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


  • Holly

    @Douglas from Brazil,

    CBS will likely cancel enough shows to make room for 2 dramas and 2 comedies. Hostages is already a failure, but Intelligence will take that place in the spring. If Intelligence survives, at least two of the veteran dramas will be canceled. Likely candidates are the two on Sunday and the two on Friday. Right now, I believe the Friday shows are actually out-rating the Sunday shows, making them the better targets. Right now I’d put Mentalist, Good Wife, and Blue Bloods on the bubble for those cancellations (with 5-0 surviving another year). I’m not sure I’d argue too much with any two of them being cancelled though.

  • M

    Reign should be on the bubble atleast for another week… It’s actually a good show… I like new season of TCD hopefully being on Friday bad numbers won’t matter as much since ANTM and Nikita were both renewed

  • Percysowner

    People this is an intellectual exercise. Tom is looking at the numbers and giving his informed OPINION on what will happen in May. Look I come here daily. I look at the ratings. I actively await both The Renew/Cancel index and The Bubble Watch. But in the end, they don’t INFLUENCE anything. I think there is close to a 0% possibility that when the networks start deciding what to do with next season that the first thing they do is say “Let’s look what TV By The Numbers thinks we should cancel and keep”. Heck I’m positive that when they are down to the final 2 decisions they don’t come here to see what this site thinks, to make those decisions either. I know it’s comforting to come here and see my shows placed in likely or certain to be renewed. I know how discouraging it is to come here and see my shows predicted to fail. But in the end, all this is is predictions, not decisions. Haranguing Tom about putting a show you like, or a show you hate in a different category doesn’t actually affect anything.

  • Cath

    I can’t see CBS canceling both The Good Wife and The Mentalist. Too much change.

    No one remembers that The Big Bang Theory was on the bubble early on. Look where it is now. Comedies sometimes evolve over time. Mom, dreadful as it is, could get funnier. I hope the upcoming changes in 2 Broke Girls will make it funnier. They need something to replace How I Met Your Mother since that is ending.

  • Holly


    I can’t see CBS canceling both The Good Wife and The Mentalist. Too much change.

    How so?

  • AdamP

    My Bubble Watch:


    Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
    Beauty and the Beast
    The Carrie Diaries


    The Neighbors
    Trophy Wife
    The Mentalist
    The Mindy Project
    Sean Saves the World


    Back in the Game
    The Goldbergs
    Super Fun Night
    The Good Wife
    The Tomorrow People
    The Michael J. Fox Show


    Last Man Standing
    Agents of SHIELD
    Blue Bloods
    Hawaii Five-0
    Person of Interest
    Two and a Half Men
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    Parks & Recreation


    Grey’s Anatomy
    The Middle
    Modern Family
    Once Upon a Time
    2 Broke Girls
    The Big Bang Theory
    Criminal Minds
    NCIS: Los Angeles
    The Crazy Ones
    The Millers
    Hart of Dixie
    The Vampire Diaries
    The Originals
    Family Guy
    New Girl
    Chicago Fire
    Law & Order: SVU
    The Blacklist

  • Brandy

    @Fake!CD was renewed partly as spackle /cause CW couldn’t afford to pick up more than what they did(Originals,Famous in 12,Masters of Ilusion,Star-Crossed,The 00,Tommorrow People,Reign, )but also cause CD did well online ,on Hulu and CW has a rich streaming deal with Hulu soCD made a lot of money force that way.


    holly good to see you back I believe that both the mentalist and good wife cancelled. elementary moved to sundays the syndication farm as it has been named by some, and bb and Hawaii 5-O getting 1 more season to get to 100 episodes each

  • DenverDean

    Based on SVU’s rating’s swift ratings slide from 2.7 to 1.4 in a few weeks, it may be more bubble. I imagine it’s cheaper once they got rid of CM’s salary, but it can be that cheap, unless NBCUniversal wants the extra inventory for syndication. It would still make a good “back-up” series to have waiting in the wings when something new tanks in Fall 2014.

  • Fake Me Out


    …soCD made a lot of money force that way.

    You could very well be right but we don’t know for sure and we certainly don’t the precise figures and dollar amounts which was my point … unseen factors are creeping in and playing a larger part in the renewal/cancel decision process that makes everyones predictions that much harder.

    Perhaps that is in fact a good thing for this site … the uncertainty may draw more page views to see how shows are doing in the demo and lead to more speculation and discussion on the unseen factors.


  • Eelna

    Reign Proofs to be one of the steadiest performers up against The World Series in total viewers. And the second episode had great reviews, and was more liked than the pilot. I see it stabilizing at 1.8 million viewers and a 0.6 rating.

  • Tom Shaw

    @SJ: I actually wrote out a bit on all the network heads, but the final result sounded like me hammering on Lee alone: Reilly’s going to be lifted by the Super Bowl (and in a possible pre-emptive move, has already ordered two shows directly to series – what would be the point in replacing him if it is already his programming next year), Pedowitz is doing as good a job plugging the holes in the sinking ship that is The CW as can be expected, Tassler will need a bigger collapse than this year to break the, what, two decade long Moonves/Tassler connection, and Greenblatt just signed a three year contract extension, which makes it unlikely they will fire him this year (though not impossible – NBC gave Reilly an extension just months before bringing in Silverman).

    Lee’s high point can be summarized as “Swapped one Shonda Rhimes show (Private Practice) for another (Scandal)”. I’m not guaranteeing his firing, but he’s on the only seat that’s even remotely warm.

    As for Mom, HIMYM is ending; if 2.5 Men ends, Mike & Molly drops to worst comedy, and CBS stays at four comedy hours, then yes, CBS won’t want to launch four comedies next fall, as well as kneecap the Lorre connection. That’s a few too many moving pieces for me to comfortably predict now, as on its own merits, Mom would be the one that ends.

    As for Fox, I think they cancel two out of the three comedies. Clearly Brooklyn Nine-Nine is in the best situation now, but we’ll see how things settle in Spring.

  • Eelna

    And plus, reign has a season average of 1,91 million viewers and a 0,7 rating, despite airing wednesdays in canada, and being released online one day earlier.

    So the cw has proof that reign is a solid performer, and doing better than batb last season, without airing earlier in canada.

    To all Reign fans, watch it next week, it has to be renewed.


    tom would your thinking change if cbs decided 2 and a half men was to expensive for another year


    meaning could they cancel a lot more comedy shows than expected

  • Joe

    I don’t understand why this site considers B99 to be on the same level as Mindy and Dads. It’s pretty clearly a stronger show than both of them. It’s only two tenths behind New Girl..

  • Eelna

    And why is TCD On the list, we just have the preliminary numbers for friday, and we all know, that these numbers are very inexact.

    It could be adjusted up or down. Lets hope for the first. At least one million, bc the show is so underrated

  • Charmed

    I know this is a ratings site, but things are changing. If TCD was getting the equivalent of a 0.3 10 years ago, it would’ve been cancelled, but now other factors are playing a bigger part in decisions. TCD has a huge presence online with Hulu and everything, they’re not gonna let it go that easy. I think that’s why they put it on Friday, to fill a death slot for a show that traditional ratings don’t matter as much, to get more episodes for online. Advertising isn’t as valuable as it was years ago, there are other ways to earn money. Some people here still think it’s the 90s.

  • Charmed

    Nashville should at least be on the bubble, it’s incredibly steady.

  • Michael

    If the Tommorow people is bounced to Mondays it’s dead.
    Having a lead in like hart of Dixie if it’s put at 9:8c
    Seriously Hod is killing Batb (even though we all saw that coming)
    And it also killed cult which was a good show but got cancelled having the hart of Dixie lead in
    They need to put batb and Hod to Fridays after TCD ends season 2
    I would love this for the cw Midseason and they could possibly have decent numbers Monday through Thursday
    The 100 8/7c
    Star crossed 9/8c
    The originals 8/7c (If it gets a 9 back order)
    Supernatural 9/8c
    Arrow 8/7c
    The Tommorow people 9/8c or if it’s bounced to Mondays put it where I have the 100
    TVD 8/7c
    Reign 9/8c If it gets back nine (I doubt it) They can put star crossed here if it doesn’t
    Hart of Dixie 8/7c
    Batb 9/8c

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