ABC: Why Is 'Back In The Game' "De facto Canceled"?

Categories: Cancel/Renew ABC Shows,Cancel/Renew Index

Written By

December 10th, 2013

Click this link for the latest ABC renewal / cancellation information:


Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts potential renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows by the end of the 2013-14 season in May, 2014. (includes results from September 16-December 8, 2013):

Program Status Renew/ Cancel Index
Lucky 7* canceled 0.44
Betrayal :oops: 0.49
The Neighbors (F) :oops: 0.49
Once Upon A Time In Wonderland :oops: 0.55
Last Man Standing (F) :) :) :) :) 0.67
Trophy Wife :oops: 0.70
Revenge :) :) :) :) 0.83
Nashville :| :| :| 0.83
Back in the Game de facto canceled 0.90
The Goldbergs :| :| :| 0.93
Castle :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.05
Super Fun Night :oops: 1.08
Once Upon A Time :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.13
The Middle :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.14
Grey's Anatomy :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.40
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.47
Scandal :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.55
Modern Family :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 1.95

The cancellation bear is just taking the time to clean up a little unfinished business before his upcoming holiday post next week.

Why is Back In The Game de facto canceled?

When a rookie show, with the typical 13 episode order, does not get any follow on episode order at all, it has been de facto canceled. There will be no more news from ABC about the show (unless you consider its absence from the 2014-15 schedule announced in May "news").

“Why is Super Fun Night certain to be canceled, yet sitting beside a bunch of certain to be renewed shows?”

Super Fun Night's position in the list is determined by its ratings average, which has yet to “catch up” to its recent ratings declines.

However, its prediction is based primarily on the fact that it didn’t receive a full season order. There are very isolated instances of Fall premiere rookie shows without full season orders being renewed for a second season, but it’s not even remotely the way to bet.

Better to Follow The Bear, Than Be Chased By Him. You can follow the Cancellation Bear on Twitter via @TheCancelBear. The Cancellation Bear will retweet all the Renew/Cancel Index post titles and links as well as engage in a little more back and forth banter than we do on our standard @TVbytheNumbers Twitter feed.
*shows no longer on the air have their Renew/Cancel Index "frozen" at the point they left the schedule.


  • :oops: - certain to be cancelled by May, 2014
  • :cry: :cry:- more likely to be cancelled than renewed by May, 2014
  • :| :| :| - toss up between renewal or cancellation by May, 2014
  • :) :) :) :) - more likely to be renewed than cancelled by May, 2014
  • :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: - certain to be renewed by May, 2014

The Renew/Cancel Index is the ratio of a scripted show's new episode adults 18-49 ratings relative to the new episode ratings of the other scripted shows on its own network. It's calculated by dividing a show's new episode Live+Same Day adults 18-49 average rating by the Live+Same Day new episode average of all the new scripted show episodes on the show's own network. The network's average ratings in the calculation are not time weighted (ex. hour long shows are not weighted twice what 30 minute shows are).

(F) -Fridays: Shows airing on Fridays were renewed with significantly lower than average Indexes.

How have the Renew / Cancel Index Worked Out In Past Seasons? See all the Renew / Cancel Index predicted renewals and cancellations from recent past television seasons.

  • HeadlessHorseman

    a lock*

  • Ultima

    Big Thunder definitely would have been a better pick up than Lucky 7.

    To be fair, ANY other pilot definitely would have been a better pick up than Lucky 7. ;)

  • Sam

    TJW, Back in the Game was canceled while Trophy Wife (with inferior ratings) was renewed because of the reason you state, Back in the Game is on a stronger night with not much stronger ratings. The other BIG reason is that Trophy Wife is owned and produced by ABC, while Back in the Game is 20th Century Fox. So the residuals on Trophy Wife go to ABC, but on Back in the Game they don’t. It is follow the money in this case. ABC’s show wins, not 20th Century Fox’s.

  • ToXiX

    ABC finally putting The Goldbergs after The Middle on Dec 18. It’s repeats but still.

  • Fred


    I’m a fan of Wonderland. I enjoy some eps better than the original.
    Why would you think ABC will renew it next season? I wish you were right, but its highly doubtful.

  • Dan

    @Toxix – ABC should have scheduled The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife on Wednesdays back in May for new episodes. Paul Lee said back at TCA that “while most people thought Trophy Wife would be better suited to air behind Modern Family, we thought it would be better suited for Tuesdays”.

    He could not have been more wrong. But they havent developed a successful well rated comedy in over 4 years so that shouldnt surprise me.

    Other mistakes ABC made.

    They should have scheduled AOS Thursdays at 8. That would have been a better slot than 8 Tuesdays. There’s just too much stiff competition Tuesdays at 8 and ABC should have taken advantage of the slot by airing a strong drama Thursdays rather than OUAT Wonderland..

    DWTS should have had results aired Tuesdays at 9 and if ABC was going to have comedies on that night, 8 & 8:30 would have been better. Also they should have kept Body of Proof so when Lucky 7 flopped, theyd have a drama ready to air, but that ship has sailed.

    ABC should have aired Wonderland between the OUAT cycles or at least at 9 and moved Revenge to 10. Eliminating the need for Betrayal, which predictably turned out just as 666 Park Avenue and Red Widow.

    Also Back in the Game should have aired as a midseason comedy and for Tuesdays comedies Suburgatory would have worked to start the night off.

    ABC made a lot of terrible decisions this season but hopefully next season they could work to fix them.

  • Cyrax86

    What if Scandal is like Lost and does not work as a good lead-in? Plus I do think it is the definition of a 10 pm show, at least in ABC terms.

    SHIELD, Nashville and Revenge will all be saved because ABC is doing so badly. Those 3 midseason dramas promise to be epic flops as well.

    Can’t guess the comedies, Mixology might be a disaster and Suburgatory will probably hit new lows. If they let go of The Neighbors maybe hey still decide to save Trophy Wife alongside The Goldbergs? They can’t cancel everything out of 12 freshmen shows!

  • cle

    ABC needs good procedurals and conspiracy Semi-serialized drama (like Scandal & Revenge(in first season)

  • Fred

    Nashville has returned to greatness last night. The plots were all intriguing , the music was wonderful as well. The music segments weren’t just random performances, each had deep meaning and worked with the storylines.
    Wondering why Connie Britton hasn’t been singing very much. Last season she was performing nearly every week. Most of the singing portions are performed by the supporting cast.
    Nashville should most definitely be renewed. Not a huge hit by any means, but a solid performer that needs to find a huge audience.

  • Ted Craig


    Thursdays at 8 would have put AOS in competition with TBBT and the NFL. That eats into the show’s key demos (nerds and dudes). If they wanted AOS to debut in the fall, Tuesday was the only night. The other option was doing a 24 and starting it on Mondays in January (replacing DWTS) and running it straight through.

  • Dan

    @Ted Craig – yes but that’s the point, Shield would have taken away from the demo and possibly lowered Big Bang. It just seemed odd having AOS on Tuesdays. No Ordinary Family was a superhero themed drama, same slot and that didn’t work a few years back. It doesn’t matter now, Shield is last seasons Nashville only doing better and my guess is without The Voice in Jan it may gain traction.

    @Cyrax86 – if ABC only renews a drama and a comedy it will be AOS and The Goldbergs. If they renew another comedy it’s Trophy Wife. I can’t see Mixology succeeding, my guess is that it gets a 1.8-2.2 out of Modern Family. Mixology seems very esoteric and not a long term series. Besides the two freshman comedies getting renewed I can see ABC renewing The Middle, Modern Family, Last Man Standing, and maybe Suburgatory.

  • Fred

    I’m really going to miss OUAT WONDERLAND. Can’t wait for tonights ep.
    This show is the most under rated show on ABC. Every fan of this genre should watch it. Any OUAT fan not watching it is missing great entertainment.

  • Abctruther

    BITG took the hit for 3 main reasons. No particular order.

    Not an ABC owned show. Better ratings but less profits.

    Both the characters on the show (and some of the viewing audience) were not deemed affluent enough.
    ABC (and most advertisers) don’t fancy “the poors”.

    ABC purchased an edgy pilot but then wanted a show in the vein of “The Middle”. Creative differences. Network wins.

  • a p garcia

    Because of this, I wonder what the IQ of ABC executives is. True BITG was far from a ratings getter its ratings were better than some series that got full season orders

  • Christian

    I just saw 3 commercials for the Revenge wedding — who shot emily? Are u gonna keep making excuses?

  • Rebooted


    America’s Funnies Home Videos
    Once Upon A Time
    Grey’s Anatomy
    NEW DRAMA (Family or Medical Drama)

    Dancing With the Stars

    Agents of SHIELD
    NEW DRAMA (Male-Oriented ‘Lost’ type drama)

    The Middle
    The Goldbergs (?)
    Modern Family
    NEW COMEDY (Family comedy with big names attached)
    NEW DRAMA (Revenge-ish type show)

    Revenge (final season)
    NEW DRAMA (Addicting Female Drama)

    Last Man Standing
    NEW COMEDY (Family Comedy)
    Shark Tank

  • greysfan


    As much as Scandal is doing great guns and glad it is, i doubt ABC will change its 9/10pm Thursday schedule. Its the reason it works so well. I could see ABC flipping the 2 around but i give that only a 25/75 chance. The other option is ABC move Scandal to 9pm on another night of the week but IMO ABC would be stupid to tinker with Thursdays after 9. Every single year we’ve seen it, not one show works at 8pm on ABC Thursday. WHY? Who knows. Castle won’t be moving either.

  • The Crazy One

    ABC just like it should

    8:00 – Dancing With the Stars (fall) / Wife Swap (mid)
    9:00 – Wipeout (midseason)
    10:00 – Nashville (24 ep.)

    8:00 – The Bachelor (fall) / The Bachelorette (midaseson)
    9:30 – Last Man Standing (Midaseason 15 ep.)
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA (13 ep. + backorder)

    8:00 – NEW DRAMA (12 ep. + backorder)
    9:00 – Agents of SHIELD (20 ep.)
    10:00 – Castle (24. ep)

    8:00 – Once Upon a Time (22 ep.)
    9:00 – Modern Family (22 ep)
    9:30 – NEW COMEDY (12 ep. + backorder) / The Goldbergs (13 ep. if backorder isn´t gave)
    10:00 – NEW DRAMA (12 ep. + backorder)

    8:00 – NEW COMEDY (12 ep.) / Suburgatory (15 ep.)
    8:30 – The Middle (24 ep.)
    9:00 – Grey’s Anatomy (20 ep.)
    10:00 – Scandal (25 ep.)

    8:00 – Shark Tank
    9:00 – Killer Woman (13 ep.) / Revenge (15 ep. with 5 season with 15ep. guaranteed)
    10:00 – 20/20

  • The Crazy One

    I had forgot , if ABC will have a new drama down 1,4 , they should gave + 13 ep. to Killer Woman and sent it to the slot where the fail series was .

    No new comedy or drama to premiere in midseason.

  • glenguti

    If Betrayal didn’t get any extra episodes ordered (only 13), then why isn’t that considered de facto canceled like Back In The Game? Ratings have been horrible for Betrayal, I can’t see them saving that show.

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