Bubble Watch: ABC Deep Dive + 'Intelligence,' 'Chicago PD,' 'Enlisted' & More

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

January 12th, 2014


As the networks slowly bring their schedules back online, I am concluding my network-by-network review with ABC, whose Spring isn’t starting off any better than its Fall…

Wanted, Dead or… No, Just Dead

Killer Women must have always been considered a long shot by ABC (hence the short 8 episode order and opposite-The Olympics-scheduling); Killer Women lived down to ABC’s expectations by recording a sub-Lucky 7 premiere rating. Being replaced by Scandal reruns after the next airing is still on the table, because…

The Assets dropped another tenth in its second week and was promptly pulled off the schedule, replaced by Shark Tank reruns. Turns out you can cancel a miniseries… when your “miniseries” is a BBC series picked up on the cheap to throw under The Olympics. Whether Shark Tank reruns were used because ABC thought an all-reality night was a better plan or because they needed to keep the Scandal reruns in reserve for Tuesdays should be revealed soon.


This week’s premieres and other notable data points:

Sticking to Plan

After weeks of suspiciously timeslot-less promos for Crisis, Believe, etc., NBC finally confirmed that they were keeping the original scheduling for their midseason shows. This wasn’t an empty question – there’s still no word on what will replace Sean Saves The World in March, for example. In the end, NBC likely figured The Voice lead-in against increasingly soft Tuesday comedy competition was the safer plan to try and get some comedic success this season.

Intelligence premiered with ratings in-line with NCIS: LA’s in the timeslot. I’ve left it “On The Bubble” until I see at least one week of ratings in its regular timeslot.

Killer Women, as mentioned above, started off terribly. If it runs through all its episodes, it will only be due to The Olympics.

Chicago PD premiered with ratings equal to what the mothership did this week. While almost all shows drop from their premieres, I doubt Chicago PD drops the 30+% it would take to rival Parenthood and Revolution, so I’ve started it in “Renewal Predicted”, for now.

Parks and Recreation hit a season high in its new/old timeslot. Then again, every Thursday show on CBS and NBC rose this week, on a night free of football and singing competitions… except Parenthood. (Even then, Parenthood can’t improve.)

Enlisted premiered terribly, a tenth behind Raising Hope’s already dire ratings. While I cringe every time I see an internet commenter post “Network X wanted that show to die!” – no network head intentionally throws away millions in product – it’s difficult to imagine Fox not foreseeing these ratings, given how terribly Raising Hope has been performing. Fox could have at least swapped the two comedies. (Then again, for all we know, there are makegood triggers Fox is trying to avoid by keeping Raising Hope at 9pm.)

The ABC Fall Summary


Pro: Ratings still above the network average. Syndication money.

Con: Some doubt as to how long the leads will want to continue on the show.

Odds of renewal: 95%

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Pro: Ratings are still above average, and far too many branches of Disney are too invested not to give this another chance.

Con: The ratings are a significant disappointment, given executive hopes.

Odds of renewal: 90%

The Goldbergs

Pro: The closest thing ABC has to a successful comedy this year. Ratings aren’t that far below the network average. Moves into the pole position for Friday 8:30 comedy.

Con: The ratings are struggling to get out of the mid 1s, and the show is unlikely to get to syndication. Uncertain if ABC will keep either the Tuesday or Friday comedy hours. Not owned by ABC.

Odds of renewal: 49%

Trophy Wife

Pro: Critical acclaim.

Con: Terrible ratings.

Odds of renewal: 1%

Killer Women

Con: Terrible ratings. Short order. Scheduled opposite The Olympics.

Odds of renewal: 0%

The Middle

Pro: Above average ratings. Syndication money.

Odds of renewal: 99%

Modern Family

Pro: The highest rated show on the network.

Odds of renewal: 100%

Super Fun Night

Con: Mediocre ratings. Partial backorder. Early end date.

Odds of renewal: 2%


Pro: Could be used in perennial trouble spots Tuesday and then Sunday at 10pm until it reaches syndication numbers. Frankly, ABC has too many other holes to fill to write off another hour on the schedule. Ratings aren’t terrible for a 10pm show.

Con: Ratings are still well below average. As a second year show, the renewal is essentially for 45 episodes. The average number of songs per episode has dropped significantly, indicating those alternate revenue streams aren’t worth much. Did not get an Olympics hiatus, so we will see just how far this can drop.

Odds of renewal: 45%

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Con: Fantastically bad ratings.

Odds of renewal: 0%

Grey’s Anatomy

Pro: Ratings well above the network average. Continues to swap out cast members for cheaper replacements.

Con: One of the oldest shows on network TV.

Odds of renewal: 99%


Pro: ABC’s #1 rated drama.

Odds of renewal: 100%

Last Man Standing

Pro: Needs a fourth season for syndication. Doing reasonably well for Fridays.

Con: Not owned by ABC. ABC could likely do just as well for less with reality programming.

Odds of renewal: 85% (on ABC. 100% on ABC or some Fox-owned Network.)

The Neighbors

Con: Sub-mediocre ratings.

Odds of renewal: 2%

Once Upon a Time

Pro: Needs a fourth season for syndication.

Odds of renewal: 100%


Pro: Needs a fourth season for syndication.

Con: None. And I’m serious – even Nikita got a limited fourth season. Revenge is not a Nikita-level disaster. It’s going to get a fourth season, even if it doesn’t premiere until January 2015.

Odds of renewal: 100%


Con: Terrible ratings.

Odds of renewal: 0%

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
Killer Women 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
Enlisted 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
Intelligence 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
Chicago PD 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


  • James

    I believe the leads on Castle are both under contract for one more season. I’d expect to see Nathan Fillion pull the plug after the 7th Season to do other projects. ABC is really promoting The Goldbergs. If it’s ratings stay the same I could see them giving it a second season to see if it can pick up steam in a different timeslot (why they aren’t running it after The Middle is anyone’s guess.

  • Chris J

    Community has a better ratings average than Parks, Community is doing better in the 8pm time slot than Parks did, yet Parks is “Renewal Predicted” and Community is “Cancellation Predicted”…

    Yes I know, Parks is owned by Universal, but there’s no reason both shows shouldn’t at least be “On the Bubble”.

  • Chris J

    Also NBC renewed 5 dramas with full 22 episode seasons last year.

    If they do the same this year that means either Revolution or Parenthood have a chance at renewal.

    One or both of those shows should be “On The Bubble” until the premier of Crisis, and Believe.

    Of course it’s possible NBC replaces a drama hour with another reality hour, but I think it’s more like we’ll see a reality hour replace a comedy hour.

    Lastly NBC can only successfully promote a few new shows very season. That means a certain number of veteran shows have to be renewed

  • k:Alex

    No, Sunday after Dancing is a Drama, no New Drama.
    They can place it their or move it when a new show flops (and if you look at the scrips for new shows, ABC will be the first one to cancel something next season).

  • Michael

    @Lily I don’t see the same complaint against NBC (Dick Wolf Productions has L&O SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD) or CBS (Jerry Bruckheimer: from 2004, beginning of CSI: NY, to 2009, end of Without a Trace, Bruckheimer had six hit television shows on the CBS – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Cold Case, Without a Trace and The Amazing Race).  These types of development deals are quite common for content producers that make shows that resonates with a network’s viewers. The presumption is that if they did it once, they can do it again. The data shows that in these cases, they were right. That’s not insulting to the viewers. If anything, it is giving viewers what they want.

  • Dan S

    I dont think I know Goldbergs will be renewed. Why is this sight so pessimistic about its future ? Granted About a Boy could initially take a bite out of it. It’s absolutely ridiculous to have ABC, NBC & Fox all pitting comedies against each other at 9pm on Tues. When Goldbergs does get renewed I’m certain it’ll finally get moved to Wed where it’ll thrive. Another show I know will be back is Brooklyn 9-9. Why would Fox put this after the SB then turn around and cancel it ? It’s been holding its own at 8:30 & presumably will do better at 9:30pm after NG.

  • Fred

    ABC Fall 2014:


    7:00 AFHV
    8:00 OUAT
    9:00 Various Disney movies, Live Productions,Specials etc…. The possibilities are endless.
    2 hours . Just might be more competitive against hot cable series and the NFL.


    8:00 DWTS
    2 Hours
    10:00 Castle


    8:00 MAOS- retooled
    9:00 New Action/Adventure- might work better than sitcoms have been performing .
    10:00 Revenge-that should fix this slot


    8:00 Middle
    8:30 GoldBergs-if canceled, LMS
    9:00 MF
    9:30 Trophy Wife- if canceled , New sitcom
    10:00 Nashville-would love to move this but can’t find a slot at the moment .


    8:00 Shark Tank- should perform OK here.
    9:00 Grey’s
    10:00 Scandal


    8:00 LMS- if GoldBergs canceled shift LMS after Middle
    and air a New sitcom here.
    8:30 New sitcom
    9:00 Shark Tank- may need some new panelists if current panel can’t commit to another hour.
    10:00 20/20

  • RESI

    The thing with ABC is, is that they have some good established shows (Castle, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Revenge, Modern Family, Once Upon a time) but they don’t seem to be using these to their advantage.

    First of, Wonderland was going to die on Thursday against big bang, I mean a new show against a show that gets at least 5’s? That’s just idiotic. Even though the show is lame, it should of been put somewhere so much better, maybe stick it with Once Upon a time.

    Revenge and OUAT need breaking up. They are both doing fine and both are guaranteed to be back next year, so what’s the point having two very good established shows together when one of them could lift a new show.

    SHIELD is on a rollercoaster ride. Hopefully now the story has picked up, it will get better and the viewers will most certainly increase around march/april due to captain America’s release and then onwards as many superhero movies are released.

    Everything else that’s new I have no clue. The numbers are pretty crap or just average. But the goldbergs seems to have more chance than most things and ABC needs to renew more than one or two new shows, otherwise they’ve just wasted a LOT of money.

  • RESI


    Actually your sunday idea is very good. But, have the Disney movies on before OUAT would make it rise a lot. Then, as it’s Disney movies, they don’t cost anything and guaranteed a lot of viewers.

    Revenge is also placed better as on sunday it’s wasted as it’s doing fine. It needs to go and help another slot. Sundays are doing ok at the moment but either OUAT or revenge need moving as they can help out new shows.

    Where is SHIELD? That would come back over trophy wife.

  • RESI

    Revolution shouldn’t be predicted to be cancelled. A 1.5 is good for it

  • Percysowner

    @Resi Where is SHIELD? That would come back over trophy wife.

    He has it at 8:00 on Tuesday. He just used the acronym MAOS instead of Shield.

  • JJF

    Fred’s schedule is actually pretty good although I don’t see them giving Shark Tank 2 slots a week of new episodes. I also don’t see ABC premiering only 1 new drama, especially if it’s an action drama. They’ll do at least 2. (Premiering only 2 comedies though is a smarter idea given how the comedy overload this seasons seems to have flopped across all networks.) I think their best bet would probably be to put Grey’s on at 8, Scandal at 9, and a new compatible drama at 10.

    Otherwise, I think this is a smart scheduling one and actually not too farfetched given the minimal legitimate changes.

    Only thing I’d change is that LMS is probably not moving regardless of The Goldbergs. It does well enough for Friday and a new sitcom has a better shot on Wednesday than it would paired with another new sitcom for Friday.

  • Tim


    Youre posts are making me laugh! Super Fun Night has actually rated miles better than Trophy Wife or The Neighbors so I wouldn’t call it a “zombie show”. ABC will not renew the Neighbors im sorry (and Im a fan of he show)

  • Fred


    Thanks for your comment .
    Truth is anything we come up with wont get ABC out of 4th place; with virtually no sports or a monster unscripted show.
    MF isn’t what it used to be. Still a mega hit though .
    Scandal is a 10:00 monster but ABC needs more than one of these.
    DWTS is very impressive overall but skews way too old.
    Shark Tank is probably among most profitable of ABC shows but not the monster ABC needs.
    Bachelor – ditto

    Grey’s ( very impressive considering age) Castle(so consistent) Middle (epitome of an over achieving underdog) and OUAT ( bruised but still formidable) are modest hits . But ABC needs monster hits.
    GoldBergs, Revenge and Nashville are decent performers cosidering competition and 10:00 low expectations respectively. But again these aren’t going to help ABC climb up out of the cellar .

  • Ray

    Here’s what ABC needs to do next season.

    ABC Fall 2014:

    8:00 — Dancing with the Stars
    10:00 – Nashville / New Drama

    8:00 — Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    9:00 — New Male Drama
    10:00 – Castle

    8:00 — The Middle
    8:30 — The Goldbergs
    9:00 — Modern Family
    9:30 — Suburgatory / New Comedy
    10:00 – Revenge

    8:00 — Grey’s Anatomy
    9:00 — New Drama
    10:00 – Scandal

    8:00 — Last Man Standing
    8:30 — New Comedy
    9:00 — Shark Tank
    10:00 – 20/20

    7:00 — America’s Funniest Home Videos
    8:00 — Once Upon a Time
    9:00 — Movie / Reality Programming

  • MaximeFrance

    ABC has done nothing but poor decisions with their comedies those last two years. Even before. Happy Endings never should have left the ModernFamily area and now they could have a nice and solid block with those two and The Godlbergs ( + Trophy Wife, we’ve seen worse a show… ).

    Enlisted was awful. Sorry. Is it a new “model” for a show to have a lost guy joining a group of underdogs to make them appreciate their own value? Community and Go On tried it, only one survived ( not helped by its network), so… because you’re ABC doesnt mean you’ll do it better.

    As for The Neighbors…I guess I’m one of those who hated the first 3 episodes and then fell in love with it.

  • MeAndMrsJones


    What the heck is a “male drama”?

  • NowIcanPost

    ABC shows are mediocre, even Scandal which I found too soapy.

  • Jerry

    I really hope Revenge can get a 4th (and final) season so that the writers can really tie up the storylines and deliver a satisfying ending.

    But right now, ABC is in trouble with their shows. The last time they were successful with shows is the season with OUAT, Revenge, Surburgatory and Scandal (which got thisclose to getting cancelled!), though I have to say GCB is really unlucky to be caught in that 2012 spring. If it had debuted this fall or even last fall, it would be renewed with those numbers. For two years running, they can only get Nashville and SHIELD. Besides SHIELD, the highest drama premiere they can muster is a 1.7 for OUAT in wonderland! With SHIELD going up against The Voice again, it may very well slip into cancellation territory by the renewal season.

    If I were ABC I would go on a witch hunt to pull out all the stops to find the next hits, maybe do something crazy like the season where they used 80% of the budget on Desperate Housewives and LOST. And renew all veteran shows including Nashville and Revenge.

  • Joe 12-Pack

    “While I cringe every time I see an internet commenter post ‘Network X wanted that show to die!’ – no network head intentionally throws away millions in produc…”

    You seem to miss the point. Network heads are trying to predict what millions of people are going to like. Often times they are dead wrong. And sometimes, they do not realize they are wrong until the very end. In order to save face – or their job – I can certainly see a network head just wanting a flop to go away before anyone notices it.

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