13 Bubble Shows — Which Will Survive?
Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv
Let's raise a glass (of something bubbly perhaps) to TV shows gone too soon: Here's to Arrested Development, Pushing Daisies, Moonlight, Freaks and Geeks, Veronica Mars, My So Called Life... we hardly knew ye. Here we are, just six weeks into the fall season, and we already have two more names to add to that list. (R.I.P., Lone Star and My Generation.) Which shows will be next? These 13 are in the most danger, due to low ratings, poor performances among younger viewers and other typical bad signs. Is your favorite show on the list?
[UPDATED: Good news! NBC has picked up Chase for a full season.]
Mondays at 10/9c
The Good News: Its premiere nabbed 7.3 million pairs of eyes opposite ABC's Castle and CBS' powerhouse Hawaii Five-O, which is no small feat.
The Bad News: It has been unable to capitalize on The Event's strong lead-in. Its most recent episode only nabbed 5 million viewers, which is a weak showing for a Jerry Bruckheimer production. (Just ask CSI. Or the now-canceled The Forgotten.)
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[UPDATED: Good news! NBC has picked up Chuck for a full season.]
Mondays at 8/7c
The Good News: The show has a rabid fan base of people who have made it clear that they'll eat as many sandwiches as it takes to keep their show on the air. Recent reports have indicated that the show is safe, but NBC isn't saying for now.
The Bad News: Only 6.1 million of those fans tuned in for the season premiere. That number is down even from Heroes' debut a year ago, and Heroes is no more. Viewership for the most recent episode of Chuck slipped to 5.3 million.
Thursdays at 8/7c
The Good News: Thanks to healthy DVD sales, the show has gained some new fans and good word-of-mouth, particularly about last season's paintball episode. It's nestled in a comedy block that does well among the younger 18-to-49 demographic that advertisers love so much.
The Bad News: Comedians call it taking the bullet when you're the first act of the night, and that's what Community is doing as it tries to warm up the Thursday audience. It's currently hovering around 4.8 million viewers, far fewer than the new show Outsourced, which has benefited from following The Office. Community is a lot funnier than Outsourced, but since when has that ever counted for anything?
CSI: NY (CBS)
Fridays at 9/8c
The Good News: The decision to move the show to Friday night to help kick off Blue Bloods was a good one — Blue Bloods is a bona fide hit. Plus, it's winning its (admittedly not very competitive) timeslot.
The Bad News: Unfortunately, CSI:NY's numbers are dwarfed by those of the Tom Selleck cop drama. CBS has two one-hour dramas set to launch at mid-season (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Chaos), and in this network's rarefied air, 9.5 million viewers may not be enough to keep it around.
Check out our day-by-day calendar for the new fall schedule
[UPDATED: Good news! NBC has picked up The Defenders for a full season.]
The Defenders (CBS)
Wednesdays at 10/9c
The Good News: In a timeslot packed with legal procedurals, it beat ABC's legal drama The Whole Truth in its first outing. Its most recent episode beat NBC's Law & Order: Los Angeles as well.
The Bad News: Going head to head with Law & Order: Los Angeles has hurt its overall numbers. And it could, unfortunately for its prospects, be in the perfect timeslot for the as-of-yet unslated Criminal Minds spin-off coming in January.
Thursdays at 9/8c
The Good News: Its timeslot — up against CSI, Grey's Anatomy and The Office — is one of the week's most competitive. Fox has bigger fish to fry at the moment (see below), and would be crazy to give up a show with J.J. Abrams' pedigree. Plus, when a network picks up a show for 22 episodes, as Fox did, it doesn't often reverse the decision.
The Bad News: It's currently only attracting 5 million viewers for a potentially divisive season that features two universes and episodes that alternate between them. What if viewers only like one of them?
The Good Guys (Fox)
Fridays at 9/8c
The Good News: Until ABC decides to start airing Body of Proof, this timeslot is pretty soft overall, with even CSI: NY's numbers taking a hit.
The Bad News: It's Fox's lowest-rated program still on the air; it's even losing to the CW's beloved-but-little-seen Supernatural in the 18-to-49 demographic.
Life Unexpected (CW)
Tuesdays at 9/8c
The Good News: Despite middling ratings last season, it gained a loyal following, and the CW rewarded the show with a second season. The network has cautiously ordered two more scripts, for a total of 15.
The Bad News: It's down to an anemic 1.5 million viewers. More disturbing, it's down among young women, a group whose presence buoyed the show's low ratings in the past.
NBC moves Outlaw to Saturdays
Fridays at 10/9c
The Good News: It scored 11.5 million viewers for its first episode, which aired on a Wednesday and beat the finale of Big Brother.
The Bad News: Only 5 million of those viewers moved with it to its Friday timeslot, where it got hammered by the premiere of Blue Bloods. NBC has since shut down production, and though the network promises to air the remaining episodes, Outlaw looks as good as canceled.
Tuesdays at 10/9c
The Good News: NBC doesn't have many shows that do well among young women, but Parenthood is surprisingly strong among that group.
The Bad News: In its second week, it dropped 11 percent from its premiere, and its most recent episode earned only 4.6 million viewers. It's losing its timeslot to ABC's also-tepidly-rated Detroit 1-8-7 and CBS' powerhouse The Good Wife.
Running Wilde (Fox)
Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c
The Good News: Fox scheduled the half-hour show in a one-hour comedy block with Raising Hope, which appears to be safe for now.
The Bad News: It's losing almost half of Raising Hope's lead-in, which can be the death of a two-series comedy block. Plus, Fox has two new half-hour sitcoms waiting in the wings for a mid-season launch: the animated Bob's Burgers and the romantic comedy Mixed Signals.
NBC orders full seasons of The Event, Law & Order: Los Angeles and Outsourced
Wednesdays at 8/7c
The Good News: It's earning a solid 7 million viewers up against ABC's half-hour comedies The Middle and Better With You, CBS' Survivor and Fox's Hell's Kitchen. Reports indicate that NBC is ready to order up four more scripts.
The Bad News: It's not attracting younger viewers, which isn't a good sign, especially when its timeslot competition tends to skew older already.
The Whole Truth (ABC)
Wednesdays at 10/9c
The Good News: Unfortunately, there really isn't any.
The Bad News: The premiere was only seen by 4.9 million, which suggests the show is a mismatch with the ABC hit comedies that precede it on Wednesdays. Since the premiere, it's been losing to fellow legal dramas Law & Order: Los Angeles on NBC and CBS' The Defenders.