'Happy Endings,' 'Nashville' and 'Body of Proof' on the bubble: Keep 'em or kill 'em?
That also means it's time for Zap2it's annual Bubble Watch of shows that could fall on either side of the renewal line at May's upfronts, when the networks announce their schedules for the 2013-14 season. First up is ABC, which per usual has several shows, both comedies and dramas, in bubble-land.
For all the ink and pixels devoted to cataloguing NBC's ratings woes this season, ABC is actually doing worse: It ranks fourth among the broadcast networks in adults 18-49. (Yes, the NFL plays a sizable part in goosing NBC's numbers in the fall, but still.) The Alphabet has a big hit in "Modern Family," and "Scandal" has broken out in its second season. "Grey's Anatomy," "The Middle" and "Castle" still draw well, and "Dancing With the Stars" showed signs of life with its spring premiere after a weak all-star cycle in the fall.
But as has been the case too often in recent years, ABC's crop of new shows has for the most part fizzled. You'll see a few of them below, along with a pair of third-year shows that have never quite found secure footing.
As always, our question to you is simple: Do you want to keep these shows around for next season, or kill them and make room for new material? Vote in the polls below and have your say in the comments. Polls will be open through April 7.
"Body of Proof"
The case for it: Although its demographic numbers are low, the crime drama starring Dana Delany draws a consistent audience. Ratings got a decent bump with the return of "DWTS" last week.
The case against it: Steady audience or not, its demographic numbers (1.5 in adults 18-49) are not good, and demographic ratings are often what drives decision-making. It hasn't show much ability to stand on its own without a "DWTS" lead-in.
The case for it: ABC has laid down a gauntlet for fans of the show with promos saying "you can save 'Happy Endings'" to tout its move to Fridays. If enough people take heed, an improbable fourth season (following the improbable second and third seasons) could happen.
The case against it: The show has pulled smaller ratings than a lot of Friday shows this season -- airing on Tuesdays.
The case for it: Reba McEntire's first-year show has proved to be a pretty good companion for "Last Man Standing" on Fridays, holding onto about 90 percent of its lead-in's audience (both overall and in the 18-49 demo).
The case against it: Although it's likely among the safer shows on this list, ABC could hold out hope for something with more breakout potential here.
The case for it: It's one of the few survivors among ABC's rookie drama class. Not a ton of people -- roughly 6 million -- watch "Nashville" when it debuts Wednesday nights, but they do watch it. It grows to 8.8 million (and from 1.9 to 3.1 in the 18-49 demo) in Nielsen's Live +7 DVR ratings.
The case against it: An expensive show that has had fits and starts creatively might need bigger numbers to be a viable long-term play.
The case for it: One of the worst-reviewed pilots of this season has made good strides creatively, with more than a few critics reconsidering their initial harsh takes on the show. Ratings have been steady, and it holds about three-quarters of the lead-in audience from "The Middle."
The case against it: Despite all that, there has been precious little buzz around the show. Its retention of "The Middle's" audience is lower than that of "Suburgatory" in the same timeslot last season.
The case for it: Not very strong at this point, with modest ratings and middling reviews. ABC hasn't tipped its hand one way or the other.
The case against it: See above. Although the March 24 episode was up a bit over recent weeks, it's still mired in the low end of the ratings.