TV Feature: Fall 2011 New Network Series Bubble Watch

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CHICAGO – It feels like only yesterday that we were naming the most promising shows of 2011 (and would like to point out that our #1 was the first program given a full-season order for just one second).

Just about a month into the new season, what are the breakout hits? What’s canceled and what will soon join that club? What could turn around and build an audience? Let us guide the way network by network.

It might seem premature to put shows on the bubble for cancellation a month into their existence but tell that to the producers of “The Playboy Club,” “Free Agents,” or “H8R,” three shows that have already felt the sharp blade of the cancellation axe. TV watchers are at that point where they’re trying to decide if they want to devote a season pass to a new program and they don’t want to get involved with something only to see it get canceled. What’s next? What will survive? Let us guide the way with our predicted fate for every new show.

ABC
7 New Shows — 2 Likely Full-Seasons, 2 Likely To Be Canceled, 3 Yet to Premiere

Charlie's Angels
Charlie’s Angels
Photo credit: ABC

“Charlie’s Angels
The actresses on the latest failed reboot better start asking Charlie for a new assignment. This could be canceled by the time you read this and seems like a likely bet for the next to go. It opened weakly but it’s been the erosion from week to week that’s been remarkable. People are sampling and not coming back. Will Be Canceled Soon

“Last Man Standing”
Debuts tonight. Our critic Matt Fagerholm hated it and I agree wholeheartedly. One of the worst new shows of the season and if there’s any justice it will be quickly axed. Which means, of course, it will probably run five years. We’ll be back with ratings news on it tomorrow.

“Man Up”
Debuts next week, October 18th. Sneak preview — it’s awful.

“Once Upon a Time”
Debuts on October 23rd. Sneak preview — meh.

“Pan Am”
Here’s another case of a show that came out of the gate looking like a winner but is seriously losing steam as it continues around the track. The show fell hard in week three this past Sunday, down 27% in the 18-49 demo with an anemic 1.9 rating there (below 2.0 is unacceptable for a show on the big three) and a total just over 6 million viewers. For comparison, “The Good Wife” in the same time slot is on constant bubble watch and it had almost 10 million viewers this week. In other words, “Pan Am” is in trouble. It doesn’t help the show that ABC has a LOT of quality product waiting in the mid-season wings. Something will have to go to make room and it will be the stewardesses, ending the network’s brief flirtation with finding a “Mad Men” clone. Will Be Canceled Mid-Season

“Revenge”
The guilty pleasure of 2011 started very strong and most assumed that it would land an almost-immediate full-season order but it’s dipped a bit as it’s gone along. The numbers are “good enough for ABC” with the 10/5 episode landing over 7.5 million total with a 2.4 18-49 rating, ratings that compare to “Law & Order: SVU” (but not to “CSI”). I think if “Revenge” has plateaued it will be around but it better not continue to slide and the fact is that it’s doing incredibly well when compared to what was in the time slot last year, which is all that really matters — improvement. Likely Full Season

“Suburgatory”
Despite mediocre reviews, it’s done surprisingly well, drawing over 9 million viewers in its last airing, keeping almost all of its lead-in audience (“The Middle”) and actually improving on it in the 18-49 demo. It seems almost guaranteed that the sitcom will get a full-season order, especially with “Happy Endings” dipping strongly on the same night in total viewers (although holding in some key demos). Sadly, that superior show is more likely to get canceled before “Suburgatory”. Likely Full Season

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