Which New Fall Show Will Be Canceled Next?

The beginning of the fall television season is always so full of life, as new shows enter our living rooms with a spring in their step and promise on the horizon. But then, just a week later, the dark clouds inevitably roll in and death fills the air, his icy fingers poised above the cancellation button.

The Circle of Life for television shows is cruel: The business is at the mercy of an antiquated ratings system, nebulous DVR figures, internet piracy, and the whimsy of executives looking for ways to milk a show for other revenue streams. In short, being a new show ain't easy.

Lone Star was critically adored but invisible to American viewers, and was canceled just after it scratched out a 0.9 rating among the adult demo. But which new show is next on the chopping block? Let's take a look at the candidates to see who is in trouble based on early ratings, network trends, and pure guesswork.

As Good As Gone


The data: Premiere episode - 10.69 million viewers, 2.3/7 (special Wednesday air time). Second episode - 4.99 million viewers, 1.1/4 (regular Friday time slot).
The analysis: Look at that drop!
The hunch: This stands no chance. Goodbye, Mr. Smits, your show may not even make it to the second week of October.
UPDATE (October 11): NBC has halted production on the show and moved it to Saturdays, where it will ride off into the sunset.

Running Wilde

The data: Premiere episode - 5.87 million viewers, 2.5/7. Second episode - 4.73 million, 2.1/5.
The analysis: While Raising Hope goes up, Running Wilde goes down. Not good.
The hunch: The show is in big trouble. It will be canceled, it's just a matter of when.

The Whole Truth

The data: Premiere episode - 4.91 million viewers, 1.5/4.
The analysis: This one is pretty obvious, don't you think?
The hunch: Never stood a chance. Should be next to go.
UPDATE (October 26): Will finish its 13-episode order, but that's it. Canceled.

My Generation

The data: Premiere episode - 5.22 million, 1.6/5.
The analysis: The show got killed on Thursday night, and it's not looking good for any upward bump.
The hunch: People are going to try to put this down... talkin' 'bout My Generation. Should be ABC's second cancellation.
UPDATE (October 2): After doing terribly in Week 2, My Generation has earned the honor of being ABC's first cancellation of the season and the second cancellation overall after Lone Star.

In Danger


The data: Premiere episode - 7.94 million viewers, 2.5/7 rating/share. Second episode - 6.3 million viewers, 2.1/6
The analysis: It's not going to beat its timeslot competition (Castle, Hawaii Five-0), but it is on NBC, which has other things to worry about.
The hunch: Not going anywhere soon, but its chances for continuing beyond its 13-episode order are 50-50. As for a Season 2? No way.
UPDATE (October 20) Miraculously picked up for a full season, which says more about the state of NBC than it does this show.

Better With You

The data: Premiere episode - 7.97 million viewers, 2.5/7 rating/share. Second episode - 7.057 million viewers, 2.1/6
The analysis: A decent-sized drop for Week 2. If this goes under 2.0 next week, it's in big trouble.
The hunch: This is the weak link for ABC's comedy block. The network surely has something on the back burner that's ready to fill the spot.
UPDATE (October 25): Picked up for a full season.


The data: Premiere episode - 8.57 million viewers, 2.0/6. Second episode (approximated) - 7.00 million, 1.6/5
The analysis: The buzz on this J.J. Abrams show outweighed the results. And a sub-2.0 rating from Abrams isn't what NBC expected.
The hunch: This won't get its back nine episodes picked up, but if NBC is smart, it'd let Undercovers run out its initial 13-episode order, if only to keep a good relationship with Abrams.

Safe... For Now

$#*! My Dad Says

The data: Premiere episode - 12.48 million viewers, 3.9/12. Second episode yet to appear.
The analysis: The show was thumped by critics and fans alike. But it's on CBS, which draws viewers like old moths to a flame, and it's got The Big Bang Theory as a lead-in. Were the impressive premiere numbers simply a result of curiosity?
The hunch: The numbers will go down, but probably not enough to get this canceled. Plus it's cheap to make. That all points to a full season. As for a Season 2? It's very possible; hey, According to Jim ran for eight.
UPDATE (October) Picked up for a $*#!ing full season.


The data: Premiere episode - 2.99 million viewers, 1.2/3.
The analysis: Remember, this is the CW. This was a great premiere.
The hunch: If the network renewed Life Unexpected, it'll renew this.
UPDATE (October 24): Picked up for a full season, ra-ra-ra!

The Event

The data: Premiere episode - 11.19 million viewers, 3.7/9. Second episode - 9.06 million, 2.9/7
The analysis: The second-week drop was expected, and the fact that the numbers didn't completely crumble is a good sign. There's good buzz about the show drowning out the detractors, but viewers are notoriously picky with serialized sci-fi dramas.
The hunch: Lost hovered around 9 million viewers during much of its final season, and this is hit-starved NBC we're talking about. It's in for a full season, and probably for a second as well. NBC's biggest new show by far.
UPDATE (October 20) Picked up for a full season.

Raising Hope

The data: Premiere episode - 7.48 million viewers, 3.1/8. Second episode - 7.48 million, 3.2/9.
The analysis: The numbers actually went up? Fox wants a successful live-action comedy so badly, and this could be it.
The hunch: This is good for the season and probably next as Fox builds a new comedy empire.
UPDATE (October 6) Fox has picked up the show for a full season, the first new show to receive such an order.


The data: Premiere episode - 7.44 million viewers, 3.5/9.
The analysis: The great premiere numbers have to be an anomaly. The curiosity won't last this week. I expect a big drop-off for Episode 2.
The hunch: Don't be fooled by the first week's numbers. With Parks and Recreation waiting in the wings, Outsourced should be on a short leash. But then again... a 3.5? It did much better than both Community and 30 Rock. Expect NBC to ride this one as long as it can.
UPDATE (October 20) Picked up for a full season.

The Defenders

The data: Premiere episode - 12.09 million viewers, 2.9/8.
The analysis: It's on CBS. It's in a non-competitive 10:00 pm timeslot. It's got Jim Belushi. Hey, two out of three sometimes works in this business.
The hunch: There's a very good chance this could be on for a while. Jim Belushi says, "Thank you."
UPDATE (October 21) Picked up for a full season.

Detroit 1-8-7

The data: Premiere episode - 9.75 million viewers, 2.4/7. Second episode - 8.18 million, 2.0/6.
The analysis: Another ABC cop drama and similar results. Middling. Not great, not bad. But good enough for now.
The hunch: It won't be a hit, but it won't be a total bomb. Look for this to go a full season and be a bubble show for return next year, which it probably won't.
UPDATE (October 25): Granted four extra episodes. Full-season pickup pending?

Should Live a Long, Happy Life

Hawaii Five-0

The data: Premiere episode - 13.83 million viewers, 3.8/10. Second episode - 12.72 million viewers, 3.6/10.
The analysis: Nothing to fear here.
The hunch: CBS does it again. Almost guaranteed for Season Two.
UPDATE (October 21) Picked up for a full season.

Mike & Molly

The data: Premiere episode - 12.24 million viewers, 3.9/10. Second episode - 11.12 million viewers, 3.7/9.
The analysis: Not much of a drop at all. The Two and a Half Men lead-in should do nothing but help this show.
The hunch: Barring any unforeseen disasters, expect Mike & Molly to go the distance.
UPDATE (October 21) Picked up for a full season.


The data: Most recent episode - 3.22 million, 1.1/3.
The analysis: Most other CW shows hover around 2 million viewers. 1.1 is nothing to get excited about, but it's pretty standard for this network.
The hunch: Looking pretty safe for now.
UPDATE (October 24): Picked up for a full season.

Remember, the networks will make the final decisions. These hunches are purely that—hunches. Who can really get into the head of a network executive?

What shows do you think are in trouble? And what shows do you think SHOULD be canceled?

Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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