Bubble Watch: Lumps Of Coal for ‘The Good Wife,’ ‘The Mentalist,’ ‘Mom’ And (Finally) ‘Two and a Half Men’? + Fox’s ‘X-Factor’


As we get deep into December and reruns and specials dominate, I am continuing my network-by-network review. Next up, CBS, which made some scheduling announcements of their own. But first…

Fox’s real scheduling X-Factor

While we don’t talk about reality shows much at tvbythenumbers (their financials are even more opaque than scripted shows, making informed predictions nearly impossible), how much time they fill on the schedule obviously has an enormous impact on how much room is left for struggling shows at the end of the season.

Fox’s The X-Factor finished its third season this week; the show has become a significant disappointment, at least on the rating and musical career fronts. (It could still be profitable – again, we just don’t know.)

Yet I still think the show comes back next year. Fox could replace it with three hours of other reality programming, but it would be tough – they’d either have to skip the summer edition of So You Think You Can Dance or go with back-to-back seasons, AND air multiple Gordon Ramsey hours in the Fall. The more likely outcome is that The X-Factor comes back, but at a reduced number of hours per week.

So why haven’t we heard from Fox? That’s because the real x-factor in Fox’s 14/15 schedule is… American Idol. If AI does poorly, then Fox might shrink both shows down to 1.5 – 2 hours a week. If AI does disastrously, then Fox might scrap both shows. If AI does well, then who knows.

At this point, I think American Idol does well enough that both singing competitions come back for ~2 hours next season, leaving one extra hour open compared to this season (probably for a drama).

Meeting the Mother… in March

This week, CBS announced that it scheduled the finale for How I Met Your Mother in March, with 2 Broke Girls taking over the slot afterward. Normally, you would expect the series finale of a successful show in May sweeps. However, I think this is something we’ve already covered – CBS will only have one real comedy anchor next year for up to four comedy hours, and appears willing to take the May ratings hit to find out if 2 Broke Girls can function as an anchor at 8pm (the 9pm results were underwhelming). If 2 Broke Girls can’t, then CBS has some hard choices ahead of them.

One option is to cut down the number of comedy hours they air next year. Going back down to three hours would both minimize the damage their lack of anchors is causing and give CBS a decent time slot to try a new drama. Obviously, the odds for shows like The Crazy Ones would drop dramatically with only six comedy slots.

The CBS Fall Summary

2 Broke Girls

Pro: Needs a fourth season for syndication.

Odds of renewal: 100%

Mike & Molly

Pro: The Chuck Lorre name. Additional syndication revenue. CBS has Melissa McCarthy under contract (though her TV appeal seems limited).

Con: The ratings are now no better than the rest of the 9pm comedies.

Odds of renewal: 95%


Pro: The Chuck Lorre name (and CBS’ likely unwillingness to end two Chuck Lorre shows at once). The ratings aren’t that far off the rest of the 9pm comedies.

Con: The worst rated CBS comedy.

Odds of renewal: 40%


Con: The ratings are abysmal, entering The CW territory.

Odds of renewal: 0%


Pro: Still CBS’ top rated drama.

Con: The show is over a decade old.

Odds of renewal: 100%


Pro: One of CBS’ top rated dramas.

Con: Never exploded like the mothership, will soon lose the cushy timeslot.

Odds of renewal: 99%

Person of Interest

Pro: Needs a fourth season for syndication.

Odds of renewal: 100%

Criminal Minds

Pro: One of CBS’ top rated dramas.

Con: Getting older, and while the show may be back, I wouldn’t make any bets on individual cast members coming back.

Odds of renewal: 99%


Pro: Still has yet to start down the modern CBS Sunday/Friday retirement tour.

Con: Clinton was in office when the show started – Bill Clinton. Eventually rising costs will sink it. How much does it drop if moved to Sundays?

Odds of renewal: 95%

The Big Bang Theory

Pro: The highest rated show on network TV.

Odds of renewal: 100%

The Millers

Pro: Due to the lead-in, the third-highest rated CBS comedy. The Greg Garcia name.

Con: Did no better without The Big Bang Theory lead-in than the 9pm comedies.

Odds of renewal: 95%

The Crazy Ones

Pro: The names involved in front of and behind the camera.

Con: Despite those names, the show has sunk to no better than the other 9pm options. Not owned by CBS, which raises questions about how willing everyone involved will be to drag this three more seasons for syndication. The single-cam man out on the network. How many comedy hours does CBS schedule next season?

Odds of renewal: 41%

Two and a Half Men

Pro: The Chuck Lorre name. Given the choice between a show in syndication and a show that will only get to syndication kicking and screaming (Mom), it probably wins. CBS might try moving it back to Mondays at 9pm, if no anchors appear.

Con: The cast salaries are now absurdly out of line with the ratings. How many comedy hours does CBS schedule next season? Given how soft Thursdays @ 9:30 is now, is there any reason to suspect Two and a Half Men will do better elsewhere?

Odds of renewal: 42%


Pro: Has yet to start down the Sunday/Friday retirement tour. Only needs two seasons for syndication. CBS rarely cuts their losses once a show is this close to syndication.

Con: Underwhelming ratings, even for 10pm.

Odds of renewal: 90%

Hawaii Five-0

Pro: Generating syndication money while costs haven’t risen too high. The ratings are okay for Fridays.

Con: The ratings aren’t great by any means.

Odds of renewal: 90%

Blue Bloods

Pro: Generating syndication money while costs haven’t risen too high. CBS may not want to promote 5+ hours of new shows next season.

Con: The ratings are not good. Blue Bloods is closing in on Hostages territory in recent weeks. Given the critical acclaim of The Good Wife, CBS may be more willing to give that show another season over Blue Bloods if deciding between the two.

Odds of renewal: 60%

The Good Wife

Pro: Critical acclaim.

Con: The ratings are not good. It has hit as low as 1.2 this season; its high was merely 1.7, which it only hit once.

Odds of renewal: 35%

The Mentalist

Pro: Actually has a slightly higher average this season than The Good Wife, despite airing at 10pm. If the Friday shows continue to sink, CBS could cancel one of those and move The Mentalist to Fridays instead.

Con: The ratings are not good. Not owned by CBS.

Odds of renewal: 30%

Scheduling note:  Bubble Watch is taking the week off for the holidays. It will return on January 5th.

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
Beauty & The Beast CW Cancellation Predicted
The Carrie Diaries CW Cancellation Predicted
The Tomorrow People 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
Mom CBS On The Bubble
Two and a Half Men CBS 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
Reign 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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