Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Which "bubble shows" will be back, and which will be whacked?
Just the term alone implies extinction . . . annihilation . . . an end to their (perhaps even our) misery. But bubbles can survive and ultimately thrive. As the networks ponder their fall lineups, some bubbles will return. But which ones?
Factors to consider: Networks need to be convinced there is an upside to renewal, notably chance of growth, advertiser support, and strong time-shift (DVR) numbers. Poor or moderate performers that are also expensive have two strikes against them already. And if development slates are especially strong, that's three strikes.
So here goes. Some bubbles and their fate . . .
"Body of Proof" Has added viewers in recent weeks, which is a very good sign for Dana Delany. Chances for renewal: Excellent.
"Mr. Sunshine" Simply did not hold "Modern Family's" audience during its run, while "Cougar Town" has done a heck of a lot better; plus this is expensive. CFR: Very low.
"Detroit 1-8-7" One of the best new network dramas of the season could not draw a crowd, while "Body" has performed in the same time period. CFR: Very very low.
"The Defenders" The Jim Belushi legal drama is a survivor on any other network, but CBS' drama development is just too strong to tolerate a modest performer. CFR: Likely goner.
"Two and a Half Men" Imagine! TV's highest rated sitcom as a bubble? Yet so it is. Charlie Sheen is definitely gone, but his role could be recast, and . . . CFR: 60/40, unless CBS doesn't go for the replacement, then it's curtains.
"Rules of Engagement" With around 9 million viewers, the future looks bright. CFR: Likely back.
"Human Target" Everyone likes star Mark Valley but the show continues to disappoint. CFR: Likely goner.
"Lie to Me" Question is, how strong is its DVR playback? That would tend to indicate viewer passion. CFR: Probably good to go, but for midseason?
"Chuck" Ratings have evaporated, and while playback may be fine, probably not fine enough. CFR: Expect at the very least a short run to wrap it all up.
"Parenthood" Decent buzz and strong playback are good indicators. CFR: Will be renewed.
"Nikita" Was not included in the network's announcement earlier this week that it was picking up "90210," "Supernatural" and "Vampire Diaries." CFR: 50/50.