Bubble Watch: With So Many ABC Failures Will Paul Lee Be Canceled, Too?


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.

Thanksgiving is here again, a time to realize, and be thankful for, all that we have.

While ABC President Paul Lee isn’t an American, he should be thankful he’s survived the occasionally treacherous November; his job should now be safe until after next season’s schedule is set. (Aside from weird cases like The CW’s delayed handoff to Mark Pedowitz and NBC’s sale to Comcast, network presidents almost never get replaced between December and May – presumably because it would make the awkward pilot/schedule process even more dysfunctional than it already is.)

Why am I viewing Lee’s future so dimly? Take a look at the decreasing success his development slates  have had:


4+ Seasons: Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Last Man Standing, Revenge

2-ish Seasons: Suburgatory, Apt 23

Single Season: Pan Am, GCB, Man Up!, Work It, The River, Charlie’s Angels, Missing


4+ Seasons: None

2-ish Seasons: The Neighbors, Nashville (probably)

Single Season:  666 Park Avenue, Red Widow, Family Tools, How to Live, Last Resort, Zero Hour, Malibu Country


4+ years: None

2-ish years: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (probably)

Single Season: Betrayal, The Goldbergs*, Trophy Wife, Lucky 7, Back In The Game, Super Fun Night, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, (Likely) Every Upcoming Midseason Show

Or to summarize, Lee has gone from a fantastic freshman year – getting four shows into the syndication track, and adding desperately needed new soap blood – to having just one show a year that has any chance of syndication (and even some of those first year hits have become alarmingly soft).

Speaking of those limited successes:

Nashville has gained a tenth each of the last two weeks! On the other hand, that means the show has merely crawled back to the middling rating (1.6) it hit for the majority of this season, despite weak competition (Ironside and the probably Sunday-bound CSI). Meanwhile, Revenge’s failings mean a move to Sunday @ 10 is probably off the table, and the number of songs per episode in Nashville has dropped significantly (implying that the alternate revenue stream of song downloads isn’t worth much). Even with Lee still in charge of next season’s schedule, I still don’t think the show’s chances are good.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gained two tenths each of the last two weeks! While it is entirely possible that the gains are illusory (from The Originals’ and NCIS’ first-run audience looking for something to watch), the larger point is that the show has stopped sliding, at a level above the network average. That’s enough to get me to move it back to “Renewal Predicted”, even if I expect to hear the dreaded “Creative Reboot” phrasing to be attached to the renewal.

(*Note that the 2011/2012 summaries would suggest that one comedy will get a renewal. Given that The Goldbergs is struggling to get out of the mid 1s as is, I’m unconvinced ABC will see any point in giving it a try on Fridays).

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
Nikita CW Final Season
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
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
Almost Human Fox 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

blog comments powered by Disqus