Bubble Watch: Remember, Full Season Pickups Aren't The Same Thing As Renewals

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

October 27th, 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 season is settling in and there weren't many changes from last week. So just the public service announcement in the headline this week, a few blurbs below and the list.

Dads, Fox’s #2 worst rated scripted show, was given a backorder. While some may claim this is the MacFarlane factor, I think it is the sheer lack of alternatives on Fox’s part. Us & Them was virtually pre-canceled (a creative hiatus turned into “Don’t bother making any more”), and now Surviving Jack is replacing the second half of American Idol’s results show. Without any other options, Fox is stuck riding this train until May.

Grimm returned in line with how it premiered last season. Is it inconceivable that two seasons from now, Grimm is the oldest scripted show on the network?

Dracula premiered with the same rating as Grimm. If it stays anywhere close to that, it’ll get another season. I want to see at least one more week before I make a prediction on that, given the dismal reception.

The Tomorrow People dropped another tenth (it was two tenths in the prelims). If it keeps this up, it has a good chance of losing the timeslot to The 100 and being bounced to Monday. All bets are off then.

Reign dropped 25% from its premiere, as The CW’s worst Tuesday-Thursday performer this week. To repeat: For many shows, their premiere is the highest rating they will ever have. If your premiere is already at the bottom of the rankings, the odds are very long on survival.

The Carrie Diaries premiered to the same dismal number Beauty and the Beast is doing on Mondays. The only reason I can come up with for the renewal last season was for emergency spackle if everything went wrong this fall; I can’t imagine it gets another shot next year.

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
The Carrie Diaries 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
Dracula NBC 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
Grimm 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


  • SJ

    I thought you were going to touch on Paul Lee maybe getting fired from ABC. I was kind of looking forward to that… ;)

  • Wanda

    Dracula shouldn’t be included it’s a mini series.

  • DW

    i say Dracula gets cancelled between now and its 1,000th episode. :)

  • Holly


    Dracula shouldn’t be included it’s a mini series.

    As I understand it, Dracula is a limited> series, not mini. That means it is set up to have a shorter season (11-13 episodes) than the average network show (22-24 episodes). The Following, Under the Dome, and Sleepy Hollow are all limited series with second season renewals.

  • Holly

    sorry, I apparently messed up the closing tag there…

  • victor Hugo

    i think the Mom will be renewed by at the end of season.. right now i`ll put in the bubble.

  • Tom

    I wouldn’t predict cancellation for Brooklyn 9-9.
    That seems a bit premature, considering it is doing better than Dads and The Mindy Project and almost as well as New Girl. With a post-Super Bowl slot and the good reviews to boot, I think it may well end up being renewed.

  • Jonay

    The CW should move beauty and the beast with the carrie diaries on Friday!

  • Anthony

    Just have the qualm with the Fox comedies. I think B99 and Mindy should be on the bubble. I think one (or possibly both if Universal cuts a deal for them) of them is going to be renewed as spackle for next season. Raising Hope will likely be done (as it is going to air of Fridays) and their midseason freshman comedies don’t look promising. New Girl is obviously certain to come back, but will Fox only bring back one comedy for next season? I think they bring back two. Other than that, all predictions are fine with me.

  • Dan S

    I just hope that eventually Brooklyn 9-9 gets moved after New Girl. Dads is a poor lead in & should either move to Sun or Fri. I see BITG is now on the bubble but shows like Goldbergs & B9-9 should also be there. Only 3 shows on the bubble isn’t much of a bubble watch.

  • Hoyt

    Nay, The CW should dump both loser flops: TCD and B&TB. They drag down the network avg.
    Elsewhere, I’m enjoying Reing and TTP more than I thought I would. :D

  • Carmen

    Shaw can put Mom on the cancellation predicted list if he wants at this point, but I’ll bet it’s renewed comfortably by the end of the season.

  • Midnight

    I would say that Mom and Brooklyn Ninety-Nine will have the benefit of patience from their networks. Fox won’t cancel B99 until it sees how it does after getting the post Super Bowl slot. CBS will afford Mom some time to pick up an audience due to Chuck Lorre and probably show an episode after The Big Bang Theory at some point. Also, Mom isn’t actually doing that badly. Mid 2’s is acceptable for a comedy since they can grow over time.

    Other than that, I pretty much agree. Nashville, Good Wife, and Revolution have outside chances, but I can take or leave them.

  • Hardline_Pro

    “Grimm returned in line with how it premiered last season. Is it inconceivable that two seasons from now, Grimm is the oldest scripted show on the network?”

    What about SVU?

  • Douglas from Brazil

    Why The Good Wife and The Mentalist are in cancellation predicted?They should be bubble shows instead.CBS will renew TGW and maybe cancel TM.B99 and Mindy also should be bubble shows.What the hell with Parks being a renewal predicted?The show is performing and pair with 30 Rock last season ratings, they should be a least a bubble show.Revenge will get renewed but will get a final season, I don’t see ratings being up above a 2.0 from now.Revenge is facing the same path as Ugly Betty and maybe OUAT will too.

  • Holly


    Only if SVU survives another two seasons, which depends on Hartigay staying as much as the ratings.

  • diana

    i don’t expect revenge to go above a 2.0 but i really hope it doesn’t drop further and at least stabilizes from 1.5-1.8 range for the rest of the season i hope season 4 will just be the final season.

  • Carmen

    I think the networks have come up with a (still) new method of trying to save face in the event a series fails.

    At first they call it a limited series and then watch and see how it is received.

    If successful it can be renewed for a full order of episodes (18-24 depending) for the following year. If it fails, they simply shrug and say, Well, it was never intended to be a (traditional) series

    They can actually film a couple of last episode conclusions. They could write it so only the last 15 minutes or so needed to change.

    A series finale is used if the series has fallen on its ass, and the “limited series” won’t be coming back or

    A slightly different but open ended season finale is aired if the show has proven to be considered viable for 1 or more additional seasons.

    This is kind of what they did with Under The Dome. They followed the book / script until they saw the show was a success and then they aired an alternative ending so the story could continue.

  • Brandy

    Sad to see about half my shows in “cancellation predicted”:Nashville,BataB,Carrie Diaries,Reign,OUATIW.
    Well at least I have BBTt,VD,2 Broke Girls,OUAT,Revenge,Scandal, Hart of Dixie, The Orginals in “certain renewal”.

  • Fake Me Out

    The problem for The Carrie Diaries (TCD) or any other poor performing show on the CW and other nets … and in fact this site itself … is other factors are gaining ground in the decision making process on renewal/cancellation … factors that we the great unwashed have no way of knowing.

    It used to be the demo ratings were the numbers, period. Then the 3rd season syndication factor crept in, then the DVD sales, then the Friday factor, and now it’s international sales, Netflix and other streaming options, advertisers willingness to perhaps look at L+x if commercials are viewed and who knows what else that goes on behind the scenes we’re not privy to that is a factor.

    Sure, the demo is still probably the largest factor in most decisions (minus 3rd seasons … I’m looking at you Nikita) but it’s overall importance is waining making TVBtN and our predictions a lot harder. I mean how did TCD get renewed in the first place? IMHO it had to be something other than it’s pure demo numbers that were horrid in season 1.

    Maybe studios are starting to play the long ball realizing they may eat some losses up front, but with copyright laws getting longer and longer they’ll be selling TCD et al to our great-great-great grandkids.


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