Bubble Watch: Partial Back Orders The Kiss Of Death For ‘Super Fun Night’ & ‘Sean Saves The World’? ; Ratings Blood Sucked Out of ‘Dracula’

Super Fun Night

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.

Partial Backorders – The Kiss of Death?

We are getting to that time of year where the networks have to finalize their schedules for January/ February, and are handing out no, partial, or full backorders as a result.

Not all backorders are equal, however, and partial backorders are the most misleading of them all. Rather than suggest that the show is still alive, they should suggest that the network is simply filling time until they can try something else in the slot. Freshmen shows producing* less than 22 episodes AND ending before May (so they don’t drag down the network’s May sweeps average) are almost universally cancelled**.

*Note that I said produced, not aired. For example, in the 06/07 season, ABC’s Men in Trees produced 22 episodes but only aired 17, ending in February – yet was still renewed.

**Note that there’s little correlation between either half of that statement and cancellation. Many shows have produced 22 episodes and still were cancelled; occasionally (mostly due to scheduling reasons), a freshman show will produce less than 22 episodes, end in May, and still be renewed, such as Revolution last season. The combination of less than 22 episodes and ending in April or earlier, however, is highly suggestive.

Out of the last ten regular seasons (tossing out the 07/08 Writers’ Strike Year), here’s how those “partial backorders ending before May” freshmen shows fared:


12/13: Ben and Kate, Guys With Kids, Malibu Country

11/12: Pan Am, A Gifted Man

10/11: No Ordinary Family, Detroit 1-8-7, The Defenders, S#*! My Dad Says

09/10: Accidentally on Purpose, Trauma, The Forgotten, Melrose Place

08/09: Worst Week, Privileged, Knight Rider, Life on Mars, Eleventh Hour, Kath & Kim

06/07: The Class, Standoff

05/06: Surface, Freddie, Related, Twins

04/05: Complete Savages, Medical Investigation

03/04: 10-8:Officers on Duty, Threat Matrix, The Handler, All About the Andersons

02/03: In-Laws, Hidden Hills, Do Over, Family Affair, John Doe


06/07: 30 Rock aired 21 episodes and ended the last week of April. While it barely missed those criteria by one week and one episode, an exception is an exception, so I am listing it here.

03/04: Tru Calling aired 20 episodes and ended the last week of April.

02/03: Boomtown aired 18 episodes and ended the last week of April.

Or to summarize, if a Fall freshman doesn’t get 22 episodes and doesn’t air until at least late April, it is almost certainly doomed.

So how do this year’s candidates line up?

Super Fun Night, as covered last week, received four extra episodes. If those episodes air in April/May, there’s a slim historical precedent for it being renewed, so until we know for sure I have to place it in merely “Cancellation Predicted”. Note: I don’t expect them to be scheduled for April/May.

Sean Saves The World was given five extra episodes. While it was up this week, it won’t have a Voice lead-in every week. This still smells like timeslot filling until, say, Undateable can take over. Where those extra episodes of Sean are scheduled is an interesting question – NBC has little to lose by not trying something else on Thursdays.

The Tomorrow People was flat, even without airing against baseball playoffs. If The CW decides to give the timeslot to The 100, is there even any point in ordering more episodes of The Tomorrow People to get thrown under The Voice bus?

Reign was flat, even up against a first-run Glee! On the other hand, that’s a flat that’s tied for worst among the Tuesday – Thursday shows, even with the biggest lead-in The CW has. While I’ve heard chatter that Reign is a limited series, that is simply not true – CW ordered three more scripts a month ago.

This week’s other notable data points:

Mike & Molly returned to a rating slightly up from how it did in March / April. I’m putting it as “Renewal Predicted”, both because I see it filling the Rules of Engagement spackle role for at least another season, and because when the two worst rated CBS comedies are both Chuck Lorre shows, I can’t see CBS getting rid of three of his shows.

Mom, speaking of which, used a fellow Chuck Lorre lead-in to… tie its series low. Again, with so many other CBS shows in trouble, Mom may be renewed – but it won’t be because of its ratings.

The Millers jumped up half a point back with a The Big Bang Theory lead-in, even against The Voice. I don’t think it makes it to syndication, but it will make it to next year.

The Crazy Ones, on the other hand, only went up two tenths vs. normal competition. It was only one tenth above the Chuck Lorre problem children this week. Without any confidence in how CBS is scheduling comedies next year (more on that next week), I am moving this to “On the Bubble”.

Dracula, after falling five tenths last week, fell three more tenths this week. Even for NBC, even for Friday, that isn’t good news.  I am moving it to “Cancellation Predicted”.

Note: only scripted shows that have aired at least one episode this season are in the table below.

Show Network Status
Back In The Game ABC Canceled
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
Dracula NBC 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
The Crazy Ones CBS On The Bubble
Two and a Half Men CBS On The Bubble
The Tomorrow People CW 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
Criminal Minds CBS Renewal Predicted
CSI CBS Renewal Predicted
Elementary CBS Renewal Predicted
Hawaii Five-0 CBS Renewal Predicted
Mike & Molly 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 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

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