It will be a while before the networks start making decisions about which shows to bring back for the 2013-14 season. But it’s never too early to start speculating.
Zap2it‘s annual Bubble Watch will roll out as usual in March and April, and you’ll have a chance to vote on which on-the-fence shows to keep and which ones to dump. With pilot season about to heat up, though, it’s worth looking at last year’s pilots — this season’s first-year shows — and seeing how their chances of renewal for a second season stack up. Let’s go:
“Arrow”: It’s The CW’s most-watched series (averaging about 4 million viewers), and though it skews a little older than the network’s target demographic, networks just don’t cancel their most-watched shows.
“Elementary”: CBS gave its Sherlock Holmes show a big vote of confidence by giving it a Super Bowl lead-in on Feb. 3. Its already strong ratings (13.2 million viewers, 3.1 in the 18-49 demo) should get a bump in the weeks following the game.
“Revolution”: If we were judging just by its fall ratings, where it was far and away the No. 1 new series among adults 18-49, “Revolution” would be in the lock category. But serialized shows that take long breaks have tended to suffer badly in recent years, so we’re waiting to see how it does upon its return in late March.
“Vegas”: Slightly more viewers (13.3 million) than “Elementary,” but not as healthy in the 18-49 demo (2.3). “Unforgettable” had a similar profile last season and was (for a while, anyway) canceled, but “Vegas” seems like a fairly safe bet at the moment.
“Go On”: Matthew Perry‘s new show is not a breakout hit and has fallen some without “The Voice” as a lead-in, but it’s still the top-rated new comedy of the season.
“Malibu Country”: ABC has found some success by pairing Reba McEntire and Tim Allen (the star of “Last Man Standing”) on Friday nights. It has a pretty solid chance to return.
“Chicago Fire”: Its ratings are not flashy (8.4 million viewers, 2.4 in 18-49), but “Chicago Fire” has actually grown some over the course of its rookie season. That’s something of a rarity and bodes well for the show’s future.
“Nashville”: Overnight ratings are pedestrian, but DVR use drives the show to pretty respectable levels (9 million viewers and a 3.1 in adults 18-49). The question will be whether ABC thinks it can make money from the viewers who don’t watch the night it airs.
“The Neighbors”: Despite bad initial reviews, “The Neighbors” has done OK in the 8:30 spot of ABC’s Wednesday comedy block. It may depend on how good the network feels about its comedy pilots come spring.
“The New Normal”: Like “Go On,” the family comedy has declined some without “The Voice” on Tuesday nights. But it’s still pulling respectable numbers (6.1 million viewers, 2.5 in 18-49).
“Beauty and the Beast”: Its ratings profile is similar to “The Secret Circle” last season, and “The Secret Circle” is no more. Those who do like “BATB,” however, like it an awful lot — witness the show’s People’s Choice Award win for favorite new drama.
“The Mindy Project”: FOX’s Tuesday comedy block has been a disappointment. “Mindy” has been the better performer of the two new shows in the lineup and therefore seems more likely to get a second chance.
“Ben and Kate”: See above re: “The Mindy Project.” The charming comedy has struggled in the ratings, averaging only 3.2 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
“Guys With Kids”: Modest ratings (4.7 million viewers, 1.7 demo rating), scant buzz and a not-quite-full season of 17 episodes are not typically signs of a bright future. A possible saving grace is that NBC favorite son Jimmy Fallon is an executive producer.
“Deception”: The show’s ratings have been trending the wrong way after a so-so premiere. That’s not good.
“The Following”: The series premiere performed pretty well — but so did those of “Terra Nova” and “Alcatraz” in the same spot last season. It will be interesting to see if the numbers hold up in the coming weeks.
“The Carrie Diaries”: The “Sex and the City” prequel’s first two episodes have been an upgrade for The CW’s Monday schedule, but that’s not saying much. Will delayed viewing give it a bump?
“1600 Penn”: It’s aired only once in its regular timeslot, to ratings in line with the rest of NBC’s Thursday comedy slate — which is to say, not great.
Still to Come: ABC – “Zero Hour” (premieres Feb. 14), “Red Widow” (March 3), “Celebrity Diving” (March 19), “How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life” (April 3) and “Family Tools” (May 1); CBS – “The Job” (Feb. 8) and “Golden Boy” (Feb. 26); FOX – “The Goodwin Games” (premiere date TBA); NBC – “Do No Harm” (Jan. 31) and “Ready for Love” (March 31); The CW – “Cult” (Feb. 19).