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

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

October 20th, 2013

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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:

Nashville

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).

Elementary

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?

Revolution

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.

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This week’s premieres and other notable data points:

While The Goldbergslead-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.
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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

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  • Ray

    Here’s what I’d do with ABC next year to hopefully save themselves (assuming all three midseason dramas flop). If one of the midseason dramas is successful, then I’d place it in place of Nashville on Mondays at 10.

    MONDAYS
    8:00 – Dancing With the Stars
    10:00 – Nashville

    TUESDAYS:
    8:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    9:00 – NEW DRAMA (male-oriented)
    10:00 – Castle

    WEDNESDAYS:
    8:00 – The Middle
    8:30 – NEW COMEDY
    9:00 – Modern Family
    9:30 – NEW COMEDY
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    THURSDAYS:
    8:00 – Shark Tank
    9:00 – Scandal
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    FRIDAYS:

    8:00 – Last Man Standing
    8:30 – Suburgatory
    9:00 – Shark Tank (R)
    10:00 – 20/20

    SUNDAYS:

    8:00 – Once Upon a Time
    9:00 – Grey’s Anatomy
    10:00 – Revenge

  • USAmerica1st

    One problem is the shows that go on short-term or longer hiatuses. They lose some of their audiences. They have certainly lost some of my loyalty.

  • Bright

    @Tom Shaw, put your sword down! stop cutting off heads or there will be no original programming by May hahaha

  • Chris J

    Fantasy NBC 2014 Fall Schedule:

    Next season:

    MONDAY
    8:00 – The Voice
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    TUESDAY
    8:00 – NEW COMEDY HOUR
    9:00 – The Voice
    10:00 – The Blacklist

    WEDNESDAY
    8:00 – Chicago Fire
    9:00 – THE SPACE RACE (NEW REALITY SERIES 9-11pm)

    THURSDAY
    8:00 – The Biggest Loser
    9:00 – NEW COMEDY HOUR
    10:00 – Law & Order: SVU

    FRIDAY
    8:00 – Parks (final season)/Community (final season) spackle orders
    9:00 – Grimm
    10:00 – Revolution/Dracula/Crossbones (whichever gets renewed)

    If Parenthood gets renewed it could anchor Sunday night in the Spring if NBC wants to pursue dramas on Sundays.

    Chicago PD is a current wildcard, but if NBC debuts the new Space Race reality series next Faill they won’t need as many drama hours anyway.

    As far as Space Race if it does well it may get the Post-SuperBowl slot in 2015 (just like the Voice got it a few years ago).

  • RS

    I’ve been watching the CW’s numbers for over three years – since I discovered my favorite show, SPN on TNT, and thus discovered the CW network. I’ve noticed a few things. Saying this is the worst premiere number for Thursday in years is not dispositive. Two years ago both Ringer and the Secret Circle premiered high (1.2 and 1.3 – I can’t remember which was which). Then they dropped, remained low, and were cancelled. Someone pointed out that Beauty and the Male Model premiered at 1.2 last year. Yes, that is true, but it then dropped the next week to .7 and never rose again. It ended with a string of .5s. I postulate it was renewed because Pedowitz is trying to act like he runs a real network (unlike his predecessor) and needed shows to plug into hours. He might also have been impressed that SPN fans were able to resurrect our show from the Friday night death slot. He gave the Beasties the same chance. It didn’t work.
    My point is there is evidence that if a show such as “Reign” or the “Tomorrow People” can remain at .8 for all of its episodes (I don’t have an opinion or prediction; I don’t watch either), it will be renewed over a show with a high premiere number that drops like a stone.

  • Michael

    It’s way too soon to tell with Reign. If it stays at a .8 for the rest of the season, it will be renewed. If it drops to a .3, it will be cancelled.

  • Ray

    I changed my mind on my schedule a little. I think ABC could do one of these two options next year:

    MONDAYS
    8:00 – Dancing With the Stars
    10:00 – Nashville

    TUESDAYS:
    8:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    9:00 – NEW DRAMA (male-oriented)
    10:00 – Castle

    WEDNESDAYS:
    8:00 – The Middle
    8:30 – NEW COMEDY
    9:00 – Modern Family
    9:30 – NEW COMEDY
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    THURSDAYS:
    8:00 – Shark Tank
    9:00 – Scandal
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    FRIDAYS:
    8:00 – Last Man Standing
    8:30 – Suburgatory
    9:00 – Shark Tank (Rerun)
    10:00 – 20/20

    SUNDAYS:
    8:00 – Once Upon a Time
    9:00 – Grey’s Anatomy
    10:00 – Revenge

    OR…..

    MONDAYS
    8:00 – Dancing With the Stars
    10:00 – Nashville

    TUESDAYS:
    8:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    9:00 – NEW DRAMA (male-oriented)
    10:00 – Castle

    WEDNESDAYS:
    8:00 – The Middle
    8:30 – NEW COMEDY
    9:00 – Modern Family
    9:30 – NEW COMEDY
    10:00 – Revenge

    THURSDAYS:
    8:00 – Scandal
    9:00 – NEW DRAMA
    10:00 – Shark Tank

    FRIDAYS:

    8:00 – Last Man Standing
    8:30 – Suburgatory
    9:00 – Shark Tank (Rerun)
    10:00 – 20/20

    SUNDAYS:

    8:00 – Once Upon a Time
    9:00 – Grey’s Anatomy
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

  • Lisa

    @ RS ITA with what you are saying about Reign and TTP. The same thing happened the year HOD got renewed. It started off lower than The Secret Circle and Ringer and still got renewed. The CW takes into account the slot, online viewers and cost as well. HOD had it the toughest behind GG and still either did as well or better than it. Plus, it did well online and was cheap. I do agree with Secret Circle fans that the show should have gotten a shot on Fridays, but it was not a good show. It had potential though. I think BatB should get a shortened order and Star-Crossed should take it slot come Feb.and HOD move to 9. Then pull The 100 behind TVD.

  • RS

    I wish they would move “The Neighbors” to ABC Family rather than cancel it. I would follow it even though the only things I watch on that network are “Switched at Birth” and “Baby Daddy” (when I remember the latter is on). “The Neighbors” makes me laugh and takes me back to the days of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

  • California

    MONDAY
    8:00 – Dancing with the Stars
    10:00 – Castle

    TUESDAY
    8:00 – SHIELD
    9:00 – Something like TOY STORY from last week
    9:30 – Same story as ^
    10:00 – Nashville

    WEDNESDAY
    8:00 – The Middle
    8:30 – NEW COMEDY/Suburgatory
    9:00 – Modern Family
    9:30 – Mixology
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    THURSDAY
    8:00 – NEW DRAMA
    9:00 – Grey’s Anatomy
    10:00 – Scandal

    FRIDAY
    8:00 – Last Man Standing
    8:30 – New Multi Cam Sitcom.
    9:00 – Shark Tank
    10:00 – 20/20

    SUNDAY
    8:00 – Once Upon a Time
    9:00 – New Drama
    10:00 – Revenge

  • Carmen

    Who survives the terrible two’s

    For the examples given above, my guess would be.

    1) Revolution – Cancelled. Not even factoring in the low NBC comedies to the Renew / Cancel (R/C) index will make it look good enough to continue.

    2) Elementary – Unless it continues with last weeks 1.5 (which I think was an anomaly) it will get a third season provided it comes in with a season average of 1.8 or higher. CBS will try to keep it.
    After that, if we all believe the 4th season if you get a 3rd theory), it will go to either Friday (to replace 5-0 after next season) or move to late Sunday to finish off.

    3) Nashville – Hard for me to judge since I’ve only seen a few minutes of it very occasionally, but my hunch is that ABC will give it another season unless it seriously moves downward.
    This show, however, may prove to be the exception to the “3 seasons, get you 4″ concept following next season.
    It will depend upon how ABC judges their dramas in the next 2 years. This could be renewed by default.

    4) Mindy Fox will want to keep it, but may not be able to justify it.
    Spackle next fall? perhaps, but probably not.
    Too bad, it really has insightful and funny lines. Part of the problem is the supporting cast.
    I would re-tool this by having her and Danny (and maybe the male nurse) move to a new base of operations. A hospital environment possibly. . . and get rid of the preacher boyfriend

  • chezmoi

    What a good piece of insightful writing! Thanks!
    I suppose to what extent can shows continue adequately without their highly paid stars? We know 2.5 men and even CSI has offloaded the highest earners but how would NCIS and Big Bang cope without Gibbs and Sheldon/Amy respectively? Presumably both not on the bubble but it does make you wonder.

  • chezmoi

    No mention of costs of the shows in the article. I presume newer shows have less spent on actor salaries!

  • andri

    I could definetely look forward to the last season of grey anato
    my and criminal minds in 2015. Luring and enticing
    new 21st century programming on all mediocrity networked shows.
    Reign isn’t all that bad. Tyra is utilizing the show for her own staled renewal given her likeness to the country of Costa Rica. I.E. wheel of fortune on Abc & amazing race was sponsoring trips to Costa Rica this week also.

  • a p garcia

    My bet is on Betrayal to be the next dinner guest for the bear!

  • Melanie

    Not getting the difference on the CW between The Tomorrow People and Reign – they both premiered to a .8. If TTP is likely renewal based on the (slight) increase in week 2 – shouldn’t Reign at least be on the bubble until we see how it holds in its second airing?
    You’re not getting all retentionista are you? The main difference I see is that TTP is closer in ratings to Arrow than Reign is to Vampire Diaries. No show they’ve tried in the slot behind TVD has stayed close in ratings, I can’t imagine they’d expect Reign to be any different.
    I expect the CW is waiting for week 2 ratings on Reign to order the extra episodes for all three freshmen. I expect a full back 9 for The Originals at the very least.

  • RS

    @ Lisa: Your prediction of where to place 100 and Star-Crossed appears to be conventional wisdom, and I agree. I would only disagree that they will cut Beauty’s episodes. I think they will let it play out on Fridays (it’s a show filling a slot), then cancel it for next year. Imagine the ratings in a Friday night of Carrie Diaries followed by B&B. No, I’d rather not either.

  • omabin

    Regarding the whole ABC scheduling situation, since they won’t move DWTS to Sundays and get the dramas out of there as they should, at the very least I think it could be worth considering moving Revenge to Thursdays and give resurrection the post once upon a time slot rather than the post revenge slot.

    Sundays: OUAT/Resurrection/Filler (Killer Women, The Taste, Repeats, whatever… I don’t see that hour working for the this year regardless)
    Thursdays: Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal/Revenge

    I know people say giving the Scandal lead to Revenge rather than a new show is a waste but I don’t see any new show with potential for that lead-in nor with the right compatibility. And they are stuck with Revenge for one more year, so they might as well try to maximize its ratings IMO. In my opinion, it would be a net win since:
    a) Grey’s>>>>>Killer Women (or whatever they have destined for the 8pm slot)
    b) Scandal>>> Grey’s Anatomy (the higher viewed hour should only help IMO)
    c) Revenge <<<< Scandal
    d) Resurrection ~< Revenge
    e) The 10pm Sunday hour is dead anyway

    I don't see the harm of trying this.

  • StevenD

    I’m going to be hopeful and think that Parks/Community get 13 episode farewells next year. Since Parks is moving to 8:30, they might just focus on those ratings now

  • Dan S

    At the very least Elementary should be on the bubble. It’s numbers are plummeting early in the season. It’ll likely joing Shark as the last Sophomore series on CBS to get canned in its 2nd season.
    As for B9-9 & Goldbergs being cancelled I don’t think so. B9-9 now is in the post SB slot which shows Fox being patient to let audiences find the show. Ditto for Goldbergs on ABC which I think will give it time to grow but should move To Wed where it would be right at home with The Middle & Modern Family.

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