The success of “The Voice” and “Revolution” this season has helped NBC find at least a bit of a ratings foothold this season after years of struggles. The network’s struggles when those two shows were off the air in the winter, however, shows it still has a long way to go to become competitive full-time.
That could mean big changes for NBC next season, and thus it has the biggest list of shows in Zap2it’s Bubble Watch this year. Nearly all of the network’s comedies could go either way, and there are a couple of dramas that are on the fence too. “Revolution’s” solid return after four months off and the continued steady performance of “Chicago Fire” and “Grimm” should make them locks for renewal, and former bubble perennial “Parks and Recreation” is looking pretty good for a return as well.
That still leaves a lot of question marks, though, so let’s get to the polls. As with our the ABC, CBS and FOX bubble polls, voting will be open through April 7, or until the network definitively renews or cancels a show.
The case for it: After mixed reviews from critics initially, the show has found some decent creative footing. A strong and game cast has helped spread the comedic wealth.
The case against it: Hardly anyone knows that, as the ratings picture is pretty bleak. It draws only a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49, which is the lowest among the network’s comedies (tied with fellow bubble dweller “Whitney”).
The case for it: After all the agita about creator Dan Harmon leaving last season, the show has held up reasonably well in the ratings this year. It’s down only a couple tenths in the 18-49 demo, about what you might expect for the fourth season of a show. Producer Sony might also try to make it worthwhile for NBC to air another season so it can get to the syndication milestone of 100 episodes.
The case against it: Those ratings — a 1.7 in adults 18-49 and about 3.7 million viewers — still aren’t anything to crow about, and there’s a sense among many fans that some of the creative spark is gone from the show.
The case for it: The Matthew Perry-led show remains the top-rated freshman comedy of the season, even after a couple weak months without “The Voice” as a lead-in. It rebounded pretty nicely when paired with the singing show again.
The case against it: Oh, those “Voice”-less months. The show struggled to get much above a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demo without the big lead-in, raising questions about its ability to stand on its own. A couple of airings behind “The Office” in April could be key.
The case for it: Two words: Jimmy Fallon. He’s an executive producer of the series, and as he moves closer to “The Tonight Show,” the network may want to stay in business with his production company too.
The case against it: Like several of the other comedies on this list, the ratings just aren’t there to really warrant another season. “GWK” averaged 4.2 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demo.
The case for it: Paired with “Go On” on Tuesday nights, the Ryan Murphy-Ali Adler comedy has produced passable ratings (5.1 million viewers, 2.1 in 18-49) and garnered decent reviews in its first season.
The case against it: Like “Go On,” it cratered without “The Voice” as a lead-in.
The case for it: Though it’s never been a breakout hit, “Parenthood” has quietly become No. 2 drama in adults 18-49, behind “Revolution.” Its fans are passionate and show up every week.
The case against it: With four seasons under its belt and a large ensemble cast, costs could be climbing. It feels like it should be safe, but NBC hasn’t said so yet.
The case for it: Not much on the ratings end, but the show got a surprise pickup last year, so who knows?
The case against it: It’s down 18 percent in viewers and 27 percent in adults 18-49 compared to last season.