TV Cancellation Watch: Renewal Odds for Remaining Bubble Shows

  • Publish Date: April 25, 2013
  • Comments: ↓ 9 user comments

Updated predictions from industry followers

In just a few weeks, the broadcast networks will announce their fall schedules, in the process revealing the final fates of all remaining 2012-13 shows not yet renewed. Which of these bubble shows are likely to return for another season? To answer that question, we have compiled the latest renew/cancel predictions from the following sources (all published within the last few weeks):

Still on the bubble

The following scripted broadcast shows have yet to be canceled or renewed. Reality and news shows are omitted—as are all cable series—since the experts do not offer predictions for such programs. Note that several new shows (including Fox's The Goodwin Games, NBC's Save Me, and ABC's Family Tools) have yet to premiere and are also omitted from the list below.

Key to predictions:
5 Likely renewal   4 Possible renewal   3 Could go either way   2 Possible cancellation   1 Likely cancellation

1600 Penn NBC

A second term seems extraordinarily unlikely for this middling midseason sitcom set in the White House. Ratings for the show dropped consistently throughout its 13-week run, and, with its schedule complete, it has no chance to reverse course.

BW 1 EW 1 RCI 1 SP 1 TVG 2 TVL 2

Beauty and the Beast CW

Ugly reviews didn't stop this remake of the 1980s drama from gaining a small but decent-by-CW-standards following in its first season. But, as TV by the Numbers' Robert Seidman points out, the real reason for the optimism here is sheer numbers. Traditionally, the CW returns at least five hours of scripted programming each season, and to get to that number this year, either this and/or The Carrie Diaries will need to get picked up. The ratings here are better. It's also the only remaining CW series produced by CBS (a co-owner of the CW, as well as Metacritic's parent), making a return that much more likely.

BW 3 EW 5 RCI 4 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 3

Body of Proof ABC

Now in its third season, the Dana Delany-led procedural has fewer viewers than in past seasons, leading many experts to bet against its return. One encouraging sign: the series has been picking up viewership in recent weeks, and it won its timeslot last week (admittedly, against fairly weak competition).

BW 3 EW 2 RCI 2 SP 3 TVG 2 TVL 3

The Carrie Diaries CW

Ratings for this Sex and the City prequel have been low since it launched, but dropped even further over its final month, making cancellation look more and more likely by the week. But a second season is not completely out of the question; Deadline TV editor Nellie Andreeva speculates that the CW will renew the show despite its poor ratings because it performs well online (including on Hulu).

BW 1 EW 4 RCI 2 SP 2 TVG 4 TVL 3

Castle ABC

A sixth season is all but guaranteed for one of the top-rated scripted dramas on television (which has recovered nicely from a midseason ratings slump).

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5

Chicago Fire NBC

Critics didn't care much for it—and neither did viewers, when it first premiered in the fall—but Dick Wolf's latest procedural has managed to find an audience as the season has progressed, to the point where it typically wins its timeslot and renewal has become a near certainty. NBC is reportedly considering a spin-off (that would focus on Chicago cops), which is not something that happens when a show is about to be cancelled.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 5

The Cleveland Show Fox

Despite reports to the contrary last week, Fox has not yet officially canceled this low-rated Family Guy spin-off. That said, given the long lead time needed for animated series, the best that Cleveland could hope for is a shortened season that would arrive in 2014. And the experts suggest that even that scenario seems unlikely at this point.

BW 1 EW 1 RCI 1 SP 3 TVG 2 TVL 2

Community NBC

Dan Harmon might be gone, but Community remains the same in one respect: it's on the bubble. While the folks at EW think the Greendale gang could get lucky and return for a shortened fifth season, other experts aren't quite as optimistic. Yes, viewership declined significantly since a decent season 4 premiere in February. But the numbers have actually improved a bit in recent weeks—to the point where ratings are actually slightly higher now than at the end of season 3—and with the show needing just one more short season to get to a syndication-friendly 100 episodes, a fifth season remains a possibility.

BW 3 EW 4 RCI 3 SP 3 TVG 2 TVL 3

Criminal Minds CBS

The only reason this show hasn't been renewed yet is that contract negotiations with cast members are still ongoing. Assuming the money issues are worked out, this one's a no-brainer.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5


Another expensive show to produce—and one that's been on the bubble for several seasons now—CSI:NY looks unlikely to return, leaving the original CSI (already renewed) as the sole franchise survivor next season.

BW 1 EW 2 RCI 1 SP 2 TVG 2 TVL 2

Deception NBC

This first-year drama failed to make an impression on critics or viewers during its 11-week run earlier this year. Several online petition campaigns to save the show (yes, we were surprised, too) have fewer than 2,000 signatures among them, suggesting that few TV fans would notice if Deception disappeared permanently.

BW 1 EW 2 RCI 1 SP 2 TVG 2 TVL 2


Go On may do just that, though it will take some luck. A hit when it debuted last fall, this Matthew Perry-led sitcom shed viewers like crazy this winter when it lost its high-powered lead-in (The Voice), and it performed even worse during a recent tryout on Thursdays (to the point where even Community was a better draw). But a one-week re-pairing with The Voice last month brought Go On's best ratings in months, and NBC could decide to replicate that pairing again this fall.

BW 3 EW 4 RCI 3 SP 3 TVG 4 TVL 4

Golden Boy CBS

With CBS renewing nearly every show on its 2012-13 schedule, and needing to make some room for a few newcomers next season, there's almost no chance that a show with little buzz (despite decent reviews) and declining ratings would be able to score a renewal. (The fact that it is losing its timeslot to fellow bubble show Body of Proof certainly doesn't help.)

BW 1 EW 2 RCI 1 SP 2 TVG 2 TVL 2

Grey's Anatomy ABC

All signs point to a 10th season for this consistent performer, which has been posting ratings that are only slightly off last season's numbers.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5

Grimm NBC

Continuing to lead all scripted shows on Friday nights, the second-year fantasy series is also close to a lock for renewal, with producers reportedly making preparations for a third season. NBC will also try out the show on Tuesdays (following The Voice) beginning next week, which also looks like an encouraging sign.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 5

Guys with Kids NBC

This poorly reviewed freshman comedy is considered a goner by most experts, thanks to ratings that declined consistently throughout the season.

BW 1 EW 2 RCI 1 SP 1 TVG 2 TVL 3

Hannibal NBC

Though it's still far too soon to say it with any certainty, it looks more likely than not that Dr. Lecter will return for another season. Still, with over two months left in its first-season run, and a preemption this week (because the show's violent content didn't seem appropriate given recent tragedies), the show has plenty of time left to change NBC's mind one way or the other, and a drop in ratings for its most recent episode (prior to the preemption) cannot be repeated in future weeks if Hannibal wishes to return.

BW 3 EW n/a RCI 5 SP 4 TVG n/a TVL n/a

Happy Endings ABC

It's a bad sign when even a show's own network admits that a series is in need of saving, but that's exactly how ABC has been promoting its much-loved but little-watched third-year comedy in recent weeks. While ratings remain very low, viewership did tick up a bit since the campaign, even after a shift to Friday nights. And recent reports suggest that if ABC does cancel Happy Endings, it could go the route of Cougar Town (another critical favorite canceled by ABC) and earn a second chance on a cable network, most likely USA (which would use the series to launch a new comedy block).

BW 1 EW 3 RCI 1 SP 1 TVG 2 TVL 3

Hart of Dixie CW

Most (but not all) of our experts surveyed consider this second-year drama a lock for renewal, and with ratings nearly identical (if not better) than where they were at this point last year, it's hard to disagree.

BW 5 EW 4 RCI 4 SP 3 TVG 2 TVL 4

How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) ABC

Critics were nonplussed (possibly because they were still in a bad mood from having to type out the full title), but How to Live has been a solid performer in the post-Modern Family slot in its first few weeks, and looks likely to be renewed based on current numbers. Viewership has declined each week so far, however, and additional drops during its remaining five weeks could put it on less-secure footing.

BW 5 EW n/a RCI 4 SP 5 TVG n/a TVL n/a

Last Man Standing ABC

Experts believe that the Tim Allen sitcom will indeed remain standing when ABC's fall schedule is announced next month; the series retained its viewership throughout its second season and actually ended the year with higher ratings than at the end of its freshman year.

BW 5 EW 4 RCI 4 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 3

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBC

The sole remaining Law & Order series is likely to return for a 15th season, having done nothing this year to merit a change in status. (If anything, its ratings have improved slightly compared to last season.)

BW 5 EW 4 RCI 5 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 4

Malibu Country ABC

The first-year Reba McEntire comedy has had some behind-the-scenes problems (two different showrunners have now come and gone), but decent Friday night numbers similar to those of its lead-in (Last Man Standing) suggest that it could secure a second season, unless ABC is so confident in its development slate that it needs to clear room for a newcomer.

BW 3 EW 3 RCI 3 SP 3 TVG 2 TVL 3

The Middle ABC

Though ratings are ever so slightly down compared to last year, the experts consider The Middle a lock to earn a fifth season.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 5

Modern Family ABC

Another certain renewal, the hit comedy only appears here because ABC, alone among all networks, has yet to make any announcements regarding next season.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5

Nashville ABC

A modest first-year hit, and one that—like Fox's Glee—has the ability to generate extra revenue through soundtrack album sales, Nashville is likely to return. The show's midseason ratings decline also seems to be a mere hiccup, with viewership heading back in the right direction in recent weeks.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 4 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 4

The Neighbors ABC

Expert opinions have been fluctuating about the renewal chances for this first-year sitcom about a gated community of undercover aliens, with many observers still on the fence. As is the case for several ABC bubble sitcoms, the show's future may depend on the strength of the network's development slate.

BW 5 EW 3 RCI 3 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 3

The New Normal NBC

The experts here are all over the map, with the more numbers-driven predictions among the most pessimistic. Still, it's not impossible that Normal will be back for a second season, though it likely won't be if both Community and Whitney get renewed.

BW 1 EW 4 RCI 2 SP 3 TVG 2 TVL 3

Nikita CW

Though its ratings are low enough that it would have trouble beating a P90X infomercial, the show needs just one more season to have enough episodes for syndication, and it performs well internationally. Those factors alone should earn it one additional year on the schedule, and there have been unconfirmed reports that a 6-13 episode deal has already been finalized.

BW 5 EW 3 RCI 5 SP 3 TVG 4 TVL 4

Once Upon a Time ABC

Though ratings have tapered off a bit compared to its strong first season, ABC's fairy tale drama looks certain to return for a third season, when it may even be joined by a spin-off.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5

Parenthood NBC

Though it doesn't have quite the same level of critical acclaim as showrunner Jason Katims' previous series, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood does have more stability; the show keeps chugging along with remarkably consistent ratings, good enough to make it a sure thing on NBC's otherwise iffy schedule.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 5

Parks and Recreation NBC

Already faced with the prospect of losing many (if not most) of its comedies heading into next season, NBC simply cannot cancel every sitcom on its current schedule. Parks and Rec, with its devoted (though smaller than ever before) following and critical acclaim, looks likeliest to return, and there are reports that producers have already begun assembling a writing staff for next season.

BW 5 EW 4 RCI 5 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 5

Red Widow ABC

Another Sunday night failure for ABC, this new drama has lost over a third of its viewership since its March premiere, becoming one of the network's lowest-rated programs this season. Couple that with the network's decision to hold back new episodes for a month, and it spells certain doom for Widow.

BW 1 EW 1 RCI 1 SP 1 TVG 2 TVL 2

Revenge ABC

It has been a rough sophomore year for the soapy drama, which has lost over 10% of its viewers while also struggling creatively. Still, most experts are confident that the show will return for a third season, though if it does, it will be without series creator Mike Kelley at the helm.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 4 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 5

Revolution NBC

A few months off the schedule did nothing to harm the renewal chances of NBC's lone hit newcomer. Yes, ratings have dropped noticeably since the show's return late last month, but the same can be said for nearly every show on NBC's schedule this spring, and it's far from the worst offender in the network's lineup.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5

Rules of Engagement CBS

Predictions of Engagement's demise have been greatly exaggerated in the past—the show has an uncanny ability to keep coming back, no matter how hard CBS tries to kill it—but it looks like the comedy could finally be done after seven seasons, now that it has stockpiled enough episodes for syndication. A key indicator: many of the stars found work elsewhere this pilot season.

BW 3 EW 2 RCI 2 SP 4 TVG 2 TVL 2

Scandal ABC

In its second season and first full year, Shonda Rhimes' drama has grown its audience (and its crazy factor) and even became a bit of a favorite guilty pleasure among the critic community. Expect it back.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5

Smash NBC

Though technically the second-year musical has only been banished to Saturdays rather than officially canceled outright, most observers consider the two to be interchangeable. There is no chance the show will return next season, though the network has thoughtfully scheduled the two-hour season (series) finale on a real night: Sunday, May 26 at 9pm.

BW 1 EW 1 RCI 1 SP 1 TVG 2 TVL 1

Suburgatory ABC

A third season is possible but not guaranteed for this quirky comedy, though it is unclear whether the success of How to Live With Your Parents would hurt Suburgatory's chances. Presumably, there would be room for both shows on next year's schedule (especially if Happy Endings moves to another network), but ABC is rumored to be happy with its new comedy pilots, and may need to clear room.

BW 5 EW 4 RCI 5 SP 4 TVG 4 TVL 4

Touch Fox

Despite undergoing a major overhaul, this Kiefer Sutherland drama emerged as a major flop in its second season, with current viewership at about 25% of 24's worst season. There's no chance it's coming back.

BW 1 EW 1 RCI 1 SP 1 TVG 2 TVL 2

Two and a Half Men CBS

As is the case with Criminal Minds, the only obstacle to renewal is ongoing contract negotiations with the show's stars; CBS has already indicated its desire to bring Men back for another season.

BW 5 EW 5 RCI 5 SP 5 TVG 4 TVL 5

Up All Night NBC

Pulled from the schedule indefinitely so that NBC could turn it into an entirely different show (despite the fact that it wasn't doing all that poorly as it was), this second-year comedy has yet to make it back to the air; instead, series creator Emily Spivey and star Christina Applegate quit, while the latter's co-stars, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph, quickly lined up backup roles in other pilots. Like most of the experts, we'd be shocked if this ever resurfaces.

BW 1 EW 1 RCI 1 SP 1 TVG 2 TVL 1

Vegas CBS

Whatever chances this first-year drama had at renewal probably vanished during its two-month hiatus this spring. Prior to the break, ratings were decent if unspectacular (though the show would be a hit on any other network). Upon its return, it was banished to Fridays in lieu of Golden Boy, and it hasn't performed well on its new night. Tellingly, it was the one program in its Friday night lineup that CBS chose to preempt last week for a news special.

BW 1 EW 3 RCI 1 SP 2 TVG 2 TVL 2

Whitney NBC

Somewhat of a surprise renewal a year ago, Whitney still isn't dead; the show has a slim chance at being picked up for a third season. That said, its ratings—never high to begin with—declined during its final weeks in March (along with NBC's entire schedule), to the point where Community started to draw more viewers. If NBC keeps only one of those two shows, the latter now looks more likely to survive than Whitney.

BW 3 EW 4 RCI 3 SP 2 TVG 2 TVL 3

Fate already determined

Below is a list of shows already canceled or renewed. Be sure to check our 2012-13 TV Season Scorecard for daily updates (as well as a guide to the renewal status for select cable series).

Renewed   Canceled or Ending
2 Broke Girls CBS
48 Hours CBS
60 Minutes CBS
The Amazing Race CBS
America's Next Top Model CW
American Dad! Fox
Arrow CW
The Big Bang Theory CBS
Bob's Burgers Fox
Bones Fox
Blue Bloods CBS
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS
Elementary CBS
Family Guy Fox
The Following Fox
Glee Fox
The Good Wife CBS
Hawaii Five-0 CBS
Hell's Kitchen Fox
How I Met Your Mother CBS
The Mentalist CBS
Mike & Molly CBS
The Mindy Project Fox
NCIS: Los Angeles CBS
New Girl Fox
Person of Interest CBS
Raising Hope Fox
The Simpsons Fox
Supernatural CW
Survivor CBS
Undercover Boss CBS
The Vampire Diaries CW
The Voice NBC
The X Factor Fox
  30 Rock NBC
666 Park Avenue ABC
90210 CW
Animal Practice NBC
Ben and Kate Fox
Cult CW
Do No Harm NBC
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 ABC
Emily Owens, M.D. CW
Fringe Fox
Gossip Girl CW
The Job CBS
Last Resort ABC
Made in Jersey CBS
The Mob Doctor Fox
The Office NBC
Partners CBS
Private Practice ABC
Ready for Love NBC
Zero Hour ABC

Which shows would you save?

What bubble shows would you like to see return, and which deserve to be canceled? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (9)

  • jerrycurlan  

    Please bring back Red Widow! (I know it's a long shot, but I love that show). And yeah, phi is right FX shows are brilliant.

  • djbluntmagic  

    That's why they're not on the bubble, phi

  • phi39582  

    Where are all of the great FX shows.....from SoA, Justified, to The's the best channel on television.

  • DudeAbides  

    Haha fair enough. Joke's on me then. Regardless, NBC: bring back Community.

  • Palfrei  

    It can't understand why How I Met Your Mother keeps coming back.

    It is such a terrible bad show.

  • djbluntmagic  

    DudeAbides, that's not how ratings work haha. Nashville, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Revenge all deserve to come back.

  • DudeAbides  

    Community. Everyone should just turn their TVs to NBC every Thursday for the next three weeks to help boost the ratings of Community so NBC will renew it, then watch from season one to catch up on it. It's one of the funniest shows around and is well worth keeping around. Six seasons and a movie!

  • Nerdtor  

    I agree with JRath. Nikita is a great show, way superior than anything else on The CW. Anyway, it's nice to see that it'd be back for a final season.
    About other shows that I like, some of them look really good (Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Chicago Fire among others), while there are a few that sadly won't be back (Guys with Kids).

  • JRath  

    More people need to watch Nikita. Trust me when I say that it is better produced and smarter than you would imagine.

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