I read your stupid “bubble watch”. I don’t see how you don’t have Fringe as “certain to be renewed” since that’s sure to happen in any universe. It should at least be “likely to be renewed” because it is. But no, in your retarded universe it’s “likely to be canceled.” There is no basis to be so certain Fringe will be canceled, it is the best show currently on television!

Ft. Worth, Tx

Dear K (Ray Zee):

As ever, analysis of ratings has nothing to do with how good anyone thinks a show is, but rather how good a show’s ratings are. Lots of shows I like (including Fringe) have mediocre to bad ratings. Sadly, that I like Fringe doesn’t make its ratings any better.

Fringe is not certain to be renewed in this universe, but you’re very confused about the designations. I’d agree there is not currently any basis to be “so certain” Fringe will be canceled. Of course, “likely to be canceled” is not a certain prediction (thus “likely” rather than “certain”!).

Though your e-mail was a bit over the top, you’re definitely not alone in misunderstanding the various designations we use in the Renew/Cancel Index and Bubble Watch.

If you think of “On the Bubble” as a 50-50 tossup that could go either way, all “likely to be canceled” means is that there’s less than a 50% chance of renewal. But there is often a lot of room between less than 50% and 0.

I’d been 50-50 on Fringe for weeks, but once its overall average got down to a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating, I put its chances of renewal at less than 50%.  There’s a reasonable debate to be had about that, and Bill is still listing its prospects at 50-50 in the latest Renew/Cancel Index for Fox.  There’s also a reasonable debate to be had about how much less than 50% renewal its chances are.

For discussion purposes let’s say Fringe’s renewal prospects went from being 50-50, to 45-55.  That’s more likely to be canceled than renewed (which is all our “likely to be canceled” designation means) but still leaves Fringe with better than a puncher’s chance at renewal.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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