TV Cancellation Watch: Which Shows Are on the Bubble?

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  • Publish Date: February 12, 2014

Renewal and cancellation predictions from industry followers

As is our custom each year at this time, we have rounded up the latest renewal predictions from a variety of TV experts. While the networks won't officially announce their 2014-15 schedules (and, with them, the identities of this season's survivors) until mid-May, it's not too early to speculate about the fates of those bubble shows currently in limbo. To identify possible winners and losers, we have turned to six sources (all published within the past few weeks):

You can find these experts' predictions in the tables below, organized by network. Unscripted (reality and news) shows are excluded, since most experts did not predict the fates of such programs.

ABC

NashvilleThe song remains the same for Nashville

ABC has already canceled more shows (five) than any other network, and has yet to renew any of its current shows. The network also has several key series (including Resurrection, Mind Games, and Mixology) that have yet to debut. Those factors, coupled with dismal ratings—ABC is in fourth place this season in both total viewers and in the key 18-49 demographic—mean that there are few certainties heading into next season.

That doesn't mean there aren't any sure things, however. Castle, Grey's Anatomy, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Scandal, and most likely Revenge all appear headed to easy renewals. And newcomer Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is also a lock—for cancellation. But everything else is in play, including the bulk of ABC's first-year programs, plus holdovers like Last Man Standing and The Neighbors. Of the bubble shows, The Goldbergs and Marvel's Agents of SHIELD appear to have the best chances at another season, though even the highly promoted latter show isn't a lock at this point. The future is less bright for fan favorites Nashville and Suburgatory, though TV By The Numbers' Bill Gorman, who offers the most data-driven predictions out of the experts cited here, thinks that the latter has a good chance at renewal. Vulture's Josef Adalian also thinks that Nashville's chances are helped by ABC head Paul Lee's recent positive comments about the program.

ABC ABC Primetime Programs, 2013-14 Season
Show Expert Predictions
BW EW RCI Spoiler TVLine Vulture
Canceled The Assets CANCELED
Canceled Back in the Game CANCELED
Canceled Betrayal CANCELED (unofficial)
Castle 4 5 5 4 5 n/a
The Goldbergs 4 3 4 3 4 4
Grey's Anatomy 4 4 5 5 5 n/a
Canceled Killer Women CANCELED (unofficial)
Last Man Standing 4 2 5 4 3 n/a
Canceled Lucky 7 CANCELED
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4 3 5 5 3 5
The Middle 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
Modern Family 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
Nashville 2 4 3 3 3 4
The Neighbors 2 4 1 2 3 2
Once Upon a Time 4 4 5 5 5 n/a
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 2 2 1 1 2 1
Revenge 4 4 5 4 4 4
Scandal 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
Suburgatory 2 3 4 3 n/a n/a
Super Fun Night 2 2 1 3 2 3
Trophy Wife 2 3 1 2 3 3
Not yet premiered:
Astronauts Wives Club (summer), The Black Box (4/24), Grand Central (summer), Mind Games (2/25), Mistresses (summer), Mixology (2/26), Motive (summer), Resurrection (3/9), Rookie Blue (summer)

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

CBS

Good WifeGood enough for one more year?

As the perennial leader among networks in total viewership, CBS typically makes fewer changes to its schedule than its competitors. Thus, even though the network has yet to renew any of its primetime programs, most of its shows are considered safe, even at this early stage.

Of course, some programs will have to go to enable the network to debut new series next season. The CBS programs most in danger of cancellation at this point are DOA first-year dramas Hostages and Intelligence, and, somewhat surprisingly, long-running procedural The Mentalist, an expensive, non-CBS-produced show that could be cleared to make room for a cheaper new drama next season. Critic favorite The Good Wife may suffer a similar fate, though experts note that, as a CBS-owned show, its survival odds are slightly higher. (The Emmy nominations also don't hurt its renewal chances, given that few other CBS shows get recognized.) Interestingly, it is another long-running series—Two and a Half Men—that is the most likely to be canceled among CBS's current comedies. But with two of this season's comedies (We Are Men and How I Met Your Mother) not returning in 2014-15, CBS doesn't necessarily need to eliminate another half-hour program.

CBS CBS Primetime Programs, 2013-14 Season
Show Expert Predictions
BW EW RCI Spoiler TVLine Vulture
2 Broke Girls 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
The Big Bang Theory 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
Blue Bloods 4 4 5 4 3 n/a
The Crazy Ones 3 4 4 4 4 5
Criminal Minds 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 4 5 5 4 4 4
Elementary 4 5 5 4 4 5
The Good Wife 2 4 3 3 5 5
Hawaii Five-0 4 4 5 4 3 n/a
Hostages 2 1 1 1 2 1
Canceled How I Met Your Mother ENDING AFTER THIS SEASON
Intelligence 2 3 1 3 2 n/a
The Mentalist 2 3 2 3 3 3
Mike & Molly 4 4 5 5 3 n/a
The Millers 4 4 5 5 3 5
Mom 3 4 4 3 3 4
NCIS 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
NCIS: Los Angeles 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
Person of Interest 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
Two and a Half Men 3 3 4 3 4 3
Canceled We Are Men CANCELED
Not yet premiered:
Bad Teacher (tbd), Extant (summer), Friends With Better Lives (3/31), Reckless (tbd), Under the Dome (6/30), Unforgettable (summer)

The CW

Tomorrow PeopleDoes Tomorrow have a tomorrow?

Of The CW's current lineup of hour-long series, four shows appear to be locks to return next season: Arrow, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and newcomer The Originals. All are among the network's top-rated programs, while Supernatural just received this rather unusual endorsement from network head Mark Pedowitz: "They can go as long as they want."

Second-year dramas Beauty and the Beast (which is being pulled from the schedule for a few months) and The Carrie Diaries, however, will likely not be going on past this season, while first-year sci-fi series The Tomorrow People also appears to be in danger. If all three of those series are canceled as expected, bubble shows Hart of Dixie and Reign may see their survival chances improve. Their fates, however, also depend on the success of the two newcomers that have yet to premiere: Star-Crossed and The 100. If those two shows bomb, and Reign falters in its final months, The Tomorrow People could also be back in play for a second season.

CW CW Primetime Programs, 2013-14 Season
Show Expert Predictions
BW EW RCI Spoiler TVLine Vulture
Arrow 4 5 5 4 5 n/a
Beauty and the Beast 2 3 1 1 2 n/a
The Carrie Diaries 2 1 1 1 2 n/a
Hart of Dixie 4 3 5 4 2 n/a
Canceled Nikita CANCELED
The Originals 4 5 5 4 5 n/a
Reign 4 4 3 3 4 n/a
Supernatural 4 5 5 4 5 n/a
The Tomorrow People 2 2 3 3 3 n/a
The Vampire Diaries 4 5 5 4 5 n/a
Not yet premiered:
The 100 (3/19), Star-Crossed (2/17)

Fox

EnlistedHeading to a dishonorable discharge?

Fox is the only network to announce multiple early renewals, with five current programs guaranteed of returning next season. Among the remaining shows, Family Guy and New Girl are virtual locks for another season, while first-year sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine is suddenly sitting pretty after a surprise Golden Globe victory and growing support from critics (though a post-Super Bowl ratings bump never materialized, and lower-than-expected recent ratings mean that the show isn't quite a lock for renewal yet).

Many critics also enjoy Fox's new military comedy Enlisted, but that acclaim seems unlikely to offset dismal ratings, and that show is one of several that appear headed straight to cancellation. The new Greg Kinnear drama Rake and long-running (but now nearly forgotten) comedy Raising Hope are the other programs most in danger, while J.J. Abrams' Almost Human and second-year comedy The Mindy Project also appear to be in some danger. Surprisingly, despite disastrous reviews and so-so (though not terrible) numbers, Fox has hinted that Dads isn't necessarily dead, though most experts still don't see that show returning. Yet-to-premiere comedies Us & Them and Surviving Jack also seem likely to be one-and-done; the latter had its episode order cut, while production on the former was halted mid-season (and the show still does not have a premiere date).

Fox Fox Primetime Programs, 2013-14 Season
Show Expert Predictions
BW EW RCI Spoiler TVLine Vulture
Almost Human 2 2 2 4 3 4
Canceled American Dad CANCELED Moving to TBS next season
Renewed Bob's Burgers RENEWED
Renewed Bones RENEWED
Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3 5 4 4 5 5
Dads 2 3 1 2 3 3
Enlisted 2 2 1 2 n/a n/a
Family Guy 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
The Following 4 4 4 5 n/a n/a
Renewed Glee RENEWED for one final season
The Mindy Project 2 3 3 2 4 4
New Girl 4 4 5 4 5 n/a
Raising Hope 2 3 1 1 2 2
Rake 2 2 1 2 2 n/a
Renewed The Simpsons RENEWED for 2 additional seasons
Renewed Sleepy Hollow RENEWED
Canceled Us & Them CANCELED prior to debut; 7 filmed episodes may still air
Not yet premiered:
24 (5/5), Gang Related (5/20), Surviving Jack (3/27), Wayward Pines (summer)

NBC

Happy EndingsSix seasons and a movie: still a pipe dream?

Predicting NBC's decisions is nearly impossible at this early stage, since the network has decided to hold back the debuts of many of its new shows until after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics later this month. But, of the shows that have already aired, only Dracula (almost certainly gone), Revolution, Parenthood, and—of course—Community appear to be in danger of cancellation.

Community's fate, however, was helped by NBC's recent cancellations of fellow Thursday night comedies Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show. Presumably, the network will want at least one more current sitcom to return alongside Parks and Recreation (whose renewal is certain, though not yet official), especially, as critic Alan Sepinwall points out, since NBC's Thursday night lineup is going to get buried in the fall against CBS's new Thursday Night Football (so why burn a new show there?). Of course, that other returning show could wind up being newcomer About a Boy rather than Community if it does well following the Olympics. (Technically, it could also be Growing Up Fisher, though that seems unlikely.) Similarly, in the hour-long category, both Parenthood and Revolution will see their renewal chances improve if newcomers like Crisis and Believe bomb next month.

NBC NBC Primetime Programs, 2013-14 Season
Show Expert Predictions
BW EW RCI Spoiler TVLine Vulture
Renewed The Blacklist RENEWED
Chicago Fire 4 5 5 5 5 n/a
Chicago PD 4 4 5 4 4 n/a
Community 2 4 3 3 n/a 3
Dracula 2 2 2 2 2 3
Grimm 4 4 5 4 5 n/a
Canceled Ironside CANCELED
Law & Order: SVU 4 4 5 4 4 n/a
Canceled The Michael J. Fox Show CANCELED (unofficial)
Parenthood 2 4 3 3 4 4
Parks and Recreation 4 5 4 5 5 5
Revolution 2 3 3 3 3 4
Canceled Sean Saves the World CANCELED
Canceled Welcome to the Family CANCELED
Not yet premiered:
About a Boy (2/22), Believe (3/10), Crisis (3/16), Crossbones (tbd), Growing Up Fisher (2/23), Hannibal (2/28), The Night Shift (tbd), Undateable (tbd)

What do you think?

What bubble shows would you like to see return, and which deserve to be canceled? Let us know in the comments section below. And be sure to check our 2013-14 Renew/Cancel Scorecard for daily updates on the above shows (and the current status of dozens of cable programs as well).

Comments (14)

  • ChrisMattar  

    The only real surprise when it comes to cancellation candidates is Dracula. That show is actually quite good. The acting is good the story is gripping, and the show well done overall.
    One of the better shows to premiere this year.
    Definitely superior to childish shows like Vampire Diaries and Originals.
    But maybe maturity is the problem. I certainly hope it'll be back, and of all the people I know who's tried it none have rated it negatively.
    Renewals on the other hand are full of surprises in my opinion. Frankly I have no idea how anyone can enjoy as naive and deja-vu show as Blacklist, not to mention the abysmal acting.

  • JRath  

    It should be noted that Nikita wasn't "cancelled" it got its final 6 episodes to finalize everything. For anyone looking for the best spy show on TV, look no further than Nikita.

    As long as Arrow. Community, Brooklyn Nine Nine, New Girl, Hannibal, Parks and Rec, and The blacklist get renewed I'll be fine. Which it seems like they all will.

    Thanks for doing this Metacritic!

  • imthenoob  

    I think Dracula will be back for another season. The ratings have been better than Hannibal, another show renewed for a second season, and the fan base is certainly there.

  • LamontRaymond  

    Love this article, thanks for bringing it back!

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