The unofficial start of the 2011-12 TV season — the broadcast network upfronts — is only about a month and a half away, which means that it’s crunch time for a bunch of shows whose fates are undecided.
Welcome to Bubble Watch 2011, where we ask you one simple question about all the shows on the renewal-cancellation fence: Keep them or kill them?
First on the list is ABC, which has already renewed a number of shows, including “Castle,” Wednesday comedies “The Middle,” “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town” and the Thursday drama duo of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.” “Desperate Housewives” is pretty much a lock too.
With some help from the Renew/Cancel Index managed by our partners at TV by the Numbers, we figure that five ABC shows are on the bubble for renewal next season: comedies “Better With You” and “Mr. Sunshine” and dramas “Brothers & Sisters,” “Detroit 1-8-7” and “V.” and We’re not putting “No Ordinary Family” or “Off the Map” on this list because in our minds, they’re more likely to be canceled, as evidenced by several lead actors in both shows having taken pilot roles.
Vote in the polls below and let us know in the comments: Which of these shows should get another shot next season?
The case for it: It’s been a decent performer on Wednesday nights, retaining about 84 percent of the adults 18-49 rating from its lead-in, “The Middle,” and 80 percent of the total audience. It’s also worked as well as any multi-camera comedy ABC has had on the air in several seasons.
The case against it: ABC may want more than numbers like “BWY’s” 6.9 million viewers and 2.2 rating in adults 18-49 as it looks to keep its signature comedy block strong.
The case for it: Though it’s down from last season, the five-year-old show is still pulling in reasonable ratings, averaging 8.6 million viewers and a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49.
The case against it: The ratings aren’t just down, they’re down substantially. Total viewers have fallen 18 percent compared to this time last year, and the adults 18-49 rating is off almost 23 percent.
The case for it: It’s pretty much all creative: “Detroit” was the best new drama ABC put on the air this season. In a (somewhat) encouraging sign, none of its regular cast has moved on to pilot-season work.
The case against it: The numbers just aren’t there. The show drew 7.4 million viewers per week and a meager 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demo.
The case for it: Ratings (7.8 million viewers, 3.0 18-49) have been solid, and creatively the show has improved since its pilot as Matthew Perry and the rest of the cast got comfortable together.
The case against it: It’s dipped quite a bit in weeks where it didn’t have an original “Modern Family” as a lead-in.
The case for it: Compared to its spring run last year, the audience has actually grown. The show also ended on a pretty big cliffhanger, meaning the producers were at least hopeful for a renewal.
The case against it: Even the improved ratings aren’t especially great. The show has averaged 6.8 million viewers and a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49 this season.