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

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

December 22nd, 2013


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


  • Hey

    I just don’t understand why Brooklyn nine-nine is in the cancellation predicted column. I’d move that up to at least on the bubble, and probably move Reign down to on the bubble. Just my thoughts.

  • Kate

    I really enjoy reading the pros/cons and odds of renewal. I hope we see one for the ABC shows soon!

  • Silent Hunter

    CSI, for its age, is also an ensemble show with no central character the show can’t do without – it has already written out three ‘leads’ and has another (Fox) at only 17 or so episodes a season. If the ratings (and the foreign sales) stay good, I would not be surprised to see it go as long as original L&O.

  • Simon

    I thought that Person of Interest had already gotten a syndication deal a few months back? Would you consider moving Revolution to ‘The Bubble’ if the ratings stay the same when it comes back in January?

  • Herb Finn

    With CRIMINAL MINDS, everyone has an option for next season EXCEPT for Matthew Gray Gubler and Jeanne Tripplehorn.

  • Hugo

    Honestly, all CBS dramas are likely to be renewed at this point, besides Hostages. CBS could premiere a new drama in Hostages timeslot next season and if they need another timeslot, they have options: cut 1 hour of comedies, hold Undercover Boss or a returning drama for midseason/summer. I don’t think Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods will get cancel before reaching the 100 episodes mark, The Good Wife is still CBS most prestigious show and The Mentalist has been doing a lot better in the ratings lately. Maybe 1 of them will get cancelled but 2 is very unlikely so that gives a 75% odd of renewal for all of them at this point.

  • joe

    The Good Wife is 100 percent coming back. You should know by now that they don’t care about that show when it comes to ratings. And the show will end when the writers think it’s time. The show is getting enormous buzz this season. You’ve got to be joking with 35 percent for that show? 100 percent back.

  • V

    Agreed GoodWife /Mentalist are most likely to go, nothing left for either show.
    The real question is what moves there?

    Elementary gets the biggest boost from DVR.
    CSI the oldest/expensive show.
    NCIS:LA likely moves to Mon 10pm.
    Intelligence, we have to wait.

  • Charmed

    Shouldn’t American Dad be in the renewed section? It is getting another season after all, just on TBS.

  • SJ

    I still think all CBS comedies, aside from HIMYM and the mid-season entries Friends with Better Lives and Bad Teacher, will return. Mike and Molly will likely get something like an 18-episode order and again be held back, Two and a Half Men could return to its old Monday 9pm time slot for one final season – which, I believe, CBS will announce as the final season in order to strengthen the ratings a bit.

    2 Broke Girls will be anchoring at 8pm while Mom will continue airing at 9:30. The 8pm hour on Thursday will remain the same, so that The Millers could possibly move to Mondays in Fall 2015 since both TaaHM and Mike and Molly are likely to be off the air by then (TaaHM is ancient and Mike and Molly will already have ~110 episodes by the end of season 5, which is likely how long the cast is contracted for, and I can’t imagine Melissa McCarthy wanting to renew her contract on the show given how her movie career has exploded). With two Chuck Lorre shows likely going off the air in Spring 2015, Mom’s syndication package is all but secured.

    Finally, The Crazy Ones moves to Thu @ 9:30 with a new single-cam anchor at 9pm (which CBS can premiere out of an hour-long Big Bang Theory).

    So this is how CBS’ comedy schedule could look like next fall:


    8pm – 2 Broke Girls
    8:30 – New Show (likely replaced by Mike & Molly by November if tradition is anything to go by)
    9pm – Two and a Half Men (final season)
    9:30 – Mom


    8pm – The Big Bang Theory
    8:30 – The Millers
    9pm – New Show (single-cam)
    9:30 The Crazy Ones

    I just don’t see CBS cutting comedy hours that fast and admitting defeat. Now if Mike & Molly and Men go off the air after next year and The Crazy Ones bottoms out – and the new comedies don’t take off, at least the one on Thursdays at 9 – then it might be time to think about freeing up some real estate for a drama in Fall 2015.

  • SJ

    As for the dramas, I can’t see Blue Bloods or Hawaii 5-0 going off the air until they reach 100 episodes. The Good Wife could also make it, if Intelligence falters and CBS only decides to premiere two dramas next fall and not three as they usually have (except this year, of course). Hostages and The Mentalist are the only sure goners at this point.

  • Lucas Melo


  • Valentin

    I just hope The Crazy Ones will hold steady and be renewed. But we don’t know. We’ll see!

  • Isobel

    Hostages and the mentalist are gone, but I think the good wife will stay

  • Julie

    The recent ratings of MOM and TCO are the same but TCO obviously gets a better lead-in!

  • Valentin

    @Julie, doesn’t mean anything at the end, last monday, it was up against almost nothing but got the same numbers. + CBS was pre-empted the last Thursdays with The Crazy Ones. But I love both shows. The Millers is not funny and is boring.

  • jimbo

    PLEASE GOD, cancell two and a half men! John Cryers whinning is making me gag!

  • Dan S

    I think both C1’s & 2.5 Men are thru after this season. Like MJF Robin Williams return to TV has been a ratings disappointment. Time will tell if CBS’s other single com Bad Teacher clicks with audiences. If not they’ll cutback 1 hr of comedies next season. If they do Mom is gone, if not it’ll be spared. I think Intelligence will succeed where Hostages failed. It’s success will hinge on whether TGW comes back. If Intelligence does fail then I think TGW is safe but Mentalist is gone either way. Both H50 & BB are safe for at least 1 more season.

  • CBSviewer

    @ SJ

    THE MILLERS will probably move away from The Big Bang Theory, CBS won’t move TWO AND A HALF MEN three years in a row and MOM will be canceled.

    8:00 – 2 Broke Girls
    8:30 – NEW COMEDY
    9:00 – Mike & Molly
    9:30 – NEW COMEDY

    8:00 – The Big Bang Theory
    8:30 – NEW COMEDY
    9:00 – The Crazy Ones
    9:30 – The Millers

  • DC

    I think 2.5 Men will be an interesting case to watch as the rest of the season unfolds. If its ending this year the announcement should be made in the next few weeks in order for the show to have a proper series finale. I expect there will be a lot of drama if CBS pulls the plug on the show otherwise.

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