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


  • Tom

    “It has won many on-line polls and a Peoples Choice Award.”

    @ Lisa M

    I thought that most BATB fans had finally matured enough to stop endlessly repeating this mantra, especially after BATB’s ratings plummeted at the end of last season. Anyone who bothers to investigate this issue will immediately discover that the PCA’s allow unlimited voting. So, it’s hardly a secret that a bunch of BATB fans decided to sacrifice their waking hours last season to engage in serial voting for BATB. The result was a so-called victory by more than 10 million votes over the nearest competitor. In case you haven’t figured it out, no one with any insight was remotely fooled by that farce. So, kindly stop wasting valuable bandwidth with your nonsense.

  • Alex

    i agree with everything on the list except for a couple of things. the goldbergs and super fun night should all be on the bubble alongside back in the game. brooklyn 99 should be either on the bubble or in renewal predicted. i would put parenthood and elementary on the bubble as well.

  • Shiro

    “If there’s anything The CW should cancel after 13 episodes, it should be The Tomorrow People. The 100 should get the post Arrow slot…”

    Why would theCW cancelled TTP after 13 episodes? its nonsense! unless TTP drop below 0.5/0.4, then it is guarantee theCW will give TTP a full season order.

  • Colin

    FOX better air Us&Them. The preview was hilarious.

  • Kate

    Another possible point for Reign not being renewed – it’s apparently very expensive to make, so unless it makes enough money and has ratings to warrant that, it could possibly be canceled over a cheaper show with lower ratings.

  • TV God

    I still think Sean Saves The World will get a back-order. At least I hope it does…

  • Alex

    I don’t know if Wonderland belongs in this list as it is airing as a mini-series, with the intent of telling a complete story in 11 or 13 episodes and then if there’s demand a second story for later (sort of the UK model). If ABC were to say no more we’d still get the complete storyline as planned.

  • Chris_SAdvisor

    @Igwell – This is either the most disingenuous statement I have read here, or you are trolling. Hope is meaningless when it comes to ratings. Claiming otherwise means you know nothing. It is better to mentally prepare than to be surprised in such a negative manner, as it only leads to anger.

    Revolution belongs in Cancellation Predicted since it is one episode away from breaking through the 5M viewer barrier, which is a very strong indication it is going down to 1.3 or less. At their full funding level ($3M per), NBC is going to have to either sell it, or cancel it. Since they rarely ever sell their IP, it is likely going to be cancelled. At which point I would love to have a bug in the conversation between Salke and Sanders as to whom is going to take the blame for auto-renewal last year (before the return from hiatus). It is the fact that this is costing too much per episode that will kill it at these ratings levels.

    Tomorrow People is somewhat disappointing, but should not be moved just yet. I predicted that they were going to jump the shark in S1 (based on trailers), but I was caught flatfooted when they did it in episode 1. So far it has failed to show any real development, and has developed a few plot holes (powers used when convenient). Then again so has Agents of Shield, so apparently this season’s new shows are like politics. We are not picking the best, we are picking the ones with the least flaws. Tomorrow people has less flaws than most, so it is a relative winner.

    I think Dracula will fail as much as Hostages. We either want a full season, or 12 episodes of Deadwood quality programming. These middling attempts to bridge the two just fail in every respect.

  • rob60990

    The Millers is certainly not certain to be renewed. Do we need the long list of shows that aired after TBBT and were cancelled because they failed to hold onto a good portion of the show’s audience?

  • Networkman

    I feel Mom should be on the bubble list. It did ok behind The Big Bang Theory repeats. It actually increased a little in the ratings. Also, I think Law & Order: SVU should be on the bubble. It slipped to Revolution’s numbers. Also NBC created another hit this season with The Blacklist, along with Chicago Fire and Grimm. So NBC may elect to rest SVU. Waiting in the wings are Believe, Chicago PD and Crisis, so if any one of them hits that might put the final nail in the coffin for SVU. I don’t know how expensive it is getting as well. I would have it on the bubble.

  • TVDude

    I spy a few shows in the cancelation category that will probably be renewed. After several years of being dpot on, it looks like Bubble Watch may have popped its own bubble.

    We shall see, I suppose, but sometimes going bold can cause you to lose your credibility.

    I do agree with most things in the renewal category though.

  • Dylan

    Reign should be on the bubble.

  • Chris J


    NBC will need something to program against Scandal Thursdays at 10pm next season. SVU is probably the most likely candidate hence why I believe even with it’s low ratings it’s more likely to be renewed than Revolution or Parenthood (and it’s already successfully in syndication).

    Chicago Fire and possibly it’s spinoff will likely rebuild Wednesday night, and the Biggest Loser (or a new reality TV show?) , SVU, and possibly new comedies will rebuild Thursday night.

    NBC may have better luck next season with Thursday 9pm comedies, because I don’t think CBS will keep their 2 hour comedy bloc there.

    Most of CBS’s new comedies are sagging and some of their veteran comedies are retiring. Also Person of Interest rated much higher for them at 9pm than Crazy One and Two and a Half Men are.

    If CBS goes back to dramas Thursday 9pm then NBC will have the hour all to themselves again.

  • Cool Red Duff

    Not sure why The CW is having such a hard time finding viewers this season, but I am really enjoying “The Tomorrow People” and “Reign.” I wouldn’t die if “Reign” didn’t make it to a second season, but I would be VERY upset if “The Tomorrow People” didn’t make it. Hopefully it starts picking up more steam with viewers.

  • rmoats8621

    Revolution needs to be moved back to a later time slot. It’s a horrible choice at 8 pm. It is definitely an older teen/adult show. Too violent for the earlier time. I think then it will increase in ratings since its a good show.

  • Ronak

    B-99 will be fine. Doesn’t it do well in that ever-elusive young males demo?

  • BigBrotherFan

    First of all NASHVILLE will not be canceled. It’s a really steady performer for ABC and worst comes to worst ABC throws it on Sunday @10pm for it’s next season. The acting and writing is way better than most of the crap CBS has to offer and NBC. The show also makes a killer on ITunes.

    ON THE FLIP SIDE- Dracula will be canceled. That show was beyond terrible and that actor is way past overrated. What a mess of a show! People are not this brain dead or that desperate for something to watch on Friday and I also think in 2 weeks or so it that Tom Selleck show will pass it.

  • Pam

    I think the person that compiles this list is a fan of that awful show Back In The Game because it should clearly be in the cancellation predicted part of the list.

  • Igwell

    Chris_SAdvisor, lighten up. I was being either glib or patronizing. Dozens of TV shows come and go every year; nobody should be surprised when Welcome to the Family gets pulled after three episodes. And so what if people are more disappointed than they could’ve been?

  • Barbie

    I love that Hawaii Five-0 went from cancellation predicted from renewal predicted <3

    I literally have ALL my shows on renewal predicted. LIFE IS GOOD!

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