What does it mean when a TV show is “on the bubble”? That’s the term used by critics when the fate of a series is uncertain, and there is doubt about whether the show will be renewed for the rest of the season, typically due to ratings.
This time of the year, just a few weeks after the start of the fall season, shows are being watched carefully to see if their performance matches up to expectations.
At this point, several new fall shows have already been canceled. Now the ratings of the remaining shows are being scrutinized.
Some shows have already been renewed for next year; some are being renewed for what is called “the back 9,” that is, adding another nine episodes to the original 13 that have been made.
Among those that have recently gotten orders for another nine episodes are “Nikita,” “One Tree Hill,” and “Hellcats” on the CW. That’s called a “full season order” and while it’s a good sign, it does not necessarily mean that the show will be renewed for the 2011-2012 season.
On NBC, full seasons have been ordered for “Chuck,” “Undercovers” and “Chase,” meaning that they’ll at least finish out the current season. Also picked up were “Outsourced,” “Chase,” “The Event” and “Law and Order: Los Angeles.”
CBS has ordered full seasons of all the new series it introduced this fall, including “Hawaii Five-0,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Defenders,” “Mike & Molly,” and “$#*! My Dad Says.”
As for ABC, several shows have been canceled or are likely to be canceled, with no word yet about full season orders.
And then there are the bubble shows, which could be canceled or kept, depending on how ratings go. At this point, their ratings are not strong enough to ensure that the shows will be brought back next season.
Among this year’s bubble shows are FOX’s “Fringe” and “Lie to Me,” ABC’s “Better With You” and “No Ordinary Family,” CBS’s “The Defenders” and “The Good Wife,” NBC’s “Community,” “Chuck,” “The Event,” “Parenthood” and “Law and Order: Los Angeles.”
Of these, I have a few predictions to make. I think FOX will keep “Fringe,” a favorite with fans and critics, and CBS will continue to bring back “The Good Wife,” a prestige series that is critically acclaimed and wins numerous awards. NBC seems to want to keep “Chuck” around despite its low ratings, and I think it’s unlikely it will dump “Law and Order: LA” right out of the gate.
As for the others? Your guess is as good as mine. If you like “Community,” “The Defenders” or “No Ordinary Family,” or any of the others that are in danger, then keep watching. It’s all about the ratings.
Personal viewing of “Fringe,” “The Good Wife,” “Law and Order: Los Angeles,” “Chuck” and other shows