Quarantine Breathes New Life Into These Bubble Shows

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Being a bubble show is not fun. 

The fate of bubble shows typically comes down to the wire, meaning that many of them go without a conclusive ending. 

While the fate of many bubble shows hinges on how networks believe their replacements will perform, that decision usually comes after networks have screened pilots. 

Bubble Collage

With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, production on pilots has ground to a halt, meaning that networks will need to make decisions based on the idea of the project, the cast, and future storylines. 

It's a testing time, for sure, but it also means that the chances for some of the more marginal performers have improved. 

Some of the shows have benefited from more people watching TV, and others are merely benefiting from the lack of options at the networks in question. 

The marketing process for a new show can be rigorous, and with the broadcast networks set to unveil their schedules in May to advertisers, it means decisions will need to be made soon. 

Quarantined - Tall  - The Resident Season 3 Episode 19

Bringing back a middling show instead of putting all of the resources into a new show the network does not have as much faith in is probably a better option to network executives.

It might also be beneficial to leave some "comforting" choices for viewers, and the well-known, even if not perfectly received, can be very comforting, indeed.

To that end, we've rounded up some of the shows that have much better chances at renewal now than they did before the pandemic rocked the industry. 

The Final Showdown (Long) - Stumptown Season 1 Episode 18

Stumptown - ABC

Stumptown Season 1 averaged 2.8 million viewers ad a 0.5 rating -- tying with the terminal Emergence as ABC's lowest-rated freshman series. 

But there was an undeniable buzz for Stumptown. It delivered solid post-airdate ratings and its season finale had its best total viewer tally in two months. 

And if we're going by TV Fanatic fans, then ther must be an audience out there that the Nielsens are missing! 

It is not a slam dunk for renewal, but it is a worthy contender for a small order to test the waters. 


For Life - ABC

This 50 Cent-produced drama is averaging 2.6 million viewers and a 0.6 rating. It doubles the 18-49 tally with a week of DVR factored in. 

The series has been well-received and has remained steady throughout its first season. It should be back if it doesn't collapse in the second half. 

single parents

Single Parents - ABC

This comedy series shed almost 30 percent in the demo year to year, but it is still narrowly ahead of black-ish and American Housewife.

It should score a third season renewal, unless ABC believes in all of its comedy pilots. 

The cast is stellar and even without ratings, the word of mouth has been decent.

Time will tell on this one. 

Ready For Anything - The Rookie Season 2 Episode 14

The Rookie - ABC

The Rookie moved to Sundays in the fall and came down considerably for it to be considered a bubble show. The first three episodes of The Rookie Season 2 averaged a 0.6 rating. 

The most recent three episodes have averaged a 0.8 rating.

The Rookie Fanatics say that this show is surely worth more of our time, and the cast is super involved on social media. With those factors, it's got great word of mouth.

It's possible American Idol is also helping the series, but it is blossoming into a hit and will definitely be back. 

Gary Gets Serious - Tall  - A Million Little Things Season 2 Episode 19

A Million Little Things - ABC

This tearjerker of a drama was turning in solid ratings, but it started posting series lows when it moved back to the 10/9c slot. 

However, it has started to inch back up in recent weeks and is now a lock for a third season renewal. 

ABC would be wise to keep it on Thursdays next season because it reguarly comes first or second in the slot. 

And with our fabulous reviews and round tables, ABC should see the enormous potential for this to be long-term!

Bob Hearts Abishola - CBS

Bob Hearts Abishola - CBS

This CBS comedy is averaging 5.9 million viewers and a 0.75 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. Its most recent episode, however, delivered 6.9 million viewers and a 0.94 rating. 

After months of uncertainty, the series is now a lock for a second season. 

Career Advice - All Rise Season 1 Episode 4

All Rise - CBS

All Rise was always at a disadvantage because it was not owned by CBS. Ratings have started rising and it is now higher rated than Evil, Tommy, and SWAT. 

While it is not a certain renewal, there's a good chance it will get a shorter order for CBS to use as spackle on the schedule in case something new fails. 

Scared Annie - Good Girls Season 3 Episode 6

Good Girls - NBC

Good Girls is down around 20 percent year-to-year, but it recently logged season highs. The series has a lucrative Netflix deal that should keep it on the air. 

Our reviews and round tables on social media are like wildfire, so steady viewership remains, and that's not something to take lightly.

Whether NBC will opt for another expanded season, we don't know, but it should be back. 

Bone Collector Poster

Lincoln Rhyme: The Hunt for the Bone Collector - NBC

This series lacked the buzz you would expect from a show of its pedigree, but it ultimately averaged around 3.7 million viewers and a 0.5 rating. 

These are solid numbers for Fridays, and are probably inflated by people being quarantined. NBC will probably renewe it at this rate. 

What to Believe? - Manifest Season 2 Episode 11

Manifest - NBC

Manifest has always been a heavy hitter on the DVR front, but its live ratings were getting worrisome early into Manifest Season 2

However, the numbers have risen to the point that it is now considered a certain renewal as a result of the lockdown. 

After all, Manifest is one of those shows that generates a lot of conversation, and who wants that conversation to focus on cancelation?

Bill On the Hunt - Deputy Season 1 Episode 13

Deputy - FOX

Deputy is not seeing much of a gain in the ratings with the quarantine, but being a steady performer should bode well when it comes to renewal time. 

The cast and showrunner really love making the show, and they're hopeful to get more time to tell their stories.

And every episode gets better, so hopefully, the network brass sees it's potential to grow year to year.

If FOX has no pilots to look at, the series goes up to a likely renewal. That's good news. 

Checking Records - Tall  - The Resident Season 3 Episode 18

The Resident - FOX

The series took a big hit in the ratings moving to Tuesdays, but recent episodes have surged to season highs. 

The show remains popular with viewers, but the increased ratings have put the series up to a certain renewal. 

It's one of the best medical shows around and deserves higher ratings!

Just ask all of you, right? We love The Resident here at TV Fanatic!

A Sip and See Gone Wrong  - Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 17

Prodigal Son - FOX

Serialized dramas tend to lose steam as they progress, and while there has been some slippage, the series has stabilized to the point that it will be back. 

As long as the mysteries and the snappy, darkly humorous dialogue continues, there are plenty of directions for Prodigal Son to grow.

It's just a matter of when FOX opts to renew it at this stage. 

Okay, TV Fanatics. 

What are your thoughts on these shows looking better for renewal?

Hit the comments. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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