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


  • Ted Craig

    “Chalk up another one to the ABC Death Slot.”

    More like chalk it up to another poorly conceived show.

  • Huh

    I’m actually banking on Nashville and Brooklyn 99 getting renewal notices; both have surprisingly strong fandoms, and Brooklyn 99 is actually starting to build watercooler buzz where I reside.

    As for SPN surviving? Believe it or not, it has a huge w18-34 fanbase, on top of appealing to men. It’s got a good-sized cult fandom.

  • queeneeuq

    If Back in the Game is on its way to be canceled then why not The Goldbergs? They have the same ratings and The Goldbergs is likely to fall. Below BitG levels.

  • Ultima

    I think all networks are in a lot of trouble.

    What kind of trouble? It’s not like TV is in any danger of no longer being the primary advertising medium at any point in the near future.

    The new hits are somewhat solid but compared to hits even a few years ago, the bar is clearly a lot lower now.

    That statement has been true for the past twenty-five years, yet the networks are still around. As viewers, it’s even less of a concern – there’s a lot more programming available now than there was back then.

    They need to do something radical.

    No, they really don’t.

    Something radical would be getting Congress to pass legislation that mandates a la carte cable subscriptions; this would drastically lower the amount of available networks and subsequently boost ratings.

    Why do you want less programming to be available to you as a viewer?

    I think people just are not going to congregate to shows like they used to.

    What are you basing this on? Certainly not what is actually happening.

    Shows like The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, The Voice, American Idol and Duck Dynasty provide plenty of evidence that the right shows can still draw big numbers on a regular basis.

    At this rate, all of the networks are going to have 80% of their lineup at numbers that should warrant cancellation.

    Nonsense. Networks make renewal and cancellation decisions based on the relative value of their shows.

    It’s very rare for a network to be in a position where they should or would want to cancel 80% of their programming (NBC did it with their sitcoms earlier this year, but that was only a portion of their overall programming).

    You need to get over looking at absolute numbers. It’s not how the industry works.

  • Dan S

    @queeneeuq, regarding The Goldbergs being favored over BITG. The former is in a more competitive timeslot & has actually performed better than its predecessors has on Tues. Whereas BITG is given a cushier more protected slot & has dropped off from The Middle before it & Modern Family after it. I think it’ll likely get moved to Fri & Goldbergs gets put on Wed at 8:30pm.

  • senor chang

    Are there any recent precedents for networks where the disparity between sitcom/drama ratings was as huge as NBC’s right now? I think FOX was in a similar situation before New Girl, but as far as I remember it was nowhere as drastic as NBC’s situation right now.

    Prospective post-Olympics schedule for NBC, just for funsies:

    8 The Voice
    10 The Blacklist

    8 NEW COMEDY (premiere post-Olympics, repeat on Friday)
    8:30 NEW COMEDY (same strategy)
    9 The Voice
    10 Chicago Fire

    8 Revolution
    9 Law and Order: SVU

    8 Community
    8:30 Parks
    9 Michael J. Fox (promote heavily, relaunch against The Crazy Ones)
    9:30 NEW COMEDY
    10 Parenthood

    8 Encores
    9 Grimm
    10 Dateline

    7 Dateline
    8 The Biggest Loser
    10 CRISIS

  • Ultima

    @senor chang
    Are there any recent precedents for networks where the disparity between sitcom/drama ratings was as huge as NBC’s right now? I think FOX was in a similar situation before New Girl, but as far as I remember it was nowhere as drastic as NBC’s situation right now.

    Yes. In the 2008-09 season, ABC’s highest rated sitcom was Scrubs with a 2.2 average. That was below all seven of the dramas renewed by ABC (which ranged from a 2.3 for Ugly Betty to a 5.7 for Grey’s). The DWTS-boosted Samantha Who? was the only other sitcom on the network to have a higher average than their lowest rated drama.

    That same season, FOX had only two live action sitcoms, which aired a combined total of ten episodes.

  • senor chang


    Really interesting info, thanks! It seems like nowadays, when there’s huge differences sitcoms are usually weaker than dramas. Hard to imagine that there was a time when NBC had eighteen sitcoms on at the same time. I wonder if/when the pendulum swings the other way, though.

  • Brad


    Watercooler buzz? New bingo card.

  • TVDude

    I’m not sure NBC will be super quick to pull the trigger on Revolution. It’s still doing OK for the time period vs last season and Ironside was a good reminder of what could replace it (an even worse rated show). Then again, if they do renew it, chances are high that it would also get a fourth season.

    I don’t see NBC canceling Parks and Rec. They will let it end similar to the way the let 30 Rock end. Expect them to keep it as a gap filler for next season until they can find a stable comedy show (not that P&R is stable, but more episodes will mean more $ later in repeats, the same will apply with Community). At worst, NBC could put Parks and Community on Fridays next season to burn them off before the Super Bowl, Final Season Friday.

    Parenthood will be interesting. It’s doing OK compared to Rock Center and even Hannibal, which got renewed. It is far from NBC’s biggest problem on Thursdays and I think they should keep it at 10pm until they can find a real anchor at 9pm.

  • Dan

    Here’s the thing

    ABC – They have drama troubles and it looks like Agents of Shield will be their only success. Plus the Goldbergs is retaining more of Shield than SFN is of Modern Family. My guess is that ABC will order a full season of Goldbergs and maybe Super Fun Night. Not sure what to think of Back in the Game and Trophy Wife but 1 of the 2 is dead. OUAT Wonderland and Betrayal are both done after their 13 episode short seasons. Shield will be the only drama renewed for Season 2 and Nashville may get a third season moved to Sundays at 10. Veterans Grey’s, Castle, Scandal, OUAT, Revenge, Modern Family, The Middle, and Last Man Standing will all be renewed for next season. Not sure what to say about Suburgatory and The Neighbors is more likely to be cancelled then renewed.

    CBS – They have a lot of comedies to work with even at midseason so my theory is extra episodes/full seasons of Mom, Crazy Ones and The Millers. Mom may stay the full season while The Millers and Crazy Ones may be replaced by Friends With Better Lives and Bad Teacher respectively by March.
    Hostages will stay the course and air all 15 episodes and be replaced by Intelligence. CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, NCIS LA, Blue Bloods, Hawaii 5-0, Person of Interest, Elementary, Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls will be renewed. HIMYM is in its final season. The Mentalist, and The Good Wife, as well as Hostages will be cancelled to make room for 3 new dramas premiering next year. 1 friday drama likely H50 will move to Sundays, CSI will probably move to Fridays at 9 and a new drama will likely premiere Wed at 10 post CM.

    FOX – Fox is doing well this year. Sleepy Hollow is a breakout hit (already renewed), and while Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine could be doing better. FOX seems content with how they are performing so there is no need to cancel either now. Brooklyn Nine Nine will get a full season and Dads may get additional episodes to bridge the gap (It probably wont be officially done until May). SH, Glee, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Bob’s Burgers have already been renewed, X Factor, Idol, Bones and New Girl probably will be. All Gordon Ramsey shows pretty much will be renewed, and unless its a second season flop, The Following may be renewed as well. Mindy Project will probably get cancelled as well as the friday bound Raising Hope.

    NBC – NBC is once again held up by The Voice which is why Blacklist and Chicago Fire are certain to be renewed as well as syndication bound Grimm. Wednesday is modest for all shows which puts Revolution and SVU squarely on the bubble and while Ironside is a flop, NBC may keep it on a few more weeks. However Thursdays are horrible which means a complete revamping. NBC should definitely keep Parenthood where it is but bring Community in at 8 and move Parks at 8:30 replacing Welcome to the Family then move MJF show to 9 and Sean Saves the World to 9:30. Thats the best show at the night doing better. I can’t predict what comedies will be renewed since they are all flopping hard. Parks and Community could get final seasons but at this point who knows? These very seasons could be them. NBC is difficult to predict regarding renewals and cancellations.

    CW – CW is easy to figure out. Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, Hart of Dixie, Arrow, Originals, and Tomorrow People will all be renewed. Beauty and the Beast will probably get cancelled and Carrie Diaries will definitely get cancelled. Reign may get more episodes but probably will be cancelled.

  • Smallvillefan21


    The reason why Justin121 said Scandal will be cancelled this year is because he is obviously high out of his mind!

  • Midnight


    Instead of moving Hawaii Five-0 to Sundays and CSI to Fridays, why not just move CSI to Sundays. With CBS, fewer moves is always better.

  • Smallvillefan21

    @Midnight, I totally disagree…
    CBS mentioned that they are gonna greenlight another NCIS show called NCIS: New Orleans which puts me in this statement

    Move Person of Interest maybe either to Sundays or to Thursdays again so that you have NCIS at 8pm, NCIS:LA at 9 and NCIS:NO at 10pm
    Juggernaut Tuesday for ratings right there!!!

    If Hawaii Five 0 is gonna get renewed since its on Fridays, why move it?

  • Diana

    My CW prediction

    Hart of Dixie = Likely Renewal
    Beauty and the Beast = Certain Renewal
    The Originals = Certain Renewal
    Supernatural = Certain Renewal
    Arrow = Certain Renewal
    The Tomorrow People = Likely Renewal
    The Vampire Diaries = Certain Renewal

  • Diana

    Beauty And The Beast will NOT get cancelled!!! NOT MY WATCH!! & NOT on the fans a.k.a. the Beasties WATCH! WE WILL FIGHT! & WE WILL ROAR!!!!!

  • Networkman

    I still don’t understand Parks & Recreation being likely renewal. Is a 1.2 acceptable. It should at least be on the bubble. NBC has given MJF Show a committed 22 episodes. So if they are really trying to make it work to ensure at least one hit new comedy, why not put it on Tuesday after The Voice. They are committed to airing all of its episodes anyway, so give it the best possible chance to succeed.

    Parks & Recreation is simply not a hit. I believe if The Office came back this year it would be garnering higher ratings than Parks & Recreation. This season Parks & Rec will have produce more than 100 episodes. Well now its time to call it quits.

  • Janus

    @Tom Shaw–regardless of your terrible 2 theory…I think of the terrible 2 shows, you have to take into account that REVOLUTION is on NBC and the weakness of that network makes REVOLUTION at least a bubble show and I would say slightly leaning to RENEWAL.

  • HV

    Clearly your love for Beauty and the Beast blinds you from the fact that season two premiered with crappy ratings.
    At this point so far this season, BATB is the lowest-rated scripted show on the CW this fall. I do not see the CW renewing this show, as a third season renewal makes a fourth season renewal almost certain due to syndication, and the CW is not holding onto a show with that awful of ratings for two years.

  • Networkman

    NBC’s shows that should be cancelled by May 2014: Ironside, Parenthood and all the NBC Thursday night comedies.

    I have read that many viewers feel as if Revolution has improved this season. If that is the case, NBC should have faith in the show and really try and make it work. Law & Order:SVU should return for the 2014-15 season which should be its last.

    This is how I would like to see the 2014-2015 scheduled
    8 The Voice
    10 New Drama- The Conspiracy

    8 The Voice
    9 New Comedy(Multi Cam)
    9:30 New Comedy- Roseanne Barr Project
    10 Chicago Fire

    8 Dateline
    9 New Drama – Paradise
    10 Revolution

    8 The Biggest Loser
    9 Believe
    10 The Blacklist

    8 Crossbones
    9 Law & Order: SVU (Final Season)
    10 Grimm

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