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


  • abc

    @Charmed: But Nashville aired its season finale in May…

    @ron: The Good Wife is certainly (unfortunately) not certain to be renewed, but definitely has a chance, since Hostages and probably The Mentalist would be cancelled before it. Only if CBS cancels a third drama (and Intelligence) is successful, then The Good Wife would be in trouble.

  • Ultima

    @Tom Shaw
    06/07: 30 Rock aired 21 episodes and ended the last week of April.

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

    Just want to point out that while they had April finales, those finales were actually on the first night on May sweeps.

  • John K.

    The Good Wife’s audience numbers may be able to save it. If it can stay at around 10 million (the highest scripted show in total audience on Sunday nights). Even if they decided to move it to Fridays, or continue with it 10pm Sundays (where it did better, as opposed to 9pm) I think it will be renewed.

  • Ultima

    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)

    What’s wrong with cancelling two veterans in the same season? It’s not like Two and a Half Men is doing anything at all for CBS’ lineup; it’s doing worse than The Crazy Ones and is certainly not doing any favors for Elementary.

    Two and a Half Men is ridiculously expensive for the ratings its getting, there’s no chance that it will be renewed unless Warner Bros has a reason to start eating most of the cost instead of CBS.

  • Russell

    The Good Wife and Mom will both definitely be renewed.

    Hostages, The Mentalist, Mother (final season), Crazy Ones, and 2 men will be cancelled.

    Intelligence (hasn’t premiered yet)

    Reckless, Bad Teacher, Friends w/Better Lives??????? all three haven’t been scheduled but I don’t see much success from these 3 series.

    Amazing Race & Undercover Boss should share the Sunday 8:00 pm time slot.

  • Zephyr

    The Good Wife appears in Canada @ 10pm and it has done quite well for Global. There are too many show options at 9pm (Walking Dead, Family Guy, Revenge and of course football). Shows with intrigue (adult entertainment) should air at 10 – parents can watch them without interruption since the kiddies are in bed. It explains why Revenge and SVU have dropped so much moving to 9.

  • Ultima

    Amazing Race & Undercover Boss should share the Sunday 8:00 pm time slot.

    Undercover Boss is CBS’ highest rated Friday show, why would they both move it and cut its episode order?

    The Amazing Race is CBS’ highest rated Sunday show, why would they cut it down to only one cycle a year?

  • John A

    Actually Nashville had 22 episodes last season but they cut 1 for production problems i think. And TGW is a bubble show right now not certain renewel some fans are delusional.

  • Valentin

    I don’t see The Crazy Ones going anywhere for now. It’s one of CBS best rated comedies and with HIMYM leaving and propably 2&half leaving too (I mean seriously, Kutcher asks more than 700.000$ per episodes, with those ratings, that doesn’t worth it), I see the tree comedies renewed. With only trying to launch one new comedy on Mondays and have another one in case that one fails. But if The Crazy Ones falls to a 1.8-2.0 range, then yes, call it cancelled. But CBS should try this for once :
    8/7c : The Big Bang Theory
    8:30/7:30c : Mom
    9/8c : The Crazy Ones
    9:30/8:30c : Two & a Half Men
    I think Mom will keep more viewers and demo from TBBT than The Millers does and as The Crazy Ones keeps almost the same demo as its lead-in, it will work.

  • Fred


    Not so sure the much improved Revenge would perform better than Nashville Wed@10.
    Revenge lost many fans last season. Not easy to get them back because its serialized . Nashville better improve quickly because viewers are falling out. Again not easy to get fans back with this genre.
    ABC banked heavily with serialized shows and now they are paying the price .

  • Brad


    Extreme and The Good Life leaded out of the Superbowl and were canceled after their first Season.

    Historically most (not all) shows’ that air after the Superbowl are already established shows. House, Glee, 3rd Rock etc.

  • Brad


    You mentioned CBS, but ABC succesfully launched 3 new comedies Wednesday. Only Hank was a dud. Two of which are still on ABC (both syndicated) and the other now on TBS.

    New blocks can be done, but it’s rare.

  • Brandy

    Just cause they ordered more scripts for Reign dosent mean it’ll get more episodes,especially with its middling ratings.EOMD had more scripts ordered but no more episodes last season.A couple years ago, Life Unexpected also had more scripts ordered(2) but got no more episodes.Once:Wonderland originally had 13 episodes then more were ordered but not enough for a full season yet it’s a “limited series”.
    Deadline on April 13 in Primetime Pilot Panic:More Early Buzz said “Reign & the Selection could both get limited series ordered to alternate if they both pass muster”& “Pedowitz started limited series with Cult & Carrie Diaries and is looking to do more this season”

  • Justin121

    CBS sitcoms:

    TBBT, 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly: Certain.

    Mom: Highly-likely.

    Crazy, Half Men: Bubble.

    CBS dramas:

    Hostages, Mentalist: Cancelled.
    Rest: renewed.

    FOX: Glee & X-Factor in danger.
    Rest (including all 4 sitcoms): Safe bets.

    ABC: Nash, RVG, Glodbergs: Likely.
    (rest are obvious)

    NBC & CW: no idea.

  • Dan

    @Brad – I always make as note of ABC Wednesday as the rare rather odd exception. No one knows how they did well that year but an all new night is difficult again. Even when attempted this year it was poorly executed. Also those post superbowl shows were both in the early 90s but in nearly 20 years no show led out of the superbowl has been cancelled that season. That rule wont be broken with B99.

    @Ultima – Yeah but TCO is only slightly higher rated than Men and if given the choice between Crazy Ones and Two and a Half Men, CBS may ultimately renew Men for a final season over TCO. A consistent veteran would do better then renewing a first season dud that CBS would basically need to invest 3 more years in.

    Its rare that CBS axes 2 veteran comedies the same year. Its possible but considering they have 8 comedy slots and only 3 confirmed veterans to return (The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, and 2 Broke Girls) CBS would try to bring Men back to have a veteran on the schedule. So if The Crazy Ones keeps going down and Mom and The Millers only improve slightly, there’s a good chance to see Men on the schedule for next season

    @John A – Your right Nashville had 21 but like Revolution that was more due to scheduling issues not as a bridge. Same thing with 30 Rock.

    Anything above 20 eps is basically a full season. If its done for scheduling purposes then it counts but if the order is for a few more episodes then the show s pretty much a bridge. Neither Nashville nor Revolution were bridges.

    In terms of CW dramas and their 2 midseason replacements. My best guess is that BATB airs through Jan, goes on hiatus and then moves to Fridays at 9 after TCD finishes its run in January. Star Crossed will probably replace it. The 100 will probably replace Reign as I think Tomorrow People has a good edge over Reign. Tomorrow people will probably remain in its slot and if Reign gets more episodes it wil probably move to Fridays at 8. f not it will end its run and 100 will replace it.

    So By March

    8:00 Hart of Dixie
    9:00 Star Crossed

    8:00 The Originals
    9:00 Supernatural

    8:00 Arrow
    9:00 The Tomorrow People

    8:00 The Vampire Diaries
    9:00 The 100

    8:00 Reign (If given additional episodes)
    9:00 Beauty and the Beast

  • Anthony

    FOX: Glee & X-Factor in danger.

    Glee is already renewed for next season. It isn’t in danger.

  • DM


    Nashville had a full 22 episode order last season. Only 21 episodes were produced because production was behind schedule and they would not have been able to meet their deadline to have all 22 episodes produced in time for them to air by their scheduled finale date. That was the choice of the production team, not ABC.

  • Ultima

    if given the choice between Crazy Ones and Two and a Half Men

    That’s a ridiculous straw man argument.

    The actual choice they’ll be facing is to either renew or cancel Two and a Half Men.

    I think it’s very unlikely to be renewed because the show is probably already losing money for CBS (or will be next season) and it’s not providing enough benefit to their lineup to justify the losses.

  • Brad


    Glee can still be canceled. Contracts can be changed especially if the show is doing so poor.

    It could get a reduced order of 6/8/13 episodes.

  • RayX

    EOMD got 0.2 – 0.3 lower than what Reign got now. BATB got back 9 episodes last season even though its episode 4 got 0.6 behind 1.5 of TVD. i don’t know why people think Reign got 0.6 behind 1.3 is worst than BATB got 0.6 behind 1.5 last year.

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