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.
|Back In The Game||ABC||Canceled|
|How I Met Your Mother||CBS||Final Season|
|We Are Men||CBS||Canceled|
|American Dad||Fox||Moving to TBS|
|Welcome To The Family||NBC||Canceled|
|The Goldbergs||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|
|The Mentalist||CBS||Cancellation Predicted|
|Beauty & The Beast||CW||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Carrie Diaries||CW||Cancellation Predicted|
|Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Fox||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Mindy Project||Fox||Cancellation Predicted|
|The Michael J. Fox Show||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|
|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|
|The Big Bang Theory||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Blue Bloods||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Criminal Minds||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Hawaii Five-0||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Mike & Molly||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|The Millers||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|NCIS: LA||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Person of Interest||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|2 Broke Girls||CBS||Renewal Predicted|
|Hart of Dixie||CW||Renewal Predicted|
|The Originals||CW||Renewal Predicted|
|The Vampire Diaries||CW||Renewal Predicted|
|Family Guy||Fox||Renewal Predicted|
|The New Girl||Fox||Renewal Predicted|
|The Blacklist||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|Chicago Fire||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|Law & Order: SVU||NBC||Renewal Predicted|
|Parks & Recreation||NBC||Renewal Predicted|