Bubble Watch: Agents of the B.U.B.B.L.E? + 'How I Met Your Dad' & CBS Comedies; Message to 'Bones' Fans: Relax!

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

November 16th, 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.

Bubble Watch: Anchors Away for the CBS Comedies?

CBS had a problem rarely seen in modern television with their comedies over the last few years – they had too much success! So many comedies were renewed every year that CBS had little new blood coming in.

Unfortunately for CBS, their gambit to fix the issue – expanding to four comedy hours and keeping Mike & Molly in reserve, to have room for multiple newbies – happened to coincide with the modern reality of the TV industry catching up to even CBS. The result is CBS now has:

Two comedies capable of getting above a 3 (despite airing in the timeslots with the lowest overall viewing).

Their lead-outs, which are settling in the mid 2s.

The 9pm hour, filled with four shows that struggle to top (or in some cases, hit) low 2s.

… oh, and one of the two legitimate hits is ending this season.

So with eight comedy slots, and only one show (The Big Bang Theory) capable of putting up even large numbers (or “anchoring” an hour), what could we expect next year?

1) How I Met Your Dad to take over Mondays @ 8. The spinoff, which recently had a pilot ordered, is probably CBS’ best bet to lead off Mondays. If it can get even 80% of what the original did this week, it would top what every CBS comedy in the 9pm hours did this week.

2) 2 Broke Girls to move back to 9pm. No, the show didn’t do well at 9pm, but it at least tied what Mike & Molly has already dropped to, and did better than what both of the Thursday @9pm shows settled to. As disappointing as it sounds, unless some pilot knocks everyone’s socks off, 2 Broke Girls is CBS’ best shot Mondays @9pm next season.

3) CBS to drop the Thursday @9pm comedy hour. While this would be a major move – one I am not going to assume, least of all because CBS usually gives experiments two years before pulling the plug – I still have to consider it as a possibility. It would help CBS in two ways: it wouldn’t spread what little comedy success CBS has as thinly, and it would help in drama development.

Yes, drama development. If CBS’ major goal next year is to develop new dramas, it is worth pointing out that the only current timeslots CBS has to work with are at 10pm and on Sundays. Neither is particularly fertile ground in the modern era. While CBS could slide NCIS:LA to 10pm (especially if it picks up NCIS:NO) to open up a 9pm slot (admittedly opposite The Voice) , the only other real option is to risk sliding Criminal Minds to 10pm to open up Wednesday @9pm… unless it downsizes the Thursday comedies. It is worth pointing out that Thursday @ 9pm offers the weakest competition the timeslot has had in probably a decade (and yet the current CBS comedies are doing nothing with it).

(It would also help with promotion – I doubt CBS wants to promote up to four new comedies along with three new dramas next Fall.)

Obviously, if there were only six comedy slots in play, then things get much dicier for the likes of The Crazy Ones, Mom, etc.


This week’s other notable data points and news bits:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dropped another three tenths this week. Even if you toss out the premiere, here is Agents’ week-to-week performance since the second episode: dropped four tenths, dropped a tenth, dropped a tenth, dropped two tenths, dropped three tenths. Even with starting in the mid 3s, that sort of trajectory isn’t healthy. I’ve moved it to “On The Bubble” until we see its floor, if any.

CW gave full backorders to The Originals, Reign, and The Tomorrow People. While this was no surprise for The Originals, it was a minor surprise for the other two – CW already has two more scripted shows (The 100 and Star-Crossed) and a pile of unscripted shows waiting in the wings for this season.

Whether this is The CW still holding out hope that something can do better against The Voice than their current Monday shows do, or a simple lack of faith in their midseason scripted shows, remains to be seen. We’ll see which way The CW is leaning once they release their Spring schedule. I’ve moved Reign (up a tick this week) to “On The Bubble” at least until we see The CW’s plans, as both Reign and The Tomorrow People’s chances hinge on their scheduling for Spring.

Bones dropped 40% from its Monday showing in its Friday premiere. While that drop is alarming, the Friday showing was still at 80% of Fox’s scripted average for the week! (Out of all the Friday shows on all the broadcast networks, only Grimm is doing above 80% of its network average.) While it is possible that Fox could have enough new dramas survive this year to allow them to part with Bones (we’ll know more next week when we see the Almost Human numbers), I don’t think it is likely, so I am keeping it as “Renewal Predicted”.

Raising Hope did not fare so well, doing just 46% of Fox’s scripted average for the week. Before the season I thought Fox might order another 13 episodes next season as spackle; this week’s numbers ended that. Whether that leaves an opening for one of Fox’s other mediocrely rated comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mindy Project) as spackle duty on Fridays next season is an interesting question.

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
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox Cancellation Predicted
Dads Fox Cancellation Predicted
The Mindy Project Fox Cancellation Predicted
Raising Hope 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
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC On The Bubble
The Crazy Ones CBS On The Bubble
Two and a Half Men CBS On The Bubble
Reign CW On The Bubble
The Tomorrow People CW On The Bubble
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


  • Kimberly

    I’m desperately hoping that the recently released median household income numbers will influence TMP’s renewal. If advertisers want wealthier viewers, TMP leads the pack for FOX, which could give it an edge over B99.

  • Kate

    Agents of the B.U.B.B.L.E. is funny!

  • Jonay

    Do you think that FOX will change Enlisted’s premire again? Since Raising Hopes ratings aren’t too good!

  • Bradley

    I really think that CBS should add a drama hour and remove an hour of comedies. I liked this post a lot so kudos.

  • Bradley

    I really think that CBS should add a drama hour and remove an hour of comedies. I liked this post a lot so kudos.

  • Holly

    I disagree on SHIELD. It will likely continue to drop, but with Betrayal, Lucky 7 and Wonderland failing so badly, ABC will be very, very reticent to cancel SHIELD.

  • DM

    I thought The Carrie Diaries was unoficially cancelled already too.

  • Charlie

    why’d you take off super fun night as canceled Tom? was it because charmed was on his or her monthly??

  • CreacK

    What are the chances of CBS moving Survivor to Sundays for next fall? That would free up an hour on Wednesday that they may be able to put person of interest in to open up room for NCIS NO.

  • Eric_Philly

    As a regular reader, I know that DVR numbers don’t account for much more than press releases… BUT, Shield’s DVR figures seem to be much more stable than the live+SD numbers… wouldn’t that count for something? In addition, of course, to using Disney property, production, and airwaves… nicely vertically integrated.

  • Rebooted

    I’ve said all along 1 of Reign and The Tomorrow People will be renewed, and one will be cancelled.

  • Scott M

    Things I disagree with-
    ABC – Goldbergs should be on the bubble and shield should be renewal predicted. I realize you’re trying to predict future ratings with shield, but I don’t trust anybody who says they can, and right now it’s still above average.

    CBS – I would throw mom and good wife to the bubble. CBS always seems to find a way to keep good wife on the air. As for mom there really isn’t much difference between it and the other comedies so they should all be put in the same spot.

    CW – nothing.

    Fox – There is just no way all those comedies are getting cancelled. At least 1 is coming back and a case could be made for 2. You might need to account for a lot less X factor next fall if its even on at all. Fox may have a lot of time to fill.

    NBC – Revolution is pretty much the definition of a bubble show if there ever was one. You shouldn’t even have a “On the bubble” section if Revolution isn’t on it.

  • Percysowner

    @DM I thought The Carrie Diaries was unoficially cancelled already too.

    Some posters were very upset that series were being listed as canceled when there had been no announcement of cancellation. I don’t know if this factored into the changes, but it does answer those who don’t want to see a show listed as canceled until there is an official announcement. The comment following yours tends to prove that in predicting you can’t win for losing.

  • Paulo PT

    The Goldberghs could have a chance if ABC move the show to wednesday 8PM. It performed well as a self start comedy, and better than Back to game and Super Fun Night.

    I disagree, CBS should keep 4 hours of comedies.

    NCIS:LA moving to another night.

    Anthology Series (Limited series) could be CBS answer to sunday nights (Between 2 and 10 hours shows). A new type of CBS Sunday Night Movie.

    I think 21st century Variety Entertainment shows could be a good option in the future. The ratings have lowered so much… mid 2’s is good, mid 3’s is a success!

  • DenverDean

    CBS will move to six comedies if TAHM agreement can’t be worked out. I’m really convinced that CBS is doubtful about its renewal because they put it at 930. It would have made sense to stick TAHM at 900 to protect it’s lead-in (TM) and the lead-out (TCO). Now, there is a huge drop in the hammock from TBBT and it’s impacting not only TAHM, but also Elementary.

    I’d be surprised if CBS messes with the Wed line-up – it has been solid. CM even hit 2.7 this week (higher than any of the other 9 PM on any night. CSI still wins its timeslot (on network) despite DD and redhot AHS: Coven.

  • Percysowner

    @Eric_PhillyAs a regular reader, I know that DVR numbers don’t account for much more than press releases… BUT, Shield’s DVR figures seem to be much more stable than the live+SD numbers… wouldn’t that count for something? In addition, of course, to using Disney property, production, and airwaves… nicely vertically integrated.

    I’m not an expert, just someone who follows TV By the Numbers. The DVR numbers probably don’t mean anything. The CW is the only network, thus far, that seems to really consider online and off hour viewing. Having a nice contract with NetFlix and Hulu helps the CW do this. The vertical integration may be a factor when decision time comes. If Disney finds that Agents of SHIELD helps raise attendance at the related movies, that may be a consideration. Frankly a serious look at what’s not working (most sources cite Skye and Ward) and what is working (most sources agree Coulson and May, and many sources say Fitz and Simmons) and adjusting around that could pull the series together enough to settle at a respectable if not stellar rating. I personally would dump Skye (who started poorly as a character and may not be salvageable) pair Ward with different members of the team (he and Fitz had nice platonic chemistry) and go from there. What the creators will do is a mystery to me.

  • KC

    With how badly ABC has done this year, it is hard to imagine SHIELD not being renewed. If SHIELD is cancelled then a high chunk of ABC’s schedule will be cancelled. I also agree that The Good Wife should be moved up to On The Bubble. The ratings have risen over the past few weeks and this week, in particular, TGW beat out Elementary in 18-49 rating and total viewers. Keep in mind, TGW airs on Sundays while Elementary airs on Thursdays.

  • CreacK

    Why dont scripted shows try to sell product placement? That could help make DVR numbers a factor because people are still seeing those a week later even if they fast forward through commercials. Also, why dont online viewings count? Ive been watching a few shows on ABC.com, NBC.com, and Fox.com and they all place in commercials and I cant find a way to skip them.

  • Dan

    SHIELD is not on the bubble, if ABC cancels SHIELD that means they wont renew any drama? and their biigest show is not only a failure but all their ties and promotions with their marvel films are done. Not happening.

    Shield will be renewed. As for Bones, ratings Do Not matter. If FOX can work out a deal with David Boreanaz then they will renew it.

    My guess with CBS is this if CBS can get a deal for a final Men season that means 4 veterans return, and if they renew 2 shows this season (Mom and The MIllers) that leaves 2 open slots.

    Maybe this for CBS.

    8:00 The Amazing Race
    9:00 Hawaii 5-0
    10:00 Elementary

    Cancel The Mentalist and The Good Wife and move Elementary from Thursdays to Sundays and H50 to Sundays. I think both shows will be better fits for Sundays.

    8:00 How I Met Your Father
    8:30 2 Broke Girls
    9:00 Mike & Molly
    9:30 Mom
    10:00 Person of Interest

    CBS will likely have HIMYM spinoff inherit HIMYM’s slot. Also my guess is that they will keep Mom. Not sure if CBS would move 2 Broke Girls to 9 but if they don’t then 2BG, M&M, and Mom will keep their current slots. Also CBS has a Monat 10pm problem with launching new comedies so a suggestion would be move an established veteran to the slot rather than have 3 top shows air on 1 night.

    8:00 NCIS
    9:00 NCIS NO
    10:00 NCIS LA

    CBS can make this a complete NCIS night but to give the spinoff a shot they could shift NCIS LA to 10pm and air NCIS NO at 9. Or they could air NO at 10pm and keep LA at 9.

    8:00 Survivor
    9:00 Criminal Minds
    10:00 NEW DRAMA

    Survivor and Criminal Minds work well in their slots but CBS should launch a new drama out of Criminal Minds. Defenders/Blue Bloods/CMSB did decently in the slot but CBS could take advantage of the fact that NBC has nothing for the slot and if renewed Nashville is still low rated. A new drama is better than CSI which should head to fridays.

    8:00 The Big Bang Theory
    8:00 NEW COMEDY
    9:00 Two and a Half Men
    9:30 The Millers
    10:00 NEW DRAMA

    CBS should still try to launch a new comedy out of Big Bang but its better to have it sandwiched between Big Bang and Men as opposed to having 2 new comedies in a row. Men could air its final season at 9 and The Millers if renewed could move to 9:30. Its doing pretty well and unfortunately I dont think The Crazy Ones will make the cut. Its expensive with Robin Williams and as a single camera and its not worth investing 3 more years into. Also CBS should try to launch a new drama Thursdays at 10. Elementary isn’t working in the slot so maybe something new will be better. Plus if ABC moves Scandal to a new slot, CBS can start fresh airing in the slot with a new drama.

    8:00 Undercover Boss
    9:00 CSI
    10:00 Blue Bloods

    CBS is intent on keeping Undercover Boss at 8 and not holding it for midseason. CSI NY aired at 9:00 for 3 seasons and did relatively well. CBS will keep the original CSI but Friday is the best slot to move it to. A new drama needs to be on Wednesdays at 10 and Hawaii 5-0 would work better on Sundays then CSI.

    This schedule, which I’ve posted on other boards, seems to be the most stable schedule for CBS. 3 dramas, 2 comedies, veterans split across all nights, no new dramas on Sundays or Fridays or Mondays and those slots are reserved for syndication bound shows. If Good Wife happens to get renewed which I cant see as a possibility but maybe could happen then IDK. Maybe it airs midseason or it keeps its slot and H50 remains at 9 and CSI airs 8 Fridays and UB gets held for midseason, who knows.

  • Wanda

    CBS should keep The Crazy Ones and give time to grow. the Big Bang Theory wasn’t a powerhouse it’s first season. If CBS drops the show I hope another network picks up show. Being on netfflix will definetly help.

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