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


  • Cyrax86

    While I agree that the drops of SHIELD are alarming, the only way ABC is not renewing it is that it pulls an NBC and cancells all the freshman dramas (like NBC did it with the comedies last season). But it is unlikely, ABC always renews the best performing drama and SHIELD will stay that way as I don’t think Resurrection, Mind Games or Killer Women can do better, especially if they are wasted again in the usual timeslots as Thurdays 8 pm or Sundays 10 pm. Then again daylight saving time ending would also have an interesting effect on SHIELD…

    But I don’t see why you keep The Goldbergs to be cancelled, it’s doing consistent, would they really cancel all of their new shows + Nashville, The Neighbors & Suburgatory? Highly unlikely.

  • Kenny

    You people suck…I mean Raising Hope and The Goldbergs on the CANCELLED list? C`mon Guys..I respect the hell out of you guys and read this all the time, As the great Hall and Oates says “Say it isn`t So”

  • Lisa

    Revolution is one if the most expensive shows on tv to produce. I think that has to factor in right?

  • Dan

    Also with Bones, if Almost Human flops on Mondays, my bet is that by January, Bones will move back to Mondays with The Following, Almost Human will shift to Fridays to burn through its 13 episode order and Glee will replace it by March so Rake can air its 15 episode order on Thursdays and not be replaced.

    The CW shows arent a surprise, Tomorrow People and Reign (Like Ringer Secret Circle, and Hart of Dixie in 2011) are doing well enough where they could go either way, even out of Arrow and Vampire Diaries. Why would CW dump them now?

    Plus by February after Nikita & Carrie Diaries ends, the full season renewals means CW has 8 shows with full seasons and 2 new midseason dramas. Those 8 shows will all likely have aired around 9-10 episodes by the time The 100 and Star Crossed premiere which means they will perfectly balance the schedule in terms of scripted shows. CW can save the reality for Summer

    Potential CW schedule by Feb or March.

    8:00 Hart of Dixie
    9:00 Star Crossed

    CW will keep HOD on Mondays and likely pair it with Star Crossed. The shows seem compatible and CW needs a new show for Mondays rather than the flailing Beauty and the Beast

    8:00 The Originals
    9:00 Supernatural

    Both shows are doing great in their current slots and they should stay that way for the remainder of the season.

    8:00 Arrow
    9:00 The Tomorrow People

    Again while the Tomorrow People could be doing better, it wouldnt be wise to split the two shows up.

    8:00 The Vampire Diaries
    9:00 The 100

    CW should try a new show like The 100 out of Vampire Diaries. Reign isn’t working in that slot, and I’l get to that on Friday.

    8:00 Beauty and the Beast
    9:00 Reign

    Beauty and the Beast is flopping on Fridays. After Nikita and Carrie Diaries finish up after January, I can see CW moving BATB to Fridays to air a new drama on Mon and Thur. Reign isn’t doing well out of TVD (TTP is doing slightly better out of Arrow) CW needs to now that Reign isn’t a keeper for another season. However it should be moved to Fridays so CW can premiere a new show and so it has a place to air its remaining episodes.

    By midseason The CW will likely move their lowest rated dramas to fridays for the remainder of the season to air new dramas that actually have a shot on Mon and Thur. Those two lowest rated series (not counting Nikita or Carrie Diaries because neither have full seasons) are BATB and Reign.

  • Jon

    With raising hope pulling a .7. I see no reason for it to be renewed. The only reason it made it to this season was syndication purposes.

  • RJ

    I’m surprised at The Good Wife’s placement. I’ve been calling for its cancellation for a year or two now, but I’m laying off those predictions. With a ton of critical acclaim this season, ratings that seem to have rebounded a bit, and that huge syndication deal, I think CBS is going to stick it out for another season. If anything, The Mentalist will bite the dust, leaving room in the 10pm slot (or moving Good Wife to 10 and a new show at 9).

  • Jon

    A tad bit premature to have shield on the bubble. I can come up with 6 or 7 other shows u have cancellation predicted to put there instead

  • Morgan Wick

    What are the chances CBS doesn’t replace one cancelled Sunday show and finally provides a buffer from the end of the NFL overrun to 60 Minutes so people can actually predict when their shows come on? Less than zero?

  • Morgan Wick

    “BUT, Shield’s DVR figures seem to be much more stable than the live+SD numbers… wouldn’t that count for something?”

    At most it would signal that the show needs to find a better timeslot.

  • Adam

    @Dan, you are the man. Nice work.

  • MikeyM

    Agents of Shield is a turd. It probably won’t be on next season unless they retool it to make it intersting.

  • Refrain

    @Revolution is one if the most expensive shows on tv to produce.

    I seriously doubt that. I would say there are more than a half dozen network tv shows with a higher budget than Revolution.

    Surely the tell tale signs are there. They’ve been in the same town/general area for a while now, the filming locations at present are pretty limited. Clearly a form of budget in play.

  • Refrain

    Also I agree with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D being a bubble show, it has been on a downward slide since it premiered, and may dip below 6 million in time. With the amount of money reported as being thrown at this show I can’t see a renewal.

  • Michael1

    I always thought that CBS’s 9pm Thursday Comedy hour was just part of a cattle call to try out as many new comedies as possible in order to find something to replace HIMYM. I think that “Two and a Half Men” still has some gas left in the tank if they move it back to either 8:30 on Thursdays, or 9 pm on Mondays. Personally, I’m all laughed out by 9:30, and I need something of substance to pique my interest.

  • David Howell


    What seems more realistic than a buffer on Sunday is 60 Minutes being cancelled. Ridiculous? Not with the heat it’s getting over the Benghazi episode. 60 Minutes Wednesday was cancelled (and Dan Rather walked) for far less (that story was actually essentially true even if horrifically sourced).

    Get rid of 60 Minutes and you can totally remodel Sundays. My pet idea is TAR/Survivor/CSI, with maybe TBBT reruns at 7/7:30 that get dumped in overrun situations so CSI never starts after 10:29. Or maybe even put Crazy Ones on an island at 7:30 if it’s the only singlecam.

  • Mike

    Revolution is one if the most expensive shows on tv to produce.

    Not true.. At all sorry their are many shows out their that have higher budgets.. Also I’m sure the shows budget was cut from last season..

    Ill name 2 now… X factor cost estimate of 3.5 million an episode. Game of thrones cost an estimate of 6 million dollars an episode..

  • CBSviewer

    CBS next season:

    8:00 – 2 Broke Girls
    8:30 – The Millers
    9:30 – The Crazy Ones
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    8:00 – NCIS
    9:00 – NCIS: NEW ORLEANS
    10:00 – Person of Interest

    8:00 – Survivor
    9:00 – Criminal Minds
    10:00 – CSI

    8:00 – The Big Bang Theory
    8:30 – NEW COMEDY
    9:00 – NCIS: Los Angeles
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA

    8:00 – NEW DRAMA / Undercover Boss
    9:00 – Hawaii Five-0
    10:00 – Blue Bloods

    8:00 – The Amazing Race
    9:00 – Elementary
    10:00 – The Good Wife

  • Charmed

    I don’t think S.H.I.E.L.D will be cancelled, at least not yet. The fact that ABC even considered reviving Body Of Proof proves that they are desperate. However, if at least one of their Midseason dramas are a hit, it’s a goner.

  • Ronan

    I think it’s ridiculous to blame The Crazy Ones for the low ratings. It’s a new show that retains most of the audience of The Millers. If a show in its 9th season (TAAHM) with a large fanbase can’t deliver a big audience, how can you expect a new show to do so? It simply needs time to grow.

    The real problem is The Millers. It has this huge lead in but doesn’t know how to use it. Switch TCO and The Millers!

  • Charmed

    @Ronan TAAHM is actually in it’s 11th season, which makes it even worse! I agree with you about TCO and The Millers

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