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


  • Adien

    Pre-season I actually liked CBS having 4 hours of comedies and I do watch The Millers and Mom. Clearly the ratings have not panned out the way CBS or myself expected? However, all networks seem to be sliding esp the key demos although overall viewership is holding up better

    Would like to see CBS consolidate their comedies and do what they do best which are dramas. The comedies are not getting any better ratings than what their dramas are churning out. Hostages maybe the exception but Intelligence looks a little more promising

    Two Broke Girls


    Hold back TAAHM to mid season with 22 episodes order

    Survivor can move to Sunday night and pare it with TAR

  • Michael

    SHIELD survives because ABC has too many complete failures to replace next fall. Disney want the Marvel movie tie in. Its failure to stabilize DOES show why they had to bundle foir other Marvel shows for Netflix tho. Not even the Disney cable nets want them.

    There are too many indy comic properties being shopped around right now, not to mention a new DC Comics show has already been picked up by Fox, CW and NBC, with a CBS and a couple of cable nets still negotiating similar deals. There’s just no room for more Disney/Marvel heroes on broadcast tv.

  • T

    “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.”

    That’s just not true. Reign retained 54% of TVD last episode, while TTP retained 50% of Arrow last episode. So in the latest episode, Reign had better retention, as well as a rating that was a tenth higher than TTP.

    Not to mention how Reign is growing every week, while TTP is just not. Check on Topsy for Twitter analyses if you want proof of that. It’s also gaining steam on Tumblr, and if you compare the Reign and TTP tags, it’s not hard to see which is most popular.

  • CBSviewer

    @ T

    Reign retained 54% of TVD last episode, while TTP retained 50% of Arrow last episode.

    True but retention is irrelevant for Renewal/cancelation.

  • alvar

    The reality is that many scripted shows have dropped since last season, perhaps these numbers will be the norm in future.

    Instead of expanding comedy hours, CBS may have fared better by ordering shorter seasons of the non-anchor comedies (Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly) in order to make room for the new ones.

  • Fellow Penguin Who Watches T.V.

    NBC need to change its line up around. NBC should get rid of Thursday comedies and move it to another night, clearly its not working too well on Thursday. Revolution, even though developed a loyal fan audience, needs to move to 10 pm somewhere.Its not a 8 pm type of show.

    This is what NBC should do for MIDSEASON

    8 The Voice
    10 The Blacklist
    (Keep this the same. The Blacklist is NBC #1 drama,they should’t move it and let it fall and crash)
    8 Parks and Recreation
    8:30 Community
    9 The Voice
    10 Chicago Fire
    (Put parks and rec and community here to anchor the night. It will do way better than it would on Thursday. Put the Voice at 9 as it seems to do better at 9 than 8 on Tuesday. The Voice would continue help Chicago Fire)
    8 About a Boy
    8:30 Growing up Fisher
    9 Sean Saves the World
    9:30 Michael J Fox Show
    10 Parenthood
    (Move the comedies to Wednesday and make it a family night. Even though its competing with ABC comedies,it would do better than on Thursday.)
    8 Chicago pd
    9 SVU
    10 Revolution
    (Chicago PD should anchor the night. Its a procedural,so anybody can tune it at anytime. CBS has a lot of crime shows at an earlier time so why can’t Chicago PD. Revolution has to be at 10!)
    8 Dateline
    9 Grimm
    10 Dracula/Crossbones/Hannibal
    (Friday is doing great and should continue being a type of supernatural, scary night)
    7 American Dream Builders
    8 Believe
    9 Crisis
    10 The Night Shift
    (Sunday will do okay. Seems like ABC Sunday Night isn’t doing so well so it can probably win second or third.)

  • ragincajun

    With the reality competition from The Voice and DWTS, maybe it’s time for CBS to give up on its Monday comedies and try to move the comedy block to Sunday? Not only would it give them great counterprogramming on Monday like NCIS did against American Idol in its heyday, but it would also give the net a great programming option to better deal with the sports overruns on Sunday.

    New Drama
    Intelligence or Criminal Minds


    New Drama
    Criminal Minds or CSI

    New Drama

    Blue Bloods


    60 Minutes
    The Crazy Ones
    How I Met Your Dad
    Another Comedy (The Millers, Friends with Better Live, or a new multi-cam)
    The Good Wife

    60 Minutes
    The Crazy Ones
    New single cam
    The Good Wife

    Midseason: CSI (if not on fall schedule), TAAHM, The Amazing Race, Undercover Boss, two new comedies, two new dramas

  • Duarte

    Ok, CBS schedule (the first I do for CBS)

    Mike and Moly
    2 Broke Girls

    NEW DRAMA (NCIS New Orleans)
    NCIS Los Angels

    Criminal Minds

    The Big Bang Theory
    The Crazy Ones
    The Millers

    Undercover Boss
    Hawaii Five-0 / Intelligence (if it would be a sucess) /
    Blue Bloods

    60 Minutes
    The Good Wife
    Person of Interest

    Goodbye to Hostages and Elementary and The Mentalist (which producers are ending the main story, they are already doing this the last season)

    In the spring they can have a new comedy (maybe 2) and a new drama

  • Duarte

    I forgot, on Mondays 10pm it will be a new drama

  • Max Vrany

    SHIELD’s ratings need to approach Nashville and Revenge before ABC considers canceling it. It’s about 7-tenths of a point ahead of those 2 shows right now, but if it can’t stop dropping…

  • Fellow Penguin Who Watches T.V.

    Why isn’t Revolution on the bubble. It had developed a loyal fan base with a demo rating of 1.4- 1.5 (below NBC’s average) I think NBC has a 60/40 of getting renew for a third season. Why not? Speaking of Revolution, NBC needs to move it to a 9 or 10 pm time slot. It isn’t exactly a family show. Any thoughts?

  • T


    “True but retention is irrelevant for Renewal/cancelation.”

    Indeed. I was simply calling Dan out on his factual inaccuracies in saying that Reign does worse retention-wise than TTP.

    What matters is the rating, and the simple truth is that Reign has been growing for three weeks in a row, and this week it was rewarded by an added tenth (.7). TTP on the other hand, is stuck at .6 for now.

  • Avery

    @T: It does to worse retention-wise than TTP. You cant just take into account the last episode, but all the episodes this season!

  • CBSviewer

    @ T

    I agree Reign is doing better than TTP and I think it should get a second season. But we have to wait and see how it will be doing in 2014.

  • Chris J

    @Fellow Penguin Who Watches T.V.

    NBC’s family comedies would crash and burn against ABC’s family comedies.

    The ratings would be no better than Thursday, and Wednesdays are already relatively stable for NBC (aside from the DOA Ironside).

    For now NBC needs to focus on making a quality comedy. The problem isn’t so much the time slot (Thursday 9pm is now one of the least competitive time slots this season because everything is doing poorly in the hour). The problem is that NBC’s comedies aren’t funny and frankly aren’t good.

    As this post said, it’s highly likely that CBS will have to cut the Thursday 9pm hour next season which means NBC NEEDS to find a hit to air at 9pm, and not another weak celebrity driven comedy. Even if CBS keeps the Thursday 9pm comedy hour it would be full of either all new comedies or one new comedy and one anemically weak veteran comedy (2 and a half men).

    NBC still has a chance to rebuild Thursdays next season with at least one hour of comedy. The challenge now is to find the right ones.

  • Adam3648

    I’m curious why Parks and Recreation is “Renewal Predicted.” I would love if it does get renewed, but the ratings are horrible this season, like all of Thursday night. Or is it just that they have so many low rated shows that it’s expected that Parks & Rec will get picked up again?

  • CrimTV


    True but retention is irrelevant for Renewal/cancelation.

    Reign scored a 0.7, TTP scored a 0.6.

  • Chris J


    Parks will probably get renewed as spackle in case anything next season fails, but I highly doubt it’s getting a full 22 episode season.

    So yes it is highly likely Parks gets renewed because at this point it is still the highest rated comedy, it’s already in syndication, AND NBC owns it. So even with the low ratings it may still make some financial sense for NBC to give a short final season order.

  • DC

    The real question surrounding SHIELD is what ratings level is required to sustain the “adventurer” episode budget the show currently has. I’m not so sure the show is as entertaining if they get grounded in the same location for an entire season.

  • Ali

    Fox’s made some really bad decisions programming wise, if they had to launch that sci-fi show on Monday they should have put Bones on hiatus until January and then maybe promoted the move. Have you seen the promos where they compare beloved Brennan to the robot and they think that loyal Bones fans will watch.? Tthey need to fire the whole promotion department.

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