Bubble Watch: Will Broncos Fans Celebrate Like 'Bones' Fans?; Should 'Following' Fans Fret?

Categories: Bubble Watch

Written By

February 1st, 2014


This week’s notable data points:

Last week, I said The Following‘s strong showing after the NFC Championship game had me reconsidering the Smash-esque ratings arc I had predicted for the second season. Then the show dropped to a series low this week – and that’s before The Voice rumbles back into the picture. Given all the strangeness at Fox (we’ve already had the first hiccup with Fox’s new process, as there are issues with The Middle Man), I’m not downgrading the show yet – but the situation bears watching.

The larger point, that we don’t have any history on how to judge broadcast limited series, bears emphasizing. It’s unlikely many, possibly any, shows putting out ~15 episodes a year will hit the “standard” syndication number (88) before they are cancelled. Will that lead to limited series having a shorter leash than usual, as the networks need to cut their losses as quickly as possible, or will greater international sales buy them extra time?

Bones was renewed, and will move back to Mondays at 8 once Almost Human ends its run in March. It is ironic that after years of Fox threatening to move Bones to Fridays, they finally go through with it, only to announce the move back after half a dozen episodes. I think the move this year was legitimate – Fox both thought Almost Human might succeed and wanted to see how Bones would do on Fridays, and I would not be surprised in the least if Bones starts off the year on Fridays next season.

Almost Human, in no surprise, did not receive a backorder. While it has done better in recent weeks, that’s a ‘better’ that’s only against weaker competition. I’m not going to declare it “de facto canceled” due to the previously mentioned weirdness at Fox, but as previously covered, the odds of Fall shows that end early surviving are extremely low.

Sean Saves The World was canceled this week. The show’s been a dead show walking since episode two or so, and NBC replacing it after The Olympics are over makes perfect sense. Frankly, I hadn’t been watching the episode count that carefully – I had assumed the backorder was just to get it to this week to begin with, and I’m not sure why NBC ordered more than that.


Tom’s NFL Round-Up

I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty terrible when it comes to responding to comments for these posts. The reason is simple – these articles post on Sundays, and Sundays for me have long been reserved for watching NFL games. So forgive me for this week’s NFL-flavored bits:

Location, Location, Location – Except in the NFL

One of the most interesting aspects to this NFL season was watching the historically weak Western divisions continue their resurgence. Not only did the NFC and AFC West end up with the first playoff seeds, (Seattle and Denver, who both advanced to the Super Bowl), but the two divisions also picked up 3 out of the 4 Wild Card slots (the Arizona Cardinals were the runner up for that fourth Wild Card, as well).

Those worried that such a geographically limited Super Bowl would affect ratings shouldn’t be – in recent years the Super Bowl has been essentially match-up proof, on a generally upward trend regardless of the teams involved. The 2011 Super Bowl, for instance, featuring demographically small Pittsburgh and Green Bay/Milwaukee, was still the second most watched Super Bowl. This year’s matchup between the #1 offense in Denver and the #1 defense in Seattle should well be in the running for most watched program ever.

Expanding – or Watering Down – The Field?

Speaking of the Arizona Cardinals missing the playoffs, there’s been increased talk (up to near acknowledgment) that the NFL is considering expanding the playoff field, adding an additional Wild Card team and game to each conference. Whether that expansion is good in any sense other than financial is another story. Taking a look at the records those additional Wild Card teams would have had since the current eight division organization was established in 2002, 25% of the time those games would have featured an 8-8 team, 46% a 9-7 team, 25% a 10-6 team, and 4% an 11-5 team. It’s tough to argue that many of those 8-8 or 9-7 teams “deserved” a shot at the playoffs - some of those Wild Cards would have been decided on tiebreakers between three or even four teams with identical overall records to begin with.

On the other hand, as I just said, some of those Wild Cards were decided on tiebreakers between three or four teams. The final few games for those teams, and more, would have suddenly become much more relevant (and likely viewed). Much more importantly, there would be two more playoff games in that first playoff weekend. If those extra games end up being scheduled on Monday or Friday in primetime, that could be a huge bonus to their networks. (My personal opinion is to have back-to-back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 1 PM Eastern, and have ~35 hours of pure football madness.)

Tom Fixes the NFL

Frankly, the NFL could improve in a number of areas by making one tweak: Adding a second bye week. Eliminate the fourth pre-season game, and start the regular season one week earlier. Schedule the second bye before each team’s Thursday Night Football game so that every team playing in them has ~10 days of preparation on each side of the game to create a premiere matchup.

The end result? Players get an extra week of rest in the season, the networks get an extra week of ad revenue, and the NFL gets Thursday Night Games that aren’t complete afterthoughts. The only “downside” is that the owners get half a game less of pre-season football they charge season ticket holders full price for. I think that’s a fair trade-off.


There’s a lot of ways the Seattle Seahawks could win. The weather could be windier than expected, favoring their run game; their stout defense could hold the Denver Broncos to field goals in the red zone while a couple bombs to Percy Harvin result in touchdowns; the referees could be lax on calling pass interference, allowing them to mug Manning’s receivers. But I don’t think any of those cases are likely, so I am going with Denver 27 – Seattle 21.


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
Sean Saves The World NBC Canceled
Welcome To The Family NBC Canceled
Betrayal 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
Suburgatory ABC Cancellation Predicted
Super Fun Night ABC Cancellation Predicted
Trophy Wife ABC Cancellation Predicted
The Good Wife CBS Cancellation Predicted
Hostages CBS Cancellation Predicted
Intellignce 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
Dads Fox Cancellation Predicted
Enlisted Fox Cancellation Predicted
The Mindy Project Fox Cancellation Predicted
Raising Hope Fox Cancellation Predicted
Rake 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
The Crazy Ones CBS On The Bubble
Mom CBS On The Bubble
Two and a Half Men CBS On The Bubble
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox On The Bubble
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC Renewal Predicted
Castle ABC Renewal Predicted
The Goldbergs 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
Family Guy Fox Renewal Predicted
The Following 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
Bones Fox Renewed
Glee Fox Renewed
The Simpsons Fox Renewed
Sleepy Hollow Fox Renewed
The Blacklist NBC Renewed


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  • Sel

    I need Suburgatory in my life! Pleace ABC don’t throw it into the bear’s saucepan.

  • Hardline_Pro

    The Following should definitely be On The Bubble.

  • Tom

    The Following might have been more appealing if the producers had offered viewers closure at the end of last season. Instead, they decided to continue last season’s storyline. Viewers aren’t being offered anything new. Some supporting characters have changed, but the plot will follow the same formula as last season. So, I expect the show’s ratings to decline as viewers become bored.

  • Brad

    AH is dead dead dead. It received no back order and was no way a “limited series” like its’ fans now want you to believe.

  • maria

    All of Wolfs shows will be renewed.
    They are bread and butter shows,not cake.
    Hannibal is cake,but you cant live on cake alone.

  • Percysowner

    Just for my own information where is this unshakable faith in The 100 coming from? It hasn’t aired one episode. We have no ratings information. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like the kind of show I like and I root for CW shows in general because right now they are doing genre shows and I like those. But really why is there such hope for a show that the CW didn’t like enough to start in the fall? I just don’t know where this idea comes from.

  • Ally Oop

    I hate seeing Revolution on the cancellation predicted column. I hope the ratings will improve. I still think its a bubble show though, along with Reign, which I also like.

  • Carmen

    @ JSG

    I have to agree with you. Using Pittsburg and Green Bay as an example of how smaller market teams can draw huge (Super Bowl) audiences is a poor example.
    I thought the same thing about the ‘storied franchise’ factor.

  • Jazz

    I think Nashville and Trophy Wife have a chance, a very small chance.

    I think Community and Revolution have a very slight chance. Slight.

    Tomorrow People has improved but I don’t know what CW’s standards are. It’s the only show I watch on their network.

    Regarding The 100. That was another I previewed at Comic Con. Very strong pilot. Worth a looksee.

    Oh, we have to do math now to submit a comment. Glad I got an easy problem.

  • feinn

    FOX has Superbowl to promote Monday lineup, will Almost Human get day after boost? Makes stuff more interesting

  • tvwatcher

    Keeping my fingers and toes very tightly crossed for Almost Human and The Mentalist. I love Dorian – I hope he survives. And Jane and the gang too.

  • Michael1

    It’s not that more 9-7 teams “deserve” to make the play-offs, it’s that the NFL deserves, from a ratings perspective, to have 6 games during wild-card weekend, rather than just 4. They could easily schedule games for 11:30 am, 3 pm, and 6:30 pm kickoffs on Sunday, and maybe a little later on Saturday, and it’s not like the games don’t currently overlap. And, just include the broadcast rights of the additional games in with the Thursday Night Football package. Football was made for television. Or is it the other way around?

  • Erica

    Yep, still missing the old Bubble Watch.

  • Isobel

    I think the good wife, community and Brooklyn 99 will get renewed

  • joel

    It’s a Bear Dance!

  • joel

    (It’s not made up. It’s not made up.)

  • elie


    ok, so you kinda proved my point by trying to discredit it. You think Parenthood has a fighting chance (and i agree too, i just picked another one), and yet it’s put in the same boat than clearly dead shows.

    Yes, it’s the same categories, but the bubble section is barely used this year, and i don’t believe everything is this clear-cut.

  • Ricardo

    For someone with so few shows on the bubble, it’s weird you have a sure thing there (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”).

    And you’re wrong about “The Good Wife”. Sorry.

  • Nikki

    I don’t know why everyone thinks Parenthood won’t get a final season.. its a strong performing show for 4 years and even though this season isn’t great ratings wise its still got a loyal fan base and does well in Dvr viewing. I really hope they consider all those things and renew it for 15 episodes.

  • Chris J

    Parenthood, Community, and Hannibal will more than likely be renewed to appease the fans.

    But I don’t expect to see any of these shows on NBC’s 2014/2015 schedule. All of three will likely end up being midseason spackle or pushed to summer.

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