot), Scandal to 9:00? I think that it would be a good idea because Grey’s could survive that move and Scandal could be a good lead in to a new drama at 10:00.

  • KC

    I think ABC should adjust their Sunday lineup. Move Revenge back to where it was in season 1 (Wednesdays 10:00). Move Nashville to 8:00 Sunday, OUAT to 9:00, and OUAT in Wonderland to 10:00.

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