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


  • Jon

    When will people realize retention has very little to do with a shows renewal. If the season ended today the millers would be Cbs number 2 ranked comedy since himym is ending. Cbs is going to use its ratings relative to its entire network. They aren’t going to say oops better cancel it because it didn’t hold tbbt 5.2 demo. The fact of the matter nothing on the Cbs network or any other show from any other network is going to hold that demo. Tbbt is on a different playing field and Cbs knows this. We may never see another sitcom do these kind of numbers again.

  • Jon

    @ Alex….once again Wonderland is not a miniseries. It is what is considered a limited series since it doesn’t get the traditional 22 episode order. It can be cancelled or renewed just like any other limited 10-13 episode show. A model made popular by cable

  • KevinY

    So right now the only new comedies you have predicted for renewal are on CBS (The Millers and The Crazy Ones). Has there ever been a year where 3 of the 4 major networks failed to renew a single freshman comedy?

  • TAS257

    Great work, nearly all of my shows are predicted to be renewed. My only concern is OUAT in Wonderland, which I hope will finish it’s 13 episode storyline and come to a satisfying conclusion in which case I will be extremely happy.

    On another note (not wishing to be a pain or anything), but I thought the Blacklist was already picked up for a full season. Of course I could be mistaken, as it wouldn’t be the first time.

  • HeadlessHorseman (formerly JacobYates)

    New to the site? Those shows are cable shows. The Bubble Watch only covers broadcast.

  • Ted Craig

    @ KevinY

    I believe NBC and CBS both failed to renew a single freshman comedy last year, while ABC and Fox only renewed one each.

  • Wright

    I still disagree with Revolution and Reign. I think they are both On The Bubble. Hopefully they both get renewed.

  • Michael1

    Has a Network ever routinely won 5 of the 7 nights and made a point of renewing 3rd place shows that were previously syndication-eligible on the 2 nights that they’re not winning? NBC is first on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. If you include SNL, they’re also winning on Saturday, but they must renew SVU and P&R in order to maintain “continuity”.

  • Ted Craig


    NBC has only won Friday once so far. And last year they fell into the abyss without SNF and The Voice.

  • AllOfHerTw!st

    Mom CBS Cancellation Predicted
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Cancellation Predicted
    The Michael J. Fox Show NBC Cancellation Predicted
    Revolution NBC Cancellation Predicted


  • Michael1

    I wonder how much FXX is paying for each syndicated episode of “Parks & Recreation”, because that appears to be the argument for renewing it. I wonder if it’s more or less than FXX is paying for an episode of “Freaks and Geeks”.

  • Dan

    Most of the shows on c

    Back in the Game will certainly be cancelled. I cant imagine that it comes back.

    Of the bubble shows for ABC, I could see The Goldbergs and Nashville coming back. Nashville due to the fact that if all of ABC’s new dramas flop, except SHIELD, then ABC might want to bring back Nashville so they dont have another Body of Proof situation. Right now its squarely in the middle.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if ABC gave full seasons to all 4 of their new comedies. Something tells me that they will do that and due to lack of programming in Jan-Feb, they could bring Suburgatory and premiere Mixology to make that an even 10 comedies paired with each other.

    With CBS is so obvious, veterans The Good Wife and The Mentalist are dead by May as is Hostages. With Mom, The Crazy Ones and The Millers, I expect 2 of the 3 to return but that could be less if FWBL or Bad Teacher succeeds which I dont expect them to. If Two and a Half Men is renewed, which it very well could be then that number could decrease. CBS will definitely keep the 2 hour comedy block so they will probably keep premiere no more than 2 new comedies.

    FOX will bring back Sleepy Hollow next fall and likely Bones, if they hold Glee for midseason and keep the 2 hour comedy block and X Factor thats 2 new dramas that could premiere assuming Almost Human and Rake dont make it. I can see FOX with most of their shows, just splitting seasons like they do with Sleepy Hollow and The Following, time share is much easier with their shows due to the Xfactor/Idol split. New Girl will certainly return and As for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, that show given the post Superbowl slot makes renewal a certainty. Those 2 comedies could be the only 2 renewed, should Raising Hope be cancelled due to its friday death. The Mindy Project is 50/50 in my opinion, its only doing a little worse than al the other comedies, and even though FOX doesnt own it, NBC could give them a good enough deal where they will keep it.

    NBC is a mess but its safe to say that SVU, Blacklist and Grimm will return, Dracula could be brought back, should its numbers hold and Revolution, Parks and Parenthood are on the bubble with the latter two likely getting final season swan songs.

    One interesting thing this year is the bubble shows on this list which are only 3. Everything else seems that its either definitely dead or definitely alive.

    Back in the Game makes zero sense being on the list since its clearly the weak link in Monday nights and its retention from The Middle to Modern family. 2.2-1.9-3.9 is horrible. That’s odd that its a bubble show.

    Two and a Half Men makes sense only because its a very old show whose ratings have dropped and is expensive, however CBS could bring it back for a 12th and final year (That would be the longest for a live action comedy breaking The Jeffersons, Cheers, Frasiers, and Married With Children’s record). With HIMYM ending and Mike & Moly, 2 Broke Girls, and The Big Bang THeory being CBS’s only veteran comedies, Two and a Half Men is more likely to be renewed than cancelled.

    Dracula makes sense to be on the list, it premiered well and held on to Grimm’s audience but remember Malibu Country built on Last Man Standing and premiered to a 2.2 and look what happened there. Grimm could be the next Sleepy Hollow or Hostages we’ll know soon enough.

  • Dan

    I meant to start out to say most shows on cancellation predicted will probably end up being renewed, most likely Brooklyn Nine Nine, Nashville, The Michael J Fox Show and Mom.

  • rgxx

    About 3 years ago other than Parenthood I wasn’t watching anything on NBC. Now 3 of my fav’s are in trouble…/


    so if these show are cancelled I most likely once again won’t be tuning into NBC in 2014…….at all.

  • rgxx

    Please NBC – notify Revolution to give them time to wrap up the show with an ending…don’t leave us hanging———— AND don’t do some quick lame- non-climatic ending!!!!!!!

  • Christian

    @Dan For the record, the longest running live action sitcom is The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran for 14 seasons. If 2.5 Men were to get a 12th season, it would tie My Three Sons but have about 100 less episodes than that show.

  • James

    How can people say Michael J. Fox won’t be cancelled? He doesn’t come cheap and those ratings aren’t going to pay the bills.

  • Bradley

    I still think it’s a mistake to say Parenthood will be canceled. It will probably be more lucrative to give the show a definite finish so it has a small chance of performing well in syndication.

  • Chris J


    Every season of Parenthood has given it a “definite ending.” Each time the show is renewed its as if the writers have to dig things up again to make the story stretch another season. Anyway, I would assume the writers will close out the Braverman story yet again this season as they have done the last 4.


    The only way The Michael J Fox show gets renewed is if it is moved to the post-Voice slot Tuesday 9pm in midseason.

    That is a possibility if NBC wants to desperately keep it, but after seeing it’s ratings the past weeks, it’s obvious the show has no audience and won’t ever be able to stand on it’s own.


    Revolution might have a chance at renewal. It held it’s ratings against the World Series and tough competition last week, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the ratings go up this week. Also it continues to gain a point or more in it’s 18-49 ratings on DVR so the show still has an audience.

    It may do better on another night, but there aren’t many open spaces on NBC’s schedule, where Revolution could get appreciably higher live ratings (most of NBC’s open slots have even more competition).

  • Kit

    If Two and A Half Men is renewed, that will be 4 seasons for Ashton Kutcher, half of what Charlie Sheen did and will be around 88 episodes.

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