With so many shows already renewed well in advance of May, the bubble seems much smaller this year than in years past.   Leaving out shows that will obviously be renewed (Like NCIS, House and Grey’s Anatomy) whether there’s been an official announcement or not and shows that will  certainly be canceled, as well as any shows that haven’t aired yet, here are the scripted shows with their fates still undecided:


  • Castle
  • Flash Forward
  • V

Though I think Castle will certainly be renewed it’s here only because it’s not performing well above ABC’s average and it hasn’t been given an early renewal (yet).  What happened in the past with Flash Forward and V isn’t likely to matter nearly as much as how they do in the future.


Excluding the Friday shows, which technically could all be on the bubble with Numb3rs the most bubble-icious of all and sadly for me, because it’s the only CBS Friday show I actually watch.   There’s also Miami MedicalNumb3rs which hasn’t aired yet, which will soon take time slot.  But other than that, there’s just the handful of  sitcoms with their fates waiting to be determined:

  • Accidentally On Purpose
  • Gary Unmarried
  • New Adventures of Old Christine
  • Rules of Engagement

I don’t see all four of them coming back, but three out of four wouldn’t shock me.  On the other hand only keeping one out of the four wouldn’t surprise me a lot either.   Not renewing any of them would surprise me.


  • 24
  • Human Target
  • Lie to Me

That’s it, that’s the list.

In its own special category is ‘Til Death.  It’s had a stake put through its ratings heart,  and been shot with multiple silver bullets and yet still manages to come back again and again.   Unless there’s an open casket funeral,  it’s unwise to declare it dead.


  • Chuck
  • Heroes
  • Parenthood

If Parenthood doesn’t wind up coming back, that  will be perceived as another big fail for NBC.    But it’s only aired one episode as I write this so it’s way too early to tell.

I know Mercy and Trauma fans will not be happy to be excluded.  Perhaps it will turn out I’m wrong, but I see those shows as merely playing out the string this year, with no legitimate shot of returning next year.  Feel free to disagree!


  • Life Unexpected
  • One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is really only there because no renewal has been announced yet, but the ratings trend for Life Unexpected (plus now losing the Wednesday rerun and having to air against House) make it the CW’s only legitimate bubble show.

Melrose Place is not on the bubble.  It’s sure to be canceled without divine intervention.  Divine intervention can happen (see Dollhouse last season) but if that’s its only hope, it’s not a bubble show.  Bubble shows can go either way, even without divine intervention.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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