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

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

November 9th, 2013

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


  • Feedback

    CBS has The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly.
    They also might renew The Millers, The Crazy Ones and Mom.
    And we still haven’t seen how Friends with Better Lives and Bad Teacher fit in the scheme of things.

    That’s 9 potential series to return next year, while their schedule only allows for 8 at any given time.

    I’m thinking 2 and a Half Men, Friends with Better Lives and Mom all bite the bullet, and Mike & Molly stays as spackle. The other 5 stay on the schedule with 3 new shows.

    8- The Millers, NEW SHOW
    9- 2 Broke Girls, Bad Teacher

    8- The Big Bang Theory, NEW SHOW
    9- The Crazy Ones, NEW SHOW

    And if Bad Teacher bombs, then just assume 4 new shows will be premiering next year. No way Mom gets renewed.

  • marica

    We hope that “Beauty and the Beast” is canceled! The show is really bad and boring, the actors are mediocre. seek to raise the ratings with sex scenes but there is not chemistry between the two actors, seem ridiculous. Jay Ryan has no charisma and charm.

  • Dan S

    With the exception of Elementary which should be on the bubble I agree with the other shows designated for Renewal Predicted. I can’t believe shows like Goldbergs & Brooklyn 9-9 are downgraded to cancellation predicted & yet their respective networks have given them a back 9 patiently letting them find an audience. I don’t watch Mom & even I can see this show will likely be back. I think several shows like these should be on the bubble for now.

  • You’re High

    Only 3 bubble shows? Man you are a pessimist. There is no way The Good Wife is getting cancelled. I remember when this column was a lot better.

  • Zephyr

    I see why these predictions are being made, but I think it’s a bit aggressive. There is no way only one new show is going to be renewed by each network so far this year when many veteran shows are dropping – especially at CBS. The mid-season replacement shows don’t look that great, with the odd exception.
    I wonder though, why networks make some of the decisions they do when green lighting promising shows with bad plots? For example – Dracula was much anticipated but the plot is him trying to create another energy source? Reign takes itself too seriously – why not have some humor like Merlin did? And Revolution could have been better had they shown the decline in humanity – instead they skipped all of that and went to 5 years later? I won’t even get into Wonderland in it’s horrible time slot.

  • Mark81

    Reign is the only show in the cancellation predicted column I want renewed. It’s a great show that should stay in the line up.

  • J

    now someone please explain to me why CBS should cancel Mom over The crazy ones given the current ratings

  • Isobel

    @Stefan agree on wonderland, but for a one season show I don’t think ABC really cares about it’s ratings

  • Isobel

    not a fan of Reign, I agree with Zephyr, if its going to be unhistorical then it has to be fun like Merlin and Atlantis, if its going to be serious then it has to be historically accurate as much as possible like the Tudors and the Borgias. Being neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring isn’t helping it.

  • Alvar


    The freshman comedies aren’t strong enough to anchor comedy hours as you suggest. Last week without a new Big Bang lead in, The Millers dropped to a 2.1 and The Crazy Ones dropped to a 1.9. Two and a Half Men doesnt have much life left in it and its ratings are below that of Mike and Molly. Unless the midseason comedies are breakout hits or CBS cuts comedy hours next season, Mike and Molly will be on the fall schedule.

  • Chris J

    Predictions for NBC dramas:

    The reason NBC will likely renew Law and Order over Revolution is because Revolution would need to be renewed for 2 seasons to get to syndication. Law and Order is already successfully in syndication so the more episodes produced the more money NBC makes.

    What also helps is Law and Order has relatively stable ratings.

    If Revolution were renewed it’d be a wildcard next season and the season after.

    For Parenthood, after this season it will already have enough episodes for syndication.

    The writers of the series have also been smart enough to write every season finale as a series finale. After each season all the stories wrap up pretty well and I expect the same for this season.

    So Parenthood and Revolution will probably be canceled after this season.

    Dracula is dead.

    Law and Order, Grimm, Chicago Fire, and The Blacklist are NBC’s only sure renewals for dramas. Hopefully one midseason drama clicks so that NBC can renew at least 5.

    Predictions for NBC comedies:

    As far as comedies, all the fall comedies are done. About A Boy will likely be renewed thanks to The Voice lead in. Parks and Community will survive again too for final season orders.

  • Dan

    @Tom Shaw – Freddie actually got a full season of 22 episodes. But that’s good research and while historically no show that’s gotten additional episodes has been renewed for another season. Last season Maibu Country and Guys With Kids did have somewhat of a shot and this season I agree that while SSTW and SFN have gotten additional eps, they aren’t and probably wont be axed until May.

    I think a good chunk of the cancellation predicted will probably get renewed (i.e. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Mom, The Goldbergs, The Mindy Project, even Dads) but from a ratings standpoint they are all doing pretty crappy.

    @Doug – CBS’s comedies are a mess but they will bounce back. Remember CBS took a big risk in scheduling a 2 hour Thursday block and made an even dumber move by scheduling We Are Men on Mondays instead of leaving Mike & Molly there. Everyone knows you don’t have 3 new shows on a night where comedies are struggling to begin with. Also remember Mondays are more competitive then ever with DWTS, The Voice and Bones/Sleepy Hollow. With those shows gone in January, my prediction is the monday comedies will go up. And Thursdays are fine but I wouldn’t be surprised if The Millers and The Crazy Ones were replaced by Friends With Better Lives and Bad Teacher.

    Assuming Two and a Half Men gets a final season (I think CBS will bring it back because no show this season is a breakout hit and they probably wouldn’t want to end 2 veteran comedies the same year) That leaves 4 veterans on the fall schedule with 4 more slots to fill. If CBS just premieres 2 new comedies in the fall then if just 2 comedies get renewed from this season it will probably be Mom and The Millers. Despite Mom being the lowest rated, all 3 shows are relatively the same where Mom can’t be singled out as the lowest (Same thing with the Dads, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Mindy Project Dilema) So we have to look at other factors.

    Mom and The Millers are multi camera, making those two shows cheaper to produce than The Crazy Ones which is single camera and has the Robin Williams name attached to it. Also TCO got a 1.9 as its most recent airing, that downward trend cant be good. Also Mom being a Chuck Lorre show will be given more of a chance by CBS. Assuming all the midseason comedies fail my guess is that CBS will renew just Mom and The Millers from this season.

    On a FOX comedy standpoint we already know that New Girl is safe. And the series is called “New Girl” NOT The New Girl. In terms of other comedies, they are all doing similarly that renewal/cancellation cant be distinguished.

    Dads – Despite what one might say, FOX wants to stay in the multi cam business and Dads isn’t doing horribily enough to get it cancelled. If it maintains its levels then it could very well be moved to Sundays at 9:30 next season. Bordertown doesn’t premiere until midseason and with American Dad gone, FOX might need something to air in that slot. Dads could then be moved to 7:30 when Bordertown premieres. Its not that much of a stretch.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine – This series is critically acclaimed and FOX giving it the post superbowl slot with New Girl all but says renewal (No show has been cancelled the following May after its gotten the post superbowl slot) If FOX renews just 2 comedies it would be B99 and slong with New Girl.

    The Mindy Project – While the lowest rated, this series has a consistent and stable audience of 1.5 and regularly beats Trophy Wife. FOX could very well cancel it but its half way nearing syndication by May. FOX doesn’t produce the show but perhaps NBC could pick it up. Either way it would be the first time since The War at Home since FOX aired a comedy for 2 full seasons and didn’t give it a third.

    Speaking of NBC, while Revolution and SVU are performing at nearly the same levels where one cant be singled out, SVU is a reliable veteran but its also the oldest drama on the air and very expensive. Revolution is a second year drama, probably expensive too. But going by the Outsourced rule, spring ratings matter for this show not fall.

    For the First time in years we have a group of second year shows with full 22 episode seasons that are on the bubble and if cancelled would result in 2 44 episode seasons. Normally in the past a second year show even with a full season would guarantee a third and fourth renewal. But not the case this year. This was a result in most shows

    With the exception of Elementary and Chicago Fire which will both definitely see third and fourth seasons. These bubble shows are

    Nashville, The Neighbors, The Mindy Project, Revolution, and Beauty and the Beast.

    Nashville is definitely getting a third season (Due to ABC’s drama problems, and their Body of Proof regret) ABC only has SHIELD as a likely renewed drama from this season along with veterans Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Revenge, OUAT, and Scandal. When half of those dramas are only doing marginally better than Nashville and all of ABC’s other dramas this season are flops, OUAT Wonderland, Betrayal, Lucky 7, ABC would be silly not to renew Nashville to have something else on the schedule. They made that mistake last May by axing Body of Proof and they are regretting it now.

    Revolution and The Mindy Project as noted above could easily go either way by seasons end. Spring ratings matter more.

    And despite being produced in house by ABC and CBS respectively, The Neighbors and Beauty and the Beast are as good as dead by the end of the season.

  • Carmen

    At some point, CBS is going to have to make hard decisions about both Mom and 2 1/2 Men.

    In order to sort out the situation, I think CBS will

    1) Put TCO on the sidelines for a few weeks or so in order to get a feel for

    2) freeing up a move of TAAHM to the 9:00 hour to see if it truly is finished or is just feeling the impact of TCO’s marginal leadin

    This, in turn, will enable CBS to

    3)move Mom to the Thursday 9:30 spot to get a good idea of the shows potential. Where Mom is now, is not a good gauge.

    I don’t believe that Mom will be cancelled before it gets a Thursday night shot. Hopefully, that could be behind TBBT

  • ron

    @TomShaw your prediction for The Good Wife is way off base. This show is certain to be renewed, but as usual with your “predictions”, you have at least a show or two that you haven’t got a clue about.


    ron and others have you seen the good wifes ratings not good

  • ron

    @marty With the competition that Good Wife goes up against every week, their ratings are good; most shows would do much worse in that time period. Also the terrific reviews each show gets and the superb writing and excellent acting will make it a slam dunk for nenewal once again!

  • Fred

    Very frustrating watching ABC make bad decisions :

    BOP should have been renewed . It most likely would have performed better than many of the freshman dramas this season .
    Wonderland should have aired on Sunday.@ 7 or 9. It would surely have improved upon AFHV or Revenge.
    Revenge should have aired back on Wednesday @ 10. Most definitely would have increased viewership there.
    Nashville should have been moved to Sunday@10. Probably would have done better than the sleep inducing Betrayal. However I never would have anticipated Nashville’s quick decline . Not just ratings but creatively. The music and plots don’t come close to last season As for Betrayal, I continue to watch and doze off weekly. Never has a drama bored me as much as this supposedly addicting sexy serial. I can’t come up with a reason why I watch it. Baffeling actually.

    ABC should surrender its stubborn attitude with trying to create a sucecessful Tuesday comedy block . ABC should quickly move Goldbergs and Trophy Wife to Wednesday after Middle and MF. Not sure where to place the mildly funny SFN at the moment. Probably should be canceled but With a retool , it has a chance to be one a cult hit. Rebel Wilson is extremely likeablle.
    Thuursday 8:00-9:00 has been trouble forever on ABC. A newsmagazine or reality show/contest would at least be cost effective against CBS and to a lesser extent FOX. Funny how CW performs relatively well there.

    ABC is my most watched network which makes me rant like this.

  • Charmed

    Last season, Nashville produced 21 episodes and was renewed, add that to your list.

  • Cliff Macke

    Wanted to ask Robert a question, not sure
    if he has this data but wondered over the
    last few seasons have multicamera or
    single camera comedies done better
    at getting picked up or getting renewed?
    Would it help the Crazy Ones or even
    Two & Half Men if they were paired
    with the same type of show or does
    It even matter?

  • Peanuts

    Out of all the new comedies I’m rooting for Super Fun Night to make it the most even though I know it probably won’t.

    The Crazy Ones was a novelty that’s quickly wearing off for me. It’s just too schizophrenic for my tastes and I’ve already tuned out.

    I think The Goldbergs definitely deserves a second season. I enjoy it more with each week.

    Everything else comedy wise has been pretty disappointing this season so far.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures