Bubble Watch: Will 'Revolution,' 'Nashville,' 'Elementary' & 'The Mindy Project' Survive The Terrible Twos?

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

October 20th, 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.

The Terrible Twos!

For years, you have heard tvbythenumbers repeat that any show with three full seasons (roughly 66 episodes) is virtually guaranteed to get one more season for syndication.

The extension of this is that any show at two full seasons is essentially deciding on a 44 episode renewal.

The problem, especially this year, is that if those sophomore shows are doing poorly, that’s a huge – and lengthy – bet the network has to make.

How those questionable sophomores line up:


Pro: Not doing terribly for 10pm.

Con: “Not doing terribly” equates to just 80% of ABC’s scripted average. Soaps historically aren’t that profitable in syndication. Limited number of alternate timeslots – Revenge is begging to be moved to Sunday @10 next season, which only leaves Tuesday @10 and the good old ABC Death Slot (Thursday @ 8).


Pro: CBS looks like it will have room on Sundays next year; had been doing adequately this season for a 10pm show.

Con: This week’s drop may not have entirely been baseball related – it has dropped every week this season. What is its floor?

The Mindy Project

Pro: Fox is developing as if they will have at least two hours of comedy next season, and will need insurance. AdWeek’s annual estimates suggest the show still has value.

Con: Fox’s worst rated show of the season (just 73% of Fox’s scripted average), albeit only a tenth behind Dads’ cumulative 18-49 rating. If it is getting that worst rating even after airing behind New Girl, what happens when it moves elsewhere?


Pro: Started off in line with how it ended last season – but without the The Voice lead-in!

Con: And then dropped every week since the premiere. A steady stream of new shows started after The Voice means more and more competition for drama space in future years on NBC.

None of these situations are great; until their freshmen fail, I’m not particularly positive on any of the sophomores’ situations.


This week’s premieres and other notable data points:

While The Goldbergs’ lead-in is leveling off, The Goldbergs is not. This week it fell below all the Wednesday options, and I am moving it to cancellation.

(Note: I wouldn’t be surprised by – I even expect - a backorder for The Goldbergs! ABC only has two midseason comedies, Suburgatory and Mixology. Unless ABC kills the Tuesday comedy block – and with the hiatuses they have planned for their dramas, they don’t appear to have the backup inventory to do so – the most likely outcome is Suburgatory replaces Trophy Wife, Mixology takes over from Super Fun Night in March or April, and ABC has to ride out The Goldbergs until May.)

Back In The Game should consider making The Cancellation Bear their team’s mascot, as it is living up to the site’s adage by running faster than the rest of the freshmen comedies (after taking the Modern Family inflation into account). I am moving it to the bubble, as its survival now depends more on how many comedy hours ABC schedules next year – and who is doing the scheduling (more on that next week).

Super Fun Night has now fallen to the level where it likely implodes without the Modern Family lead-in. I am moving it to cancellation.

The Millers and The Crazy Ones have apparently leveled off above the CBS scripted average; no surprise, both were given backorders.

Mom, airing after a (admittedly worse rated than an original 2 Broke Girls) The Big Bang Theory repeat, dropped another tenth… and still was given a backorder. I don’t know if this is the power of the Chuck Lorre name, CBS’ lack of faith in its midseason comedies, or both. The backorder doesn’t sway my opinion on its chances – Mom is still CBS’ worst rated comedy at the moment. That CBS is ending How I Met Your Mother, is unlikely to use Mike & Molly for anything beyond spackle in the future, and is increasingly likely to put a fork in Two and a Half Men does begin to.

Hawaii Five-0 continues to hold up reasonably well, while Blue Bloods has dropped a bit, neither The Good Wife or The Mentalist has impressed without the late NFL game, and now even Elementary has sunk a bit. I wanted to wait until I saw numbers vs. regular competition, but after all of the above, I’ve moved Hawaii Five-0 to renewal – CBS has too many other problems to worry about that show.

Reign’s premiere tied the worst Tuesday -Thursday performer on the CW. With Star-Crossed waiting in the wings, I have to get my “Its reign will be short!” jokes in early as I don’t expect a backorder.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been doing the best of the three mediocrely rated Fox comedies; little surprise that Fox gave it a backorder and the second post-Super Bowl slot. I am still unconvinced which (if any!) of the three get renewed.

Ironside was canceled, with Chicago PD taking over the slot in January. No one was surprised.

Welcome to the Family rose a tenth this week (maybe Eva Longoria helped?); still doing under a 1, no one was surprised when it was cancelled and the 8pm hour turns into Community followed by Parks & Recreation in 2014.

The Michael J. Fox Show fell half a point last week. Turns out it wasn’t due to Glee, as it was flat this week. I am moving it to cancellation. I expect The Michael J. Fox Show to remain NBC’s #1 freshman comedy this year; I no longer see the ratings staying at the point where NBC has anything to lose by not going for another reboot.

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
Ironside NBC Canceled
Welcome To The Family NBC Canceled
Betrayal ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Goldbergs ABC Cancellation Predicted
Nashville ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Neighbors ABC Cancellation Predicted
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland ABC Cancellation Predicted
Super Fun Night ABC Cancellation Predicted
Trophy Wife ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Good Wife CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hostages CBS Cancellation Predicted
The Mentalist CBS Cancellation Predicted
Mom CBS Cancellation Predicted
Beauty & The Beast CW Cancellation Predicted
Reign CW Cancellation Predicted
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Cancellation Predicted
Dads Fox Cancellation Predicted
The Mindy Project Fox Cancellation Predicted
The Michael J. Fox Show NBC Cancellation Predicted
Parenthood NBC Cancellation Predicted
Revolution NBC Cancellation Predicted
Sean Saves The World NBC Cancellation Predicted
Back In The Game 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
Hawaii Five-0 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
Parks & Recreation NBC Renewal Predicted
Bob's Burgers Fox Renewed
Glee Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Sleepy Hollow Fox Renewed


  • Feedback

    @Ultima & Jake

    Well it’s hard for NBC to premiere new comedies on their schedule. CBS has Mon and Thu, ABC has Wed and Fri, and Fox has Tue. In my opinion, the best place to premiere new comedies is on mid-season Sundays. And even then, they will be competing against Fox’s animation block.

    Realistically, I think NBC should give up on their sitcom block. Maybe focus on their reality shows. Have a Voice dancing spin-off called “The Moves” instead. Sounds silly, but it would get more viewers than those comedies. It doesn’t have to be a spin-off, but I think they should try doing another competition show. They will benefit from it.

    Hypothetical schedule if they dump comedies in 2014:

    Sundays: FOOTBALL
    Mondays: , Law & Order: SVU
    Tuesdays: , Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.
    Wednesdays: The Voice,
    Thursdays: The Voice Results, The Blacklist,
    Fridays: Dateline, Grimm, Revolution

    In the winter, they get some “limited series” to replace the new show, while The Sing-Off replaces The Voice.
    In the mid-season, they bring back 2 of their best 2013 mid-season shows (Believe and Crisis?), with another new drama t 10pm.

    And not a comedy in sight. Cancel them ALL.

  • Noreaster75

    Too bad for The Michael J. Fox Show, definitely the 2nd best new comedy on TV this fall (after Brooklyn Nine Nine). But if it along with SSTW don’t get any boost over the next 3 weeks from The Voice lead-in, then they’re both done for.

  • Ray

    ABC should try to schedule like this midseason:

    08:00 – Dancing with the Stars
    10:00 – Castle

    08:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    09:00 – Resurrection
    10:00 – Once Upon a Time

    08:00 – The Middle
    08:30 – Suburgatory
    09:00 – Modern Family
    09:30 – Mixology
    10:00 – Nashville

    08:00 – Grey’s Anatomy
    09:00 – Scandal
    10:00 – Revenge

    08:00 – Last Man Standing
    08:30 – The Goldbergs
    09:00 – Shark Tank
    10:00 – Killer Women

    08:00 – Mind Games
    09:00 – Shark Tank
    10:00 – 20/20

    And next fall:

    08:00 – Dancing with the Stars
    10:00 – Nashville

    08:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    09:00 – Resurrection / Once Upon a Time (if Resurrection is canceled
    10:00 – Once Upon a Time / Castle (if Resurrection is canceled)

    08:00 – The Middle
    08:30 – New Comedy / Suburgatory
    09:00 – Modern Family
    09:30 – New Comedy / Mixology (if it isn’t canceled)
    10:00 – New Drama

    08:00 – Grey’s Anatomy
    09:00 – Scandal
    10:00 – Revenge (final season)

    08:00 – Last Man Standing
    08:30 – New Comedy / The Goldbergs (if it isn’t canceled)
    09:00 – Shark Tank
    10:00 – Castle (if Resurrection is renewed) / 20/20 (if Resurrection is canceled)

    08:00 – Mind Games (if renewed) / Special Programming
    09:00 – Killer Women (if renewed)/ Wipeout & Special Programming
    10:00 – 20/20

  • Scandalicious

    I am hopeful that The Goldbergs, Trophy Wife and Nashville will make it for another season. I know The Goldbers and Trophy Wife are getting bad numbers but it should also be noted that they air after SHIELD which is also trying to be launched this season. Both these comedies are way higher quality than Back in the Game and Super Fun Night. I am hoping ABC will wise up come midseason and move The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife to Wednesdays. I also wouldn’t count Nashville out. ABC is not doing the best with dramas (besides Scandal and Grey’s) and I don’t think they are going to want to replace Nashville with a different drama that will require building from the ground up.

    I don’t think Reign has crossed into certain cancellation territory yet. If it can hold on the its audience from the premiere it will probably get renewed. The CW has had some interesting situations this season. The Originals grew in week 2 and The Tomorrow People was very steady. If Reign can do the same it has just a good of chance at renewal as the others.

    The fact that FOX is airing Brooklyn Nine-Nine after the Superbowl is a real vote of confidence in my opinion. I think FOX recognizes the B99 is a solid show that has a lot of potential to grow. I think their patience will pay off in the long run, its audience will grow and it will get a second season.

    I am also not counting Revolution or Parenthood out yet. NBC is falling apart comedy wise and I think they may end up saving quite a few dramas this season in order to not have to rebuild all their comedy bases form the ground up like they will have to do with their comedies.

  • iSayso

    The only bubblers of concern to me are The Good Wife and Elementary. I’d also like to see what the Goldbergs can become. So yeah, everything else in pink or yellow can please be flushed.

  • Benz

    It looks like P&R has lost its timeslot if these specials do well as NBC is putting the show on hiatus.

    These specials do well and the ratings for Sean & Michael go up. BYE BYE P&R off to Fridays you go and the same for Community too.

  • Andrew

    Can we stop with “certain to be cancelled” nonsense, as though it’s being stated as fact? I’m with a few of the others here – it ain’t certain until it’s CANCELLED. Less than two weeks ago, Brooklyn 99 was listed as either likely or certain to be cancelled. Oh how quickly that article vanished once the show received an order for the back 9.

    I’m required to check this site for work but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it’s little more than a joke.

  • Chris_SAdvisor

    The list looks good to me!

  • V

    Don’t Forget CBS is trying again for a 3rd spinoff.
    NCIS: New Orleans, set for backdoor pilot in spring.
    CBS always plays favorites will its own, so almost guaranteed a slot next year.

  • Michael

    Unoffically, “The Mentalist” is in it’s final season on CBS. You can chalk that one into the “Certian to be cancelled’ Column.

  • Michael

    Sophmore Shows:

    I think Elementary will survive and will move to Sundays (replace Good Wife?)
    I also like the chances of Nashville.

    Mindy Project is gone. Revolution is a real “bubble” right now but I’m leaning towards cancellation.

  • Feedback

    They had an NCIS spin-off in development that was not picked up for this year, so that’s not guaranteed. However, I do agree that their next spin-off is probably more likely to get renewed if it corrected whatever CBS didn’t like last year.

  • jupiter3765

    i would move the goldbergs into on the buddle


    feedback ncis new Orleans has mark harmon as executive producer, so I would say it will get the go ahead

  • lee

    ugh – typical americans, cancel anything without giving it a chance to grow.

    there as some funny comedies in that cancellation list that i would love to see for years. instead the not very good ”crazy ones” and ”the millers” get the ratings and good stuff like ”brooklyn 9-9” doesnt.

    im british so we stick to a show and watch through it all – but americans cancel too much, too quickly.

    this year i gave every new comedy an episode (other than trophy wife which didnt grab me) and most have been bad, but the good ones look set to die early. welcome to the family gone after a great 3rd episode for example.

    i think next year im not going to bother investing time into any new show – why bother when they will only cancel it without a satisfying conclusion? best stick to TBBT, Modern Family and The Middle as they just keep on trucking. Oh and animated shows which have to be truly awful to die.

  • Carrie

    Nikita is already cancelled – no point for it to be listed. CW kept Cult around a lot longer than I think many of us predicted. If ratings don’t improve they’ll burn it off to winter hiatus and then it’ll not return.

  • jane

    Scandal is one of the reasons that Elementary is not doing well. I watch both shows and Parenthood as well Scandal has that can’t wait to see what crazy things happens so you would want to see it as soon as it premieres. The other two shows don’t have this they are more low key which means that most people wait until the next day to watch them online or on DVR. Since they show commericals when you watch these shows online and you can’t fast forward them when you watch on demand CBS still gets there advertising dollar.

  • Brandy

    @Carrie Nikita is 6 episodes from Nov 22-Dec 27.They are pretty much burning it off during hiatus for Thanksgiving & Christmas.But it’s only 6 episodes so there’s no “burn off & then it won’t return”

  • Anthony

    ugh – typical americans, cancel anything without giving it a chance to grow.

    im british so we stick to a show and watch through it all – but americans cancel too much, too quickly.

    Don’t be ridiculous. British networks are just as likely to cancel shows as American networks. They are more likely to air all their ordered episodes, but they cancel plenty of shows. And on the average, they air an equally small number of episodes before making a decision (many British shows are only 3-10 episode seasons, and often are cancelled after one season).

    i think next year im not going to bother investing time into any new show – why bother when they will only cancel it without a satisfying conclusion?

    Yes because ALL British shows end with a satisfying conclusions right?

  • L

    Unless Nashville takes a nosedive, it’s not going to get cancelled at the ratings it has at the moment. If ABC have learned anything from this recent BOP news, they NEED to have back up series ready incase their new shows tank. Nashville has steady enough ratings to at least warrant a mid season slot next season.

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