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


  • aciel

    i don’t see nashville getting cancelled it has a very devoted fanbase so i think it will stay somewhere between a 1.5 to 2.0 for the rest of the season so i think that abc will renew it

  • chloe

    Does anyone know if abc has ordered 22 episode of lms and would it get renewed this season.

  • Shepherd


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

    The renew/cancel index predicts what will happen if the season were to end ‘today’, while the bubble watch predicts what will happen at the end of the season (May). This is all explained in the red text at the top of each index.

    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

    I’m very confused with what you’re trying to say here.

  • Russ

    I personally think that given its timeslot, and given how many shows are already having a very bad time on ABC, if Wonderland can retain a 1.5 or higher average for its season, it could be renewed. That said, if it doesn’t average at least a 1.5 and stay consistently above NBC and CW, I don’t see it sticking around, unfortunately :-(.

  • Charmed

    BATB might have had a chance on Friday but it’s too late now

  • aciel

    i was trying to say if revenge does get a fourth season which i know will get pretty bad ratings in its fourth season then i think think that the fourth season should have like 12 episodes and that should just be the final season

  • JJF

    I think all networks are in a lot of trouble. The new hits are somewhat solid but compared to hits even a few years ago, the bar is clearly a lot lower now. They need to do something radical. I think cable TV is going to follow close behind once it’s signature crop goes away. I think people just are not going to congregate to shows like they used to. There are just too many options and the business model will have to change if it’s to survive. At this rate, all of the networks are going to have 80% of their lineup at numbers that should warrant cancellation. And yet, they’ll have to keep renewing weak shows or else they’ll have nothing.

  • Fred

    What ABC should do ASAP :


    OUAT /Wonderland – when original is on hiatus
    Grey’s Anatomy- should improve upon Revenge.
    Nashville – before axing it give it one more shot here. Would most definitely improve time slot ratings.
    Betrayal is sleep inducing , and I still watch it, don’t ask me why.




    New Sitcom
    Super Fun Night
    New Drama


    Back in the Game
    Trophy Wife
    Revenge- should improve upon Nashville


    The Look Out- entertaining lite newsmagazine
    New drama- allow mega hit to help out something new.


    Shark Tank- lead off the night with strong #s
    Prime Time WWYD- reality /lite news magazine

  • Fred


    If ABC has better sitcoms up its sleeve ,Super Fun Night and /or Back in the Game should get replaced .
    Hard to believe that the often hilarious Happy Endings couldn’t survive . Equally disappointed that Cougar Town wasn’t popular enough for ABC. At least I can enjoy it on TBS.

  • Shepherd


    That’s kind of what I thought, but every time I reread your comment I became less sure. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • Charmed

    ABC should pull Betrayal, move Wonderland to Sunday at 9 and move RVG to 10 if they want Wonderland to stand a chance, could be too late now. If you ask me, Wonderland is just like an episode of OUAT, it doesn’t really have any significance

  • Alecia

    I don’t see ABC splitting up Grey’s and Scandal for any of the shows currently on air. If they do split mid season it’s going to be to launch whatever new shows they have.

  • aciel

    betrayal sucks i don’t know how it got picked up abc should just cancel it already and put nashville on its timeslot

  • steven

    Isn’t OUAT in Wonderland supposed to be a limited series?

  • aciel

    i don’t think that its a good idea moving wonderland to sunday at 9 it would basically be like people are watching the same show if it comes on after ouat i say that they should make it a summer show and air it during the day its more suited as a daytime show

  • CraveRecords

    @Alvar: Scandal will not be moving to Tuesday. As the article states, ABC’s plan is to leave established hits where they are and try to fill holes. The only major scheduling moves that might happen are on Sunday (Revenge to 10 and anything more compatible with OUAT at 9), Tuesday (getting rid of the comedy hour) and Wednesday (replacing comedies at 8:30 and 9:30).

    ABC moved its only hit freshman last year (Revenge) and the result…

  • Shepherd

    @Charmed @Alvar

    ABC should pull Betrayal, move Wonderland to Sunday at 9 [or some OUAT compatible show] and move RVG to 10 if they want Wonderland to stand a chance…

    Revenge has proven time and again that it virtually unaffected by TWD. Why would they move Revenge to a new time, only to put a untested show up against the most popular show on television?

    I agree that Betrayal is terrible and needs to go, but if ad when they do pull betrayal the replacement will air at 10, not 9 as per ABC’s pattern.

  • Shepherd

    * that it is virtually unaffected…

    * but if and when they do…

    ^^Needs a new keyboard. :)

  • kingleonidas04

    Revolution is an amazing show. NBC should have changed the day and time.

  • Ted Craig


    LMS has an excellent chance of being renewed thanks to syndication.

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