Bubble Watch: A Look At Fox – Could ‘Mindy,’ ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and ‘Dads’ All Be Canceled?


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.

As we get deeper into December and reruns and specials dominate, I thought I would take the opportunity to review why my predictions are what they are, on a network-by-network basis. First up, Fox. But before that…

A quick comment on stability

One of the most frequent comments I see is “Why do you think Show X is so doomed? Its ratings are stable!”

I feel stability is an overrated concept. Sure, a show that keeps dropping is worrisome, but flat ratings aren’t the biggest factor. Case in point: the two most stable shows this season are… Hart of Dixie and Beauty & The Beast, which have recorded a 0.4 and a 0.3, respectively, every single airing this season. I sincerely doubt the other networks are trying to acquire those shows for their stability.

Moreover, in some cases, stability is a bad thing. If a show is up against repeats, you should expect it to grow that week. A show that is flat suggests it has no larger possible audience. For example, this week Brooklyn Nine-Nine went up against reruns of both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. AND NCIS, and was up just a single tenth from the last time it went up against first-run episodes from both (two weeks ago). Let me reiterate: 5+ rating points were up for grabs, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine managed to get 0.1 of it (~2%)! If Brooklyn Nine-Nine can’t grow in that situation, when can it grow?

The Fox Fall Summary


Pro: Settling into Friday nicely, solid spackle option as Fox continues to try new dramas.

Con: The show is old enough where actors may want to leave and costs rise to keep them.

Odds of renewal: 85%

Almost Human

Con: The show has already dropped below Bones’ lowest Monday rating. Turns out the episodes have aired out of order, with episodes 2 and 4 still unscheduled, and episode 3 buried in mid-December (and probably explains why the premiere was delayed two weeks, as they rushed to get better launch episodes finished). Fox shuffled their schedule this week to get Almost Human away from the Sleepy Hollow finale and The Following premiere. Gang Related is waiting in the wings, and Almost Human has enough episodes ordered as is to allow Gang Related to launch after the Olympics. Forget a renewal, I’m not sure Almost Human even gets a backorder. (Not coincidentally, I’ve moved Almost Human to “Cancellation Predicted” this week.)

Odds of renewal: 10%


Pro: The Seth MacFarlane name.

Con: Tied for the worst rated Sunday-Thursday show on Fox. Fox just cut three episodes from its order. Fox also appeased MacFarlane by ordering yet another animated show from him.

Odds of renewal: 1%

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Pro: The most critically acclaimed and highest rated of the three Tuesday options.

Con: My judgment has never been about which of the three was the best rated, but if any of the three were worth Fox’s time to try another year of. Mired in the mid 1s (again, see the above bit on stability – is there any more audience left for the show?), if it doesn’t improve after New Girl (and it could drop going against The Voice full-time), what will the numbers look like next year? Not owned by Fox.

Odds of renewal: 45% (until we see post-New Girl numbers)

New Girl

Pro: Needs a 4th season for syndication.

Odds of renewal: 100%

The Mindy Project

Pro: Brooklyn Nine-Nine could do worse in its timeslot. Fox might want to keep a Friday spackle option.

Con:  Tied for the worst rated Sunday-Thursday show on Fox. Not owned by Fox.

Odds of renewal: 30% (until we see Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s post-New Girl numbers)

Raising Hope

Con: Numbers are terrible, even for Friday. Hits 88 episodes with this season’s order.

Odds of renewal: 1%

Family Guy

Pro: Ratings are fine. While older, no public chatter about excessive cast raises.

Odds of renewal: 95%

Sleepy Hollow, Glee, The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers

Already Renewed

This week’s news:

NBC renewed The Blacklist. While the renewal should surprise no one, a cynic would wonder why NBC would announce their only freshman renewal in December. (I’m not a cynic, and think there’s a fair chance Chicago PD is renewed. I’m not sure I put anything else upcoming above “a slight chance”.)

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
Almost Human Fox 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
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
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
The Blacklist NBC Renewed

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