Bubble Watch: A Look At NBC – Five Seasons and a Cancellation for ‘Community’?

Community -- Season 5

As we start off the new year and the networks slowly bring their schedules back online, I am continuing my network-by-network review. Next up, NBC, which brought back a show frequently mentioned around here…

Five Seasons and A Cancellation?

As a Milwaukeean, I have a soft spot in my heart for Community, as creator and once-and-future-showrunner Dan Harmon grew up here. (Danny Pudi also went to college at Marquette.) So it pains me to admit that the numbers for the season premiere were a mixed bag.

One on hand, both half hours rated higher than any of the NBC comedies have in months.

On the other hand, Community usually rates well after returning from a hiatus, then sinks to the average. Thursday’s numbers were barely above Parks and Rec‘s average to start with. In addition, it did nothing for the rest of the comedy block, as The Michael J. Fox Show and Sean Saves The World both recorded series lows.

I think Community’s fate depends on NBC’s scheduling next season. If NBC airs four comedies on Thursdays, then it makes a far more attractive spackle option than any of the freshmen comedies so far. If NBC drops to two comedies on Thursdays, or one of the midseason comedies catches on, then its run is probably over. At this point I think NBC likely drops down to two comedies until they get a hit (we’ll get some hints once we see how many comedy pilots NBC shoots), so I’ve put it in “Cancellation Predicted” for now.

Burn After Airing

ABC will likely soon disavow all knowledge of The Assets, as it recorded the worst in-season drama premiere rating on the Big 4 ever. While the mini-series was probably never intended to be a hit, and simply thrown under The Olympics for February sweeps, ratings this poor will probably lead to it being replaced by Scandal reruns before long.

The NBC Fall Summary

Chicago Fire

Pro: Ratings well above the network average.

Con: Frankly hasn’t seen much long-term growth paired with The Voice.

Odds of renewal: 99%


Pro: The NBC average has dropped enough that Revolution isn’t doing much worse than it. If NBC has no spring drama successes, a renewal is probably better than rolling the dice yet again.

Con: The show is still below average. As a second year show, the renewal would essentially be for 46 episodes, which is a big bet for a show doing this mediocrely this early on. NBC can create two drama “successes” a year from whatever airs after The Voice – will NBC have room for this in the 15/16 season?

Odds of renewal: 41%

Law & Order: SVU

Pro: Ratings above the network average. Most of the long-term cast has been let go to make way for cheaper, newer cast members. Syndication money.

Con: Extremely old. If Chicago Fire and PD both catch on, NBC might consider Dick Wolf covered.

Odds of renewal: 85%


Pro: With syndication money, good spackle option.

Con: Not a hit. Not well loved by the network. NBC may have less comedy hours next season.

Odds of renewal: 40%

Parks and Recreation

Pro: Better ratings than the other Fall comedies. Syndication money. As a solely Universal production, the best spackle option on the table. Losing some (of the most expensive) cast members.

Con: Not a hit. If NBC drops to two comedies on Thursdays, NBC might just roll the dice with four new comedy orders.

Odds of renewal: 90%

The Michael J. Fox Show

Pro: The Michael J. Fox name.

Con: NBC’s biggest disappointment of the year.

Odds of renewal: 1%

Sean Saves the World

Con: The ratings are terrible. Given a partial backorder.

Odds of renewal: 0%


Pro: The most critically acclaimed drama on the network. Syndication money.

Con: The ratings are below average. Already over 88 episodes. Probably loses a head-to-head fight with Revolution for renewal. Large cast.

Odds of renewal: 30%


Pro: Needs a fourth season for syndication.

Odds of renewal: 100%


Pro: The ratings aren’t terrible for NBC, for Friday, for 10pm. The international co-production could be cheap enough for NBC to air again.

Con: The ratings are still pretty bad. Rumored production problems. It seems like NBC has more international co-productions than they have room to air them.

Odds of renewal: 25%

The Blacklist

Already renewed.

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 Finished
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
Community NBC 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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