On the Bubble 2010: The Renewal/Cancellation Odds for Shows Such As CHUCK, FLASHFORWARD, and HUMAN TARGET

     April 30, 2010

pilot season TV ABC, CBS, FOX, CW, NBC slice.jpg

Last week, I put together a look at the various pilots that are fighting for a spot on the network schedules in the fall.  Of course, the networks cannot achieve their “in with the new” objective without first taking care of the first half of that saying: “Out with the old . . .”  A number of shows currently on the air–even series that are near and dear to your heart–must die a horrible and bloody death to make room for such potential hits as the J.J. Abrams spy drama Undercovers.

After the jump, we’ll distinguish between survivor and sacrificial lamb for such network series as Chuck, Heroes, FlashForward, V, Human Target, Numb3rs, and One Tree Hill.

Here’s the basic format: we’ll get the shows that are already renewed or cancelled out of the way without any bothersome commentary.  Same goes for the shows that definitely coming back despite the absence of an official announcement (such hits as Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, or House).  I should note that I focused on scripted shows on the five broadcast networks; my apologies to reality/cable series.

I consider shows that have not been officially cancelled nor renewed to be “on the bubble.”  I  wax poetic about the chances of each bubble show, and designate my prediction of its fate as either “CANCELLED” or “RENEWED“–these are just guesses, and I could be way off base (I is kinda dumb after all), so please be gentle with your criticism.

Thanks to TV by the Numbers their wealth of information on ratings and renewals.



Already Renewed
Brothers & Sisters
Cougar Town
The Middle
Modern Family

Sure to Be Renewed
Desperate Housewives
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice

Already Cancelled
The Forgotten
Ugly Betty

monica_baccarin_tv_image_abc_V_01.jpgOn the Bubble
Better Off Ted: It somehow escaped cancellation last year despite an incredibly limited viewership.  I don’t think it can do it again.  Too bad, really–I love this show.

The Deep End: I was surprised this one wasn’t already cancelled.

FlashForward: After a strong launch, ratings have plummeted.  With critical support mostly absent, there won’t be a season two.

Happy Town: This Twin Peaks wannabe could maybe survive moderate ratings or a critical drubbing, but not both.

Romantically Challenged
: ABC will need to try and find something else for their darling Alyssa Milano to do.

: Critical notice and ratings have held up slightly better than FlashForward, and V has the extraterrestrial goods to seize pop culture once again with a buzzworthy finale if well-managed.  I’ll bet ABC brings it back if the showrunners pitch a good season two.
-Verdict: RENEWED



Already Renewed
The Big Bang Theory
The Good Wife
How I Met Your Mother
NCIS: Los Angeles
Two and a Half Men

Sure to Be Renewed
Criminal Minds
CSI: Miami
The Mentalist

Already Cancelled
Three Rivers

ghost_whisperer_jennifer_love_hewitt__1_.jpgOn the Bubble
Accidentally on Purpose: In theory, the ratings suggest it could go either way.  But I think CBS will be nicer to the male-led bubble comedies (Rules of Engagement, Gary) than the female starrers (Accidentally, Old Christine)

Cold Case
: After seven seasons, Case has aged beyond sufficient ratings to justify its bloated budget.

Gary Unmarried
: With the untouchable status of their Monday comedy block, CBS desperately wants to spread their sitcom dominance to Wednesday, and the consistent Gary could make a nice companion piece to the William Shatner pilot Bleep My Dad Says.
-Verdict: RENEWED

Ghost Whisperer
: I could probably list this under “Sure to Be Renewed”, but there’s a small chance CBS wants to wipe the slate completely clean for a fresh start on Friday.
-Verdict: RENEWED

: See Ghost Whisperer
-Verdict: RENEWED

Miami Medical
: It’s DOA!  It flatlined!  It’s in critical condition!  Other medical puns!

The New Adventures of Old Christine
: If only one comedy survives the Wednesday comedy block, it will be Gary.

: Although a reliable performer for years, CBS will clear Numb3rs out to try something new on Friday nights.

Rules of Engagement
: This David Spade sitcom has been a steady midseason comedy replacement for the network over the last couple years, and it will continue to be.
-Verdict: RENEWED


The CW

Already Renewed
Gossip Girl
The Vampire Diaries

Already Cancelled
The Beautiful Life: TBL

On the Bubble
Life Unexpected: The family-friendly soap gets pretty solid ratings for The CW, but is relatively light on the network’s target audience of Women 18-34 compared to the rest of the schedule.

Melrose Place:
There is no chance of a second season.

One Tree Hill
: Many analysts think the network will save either Life or OTH; I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they go with option c).



Already Renewed
American Dad
The Cleveland Show
Family Guy
The Simpsons

Sure to Be Renewed

lie_to_me_tv_show_cast_monica_raymund_brendan_hines_tim_roth_kelli_williams_01.jpgAlready Cancelled
Past Life
Sons of Tucson
‘Til Death

On the Bubble
Human Target: I think the network brass like it enough to give it another shot in the fall, especially since it looks like three hours will open up in the absence of a fall edition of So You Think You Can Dance.
-Verdict: RENEWED

Lie to Me: The remaining episodes of season two were pushed to the summer, which is not a good sign.  But depending on how those episodes perform, I predict a short order for another season as a utility player.  Worst case scenario: FOX has no holes to fill, and they’ve got some fresh material for summer 2011.
-Verdict: RENEWED



Already Renewed
30 Rock
Friday Night Lights
The Office
Parks & Recreation

Sure to Be Renewed
Law & Order: SVU

Chuck image Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski (1).JPGOn the Bubble
Chuck: This may be a case of “If I say it aloud enough, it will come true.”  But I believe NBC will order a season four, perhaps as a midseason replacement they can count on to deliver a 2.X in the 18-49 demo each week.
-Verdict: RENEWED

Heroes: There are rumors of a 13-episode “final season”, but I’m not sure I buy it.  Cut it loose, NBC!

Law & Order: Low ratings are not enough to counteract the appeal of a record-breaking 21st season that would push the show past Gunsmoke to become the longest-running prime time drama ever.  Chant it with me now, “Le-ga-cy!  Le-ga-cy!”
-Verdict: RENEWED

Mercy/Trauma: I honestly forgot to include these shows, but noticed their absence right before I submitted this article for publishing.  I used up all my medical-related puns on Miami Medical, so . . .


Around The Web
  • ICY

    First of all, CBS purposely switched Cold Case to ten pm, so that they could say this. Is this network stupid, yes indeed. Do they even care that millions of fans worldwide have signed an on-line petition, sending e-mails and writing to the network, no. They could at least give the fans one more season, what is their fricken problem?

    Do they really want another Jericho incident? C'mon CBS stop with the stupidity and renew this show, the fans want it. It would be very foolish not to, and I will never watch another show on that network again. I hate CBS!!

  • Droncz92


    As much as I hate to think the last episode we saw of Heroes was the LAST episode we will EVER see as Heroes, it probably will happen.

    I am still optimistic about a proper series ender. Gives a good 5 season story…Hell even give us 3, but they should give us a proper ending. Hell I watched this show from day one, I think I only missed 1 actual episode and I watched it on demand the next day.

  • Droncz92

    err…I meant a 5 episode season.

  • http://tvtechgirl.blogspot.com/ TheSpoilerGirl

    SpoilerTV have a very useful table with a rating associated with each show.


    Hope it's ok to post links here

  • http://www.collider.com/author/brendan-bettinger/ Brendan Bettinger

    As a math guy, I like it. Even though they factor in 7-day DVR viewers (mistake) and torrents (huge mistake), I would also like to eventually come up with a complicated prediction formula, so I admire.

    It looks like my only major diversion is One Tree Hill, so we'll use that as a man-vs-machine indication of who wins. Is my hunch better than their math? Probably not!

  • AJ

    Criminal Minds is already renewed. Just not announced yet. They will be filming Season 6 in July.

  • http://twitter.com/Realme2010 Jenny

    It's very odd to me that you think OTH, Life Unexpected, and Melrose Place will all be canceled.

  • http://tvtechgirl.blogspot.com/ TheSpoilerGirl

    I think when I spoke to them about the 7-day and torrents is that
    those figures have a very small factor on the stats/ratings.

    I agree with you about OTH though :)

  • Chuckowsky

    Are you kidding me? Is Bleep My Dad Says the official title? I thought 'shit' is the PG-13 word you can easily get away with on TV :P

  • negra0827

    i loved heroes i cant believe that they cancelled it. i guess watching tv on the internet is bringing ratings down!!!!

  • http://buffyville1.weebly.com Nelson Cooke

    DONT CANCLE Heroes AND Human Target YOU BASTARDS ; (

  • Anna

    This sucks!!!! How the heck can there be 3 CSI shows that continue but yet they have to cancel new show that I have already become addicted too. Flashforward and Life unexpected both deserve a second chance, why the heck do we need THREE CSI's? Get rid off some of the worthless shows, say desperate housewives or brothers and sisters, who cars about those. That would save FF. And the CW has enough time to keep in one extra show. I repeat these cuts SUCK! I officially despise the people who decide this crap.

  • wookiemonster

    Let's hope the people at NBC actually uses their brain for once and renew Chuck!!

  • John Lodge

    Chuck, Human Target, and FlashForward need to stay. Heroes and Happy Town can go buh-bye.

  • John Lodge

    Also, Cold Case and Law & Order can take a flying leap…along with all CSI shows. More crime drama = SNORE, zzz, yawn.

  • Tom

    Every time I hear someone say that Chuck and Human Target will get renewed I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside… followed by a sinking feeling of trepidation that they could get canceled. Save Chuck! We need a 4th (and hopefully many more) season of the best show on TV!!

  • Tom

    Every time I hear someone say that Chuck and Human Target will get renewed I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside… followed by a sinking feeling of trepidation that they could get canceled. Save Chuck! We need a 4th (and hopefully many more) season of the best show on TV!!

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  • LittleMissSunshine1

    Not happy. According to this the three shows I was most rooting for are likely to be cancelled.

    FlashForward, Life Unexpected & Mercy. I was also hoping Happy Town would get a chance, but according to this it doesn't look like it will either.

  • LittleMissSunshine1

    I agree Jenny. I would think the CW would keep AT LEAST one of them. I'm hoping for Life Unexpected.

  • LittleMissSunshine1

    Also, I have to say that ABC is a fool if they choose “V” over “FlashForward”. “V” is terrible and is simply a modern day rehashing of a story that has already been done before. At least FlashForward is an original story. And why do you say that “critical support is mostly absent” from FlashForward?? Is it because critics like you are already convinced it won't be renewed?

  • http://twitter.com/onestell onestell

    First off, I thought 'Til Death was kicked to the side lines a waaay long time ago (who knew?). Second, I can't wait to get the “complete series” dvd of Eastwick. Third, I'd personally like to see more episodes of BETTER OFF TED (it's a smart, funny, irreverent view of corporate politics … a nice “top down” view of THE OFFICE)

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  • Sam

    Life Unexpected is the best new show of the season. I used to like OTH but its boring now, and if it comes down to OTH or LUX I think LUX show be renewed!!! GO LUX!!!

  • Trai

    It's not one or the other and it hasn't been for a while now. I'm pretty sure the network itself has said that either both are getting renewed or both get canceled. Current theory is that both will get 13-episode orders and share the timeslot in order to cut down on repeats.


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    A number of shows currently on the air–even series that are near and dear to your heart–must die a horrible and bloody death to make room for such potential hits as the J.J. Abrams spy drama Undercovers!!

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    A number of shows currently on the air–even series that are near and dear to your heart–must die a horrible and bloody death!

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