Dear Kathy Bates,
Remember how NBC cancelled your Harry’s Law drama series in spring 2012, at the end of its second season, even though it was then the network’s most-watched drama series — because NBC suits felt its audience skewed too old and Warner Bros, not NBCU, owned the show? If memory serves me, you were asked about this at Summer TV Press Tour 2013, and you observed, “I think they treated us like shit. They kicked us to the curb. They disrespected us; they disrespected our 7-11 million viewers. I think they’re getting what they deserve this year, Thank you.”
I’m writing to make sure you are aware that, last night, in the premiere of your new FX mini-series, American Horror Story: Coven you attracted 3.9 million 18-49-year-olds, at the same time NBC aired an episode of a new drama series — one it DOES own and which it presumes will do better than you could at attracting 18-49-year-old viewers. That new drama — ironically, a remake of the late 60′s NBC cop drama Ironside — attracted an average of 1.4 million viewers in the 18-49-year-old age bracket. That is less than half of your young-viewer audience. Ironside did come very close to matching your 3.87 million demo viewers – but it was the 3.64 million viewers Ironside attracted in the 50+ demo. That is a demo in which NBC places little value, as you learned on Harry’s Law.
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Kathy Bates spat on NBC today. Coming to Summer TV Press Tour 2013 to talk, cryptically, about her role in the latest iteration of Ryan Murphy’s FX anthology series American Horror Story: Coven, she got asked if it took an experience like this one to get her back into the TV series business after her unpleasant experience on NBC’s Harry’s Law. “You bet!” Bates barked back. NBC cancelled Harry’s Law in the spring of ’12, at the end of its second season, even though it was the network’s most watched drama series — because its audience skewed older and Warner Bros owned the show, not NBCU. Everybody knows this story. Even so, the TV critic asked Bates to elaborate. Bates at first declined to rise to the bait, saying “I don’t want to give them any air time.” About 30 seconds later, however, the cork popped and she began to foam over.
Related: Kathy Bates Tackles Serial Killer Socialite In Coven
“I think they treated us like shit. They kicked us to the curb. They disrespected us; they disrespected our 7-11 million viewers. I think they’re getting what they deserve this year, Thank you.”
Series cancelled before their time rarely fare well at the Emmys in their last go-around. But NBC’s Harry’s Law defied the odds, landing two noms for its second and final season — the same as last year. Star Kathy Bates earned her second nom in the best actress in a drama series category, and Jean Smart was nominated in the guest actress field for her recurring role as D.A. Roseanna Remmick. David E. Kelley’s legal dramedy was nominated in the same categories last year, winning for guest actor (Paul McCrane). Emmy winner Kelley said he didn’t have any expectations going into Emmy season. “Once you out of sight, you tend to go out of mind,” he said. Nevertheless, “we knew we had first-class actress in Kathy Bates, and Jean Smart had a terrific turn. We just adore Kathy and still feel that she deserved better with the show.”
Related: NBC Cancels ‘Harry’s Law’ After 2 Seasons
Bates proved her chops with two Emmy noms today, including a guest-starring nod for her her turn as Charlie Harper’s ghost on Two And A Half Men. “I’m thrilled and honored most particularly about Harry’s Law which has been near and dear to my heart and I miss so much already,” said the actress, who shared her sadness over the cancellation of the series back in May.
Harry’s Law was a TV rarity — … Read More »
NBC is bringing back 13 comedy series — seven new and six returning — vs. 9 dramas — five new and four returning, so it was clear its schedule was going to be comedy-heavy. But the network is making a big statement with comedy blocks on four nights: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That is a very rapid expansion since for a number of years the network had comedies solely on Thursday until opening a second night on Wednesday last season. This fall, the network is launching two more blocks, one from 9-10 PM on Tuesday, following The Voice results show, with Go On and The New Normal, and one on Friday at 8 PM with Whitney and Community. Loading up on comedies was intentional, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Comedy once was the backbone of NBC, and I think we need to really plan for the future. It is good for the health of the network. People are open to comedy more than they have been in long time.”
NBC’s 2012-13 Fall Schedule
With the exception of The Office and Parks & Recreation, which were picked up with full-season, 22-episode orders, most NBC returning comedy series have 13-episode orders, including Community, 30 Rock and Up All Night. Greenblatt was quick to note that “a 13-episode order … Read More »
NBC has pulled the plug on one of its most watched series, David E. Kelley‘s Harry’s Law starring Kathy Bates. The Oscar winner posted the news on Twitter. “Sad news today. Harry’s Law will not be renewed for a 3rd season. We are all terribly sad. Many thanks for all your support.” A rare TV series with a 60something as the lead, Harry’s Law defied the odds and, while very soft in the younger demo, drew eyeballs. This season it has been NBC’s second most-watched drama series with 8.8 million viewers, just a smidgen behind Smash, which had a Super Bowl-boosted launch and NBC’s biggest series, The Voice, as a lead-in. It has been a bittersweet week for Kelley who just got a series order at TNT for his new medical drama Monday Mornings.
While Fox wrapped its new series pickups and existing series renewals within a couple of hours yesterday, for NBC, whose upfront presentation is on the same day as Fox, it has become a week-long ordeal. After early series pickup of comedy Go On and renewals of Grimm and Smash last month, the network began its orders/renewals in earnest on Monday morning. Four days later, it’s still nowhere near done.
NBC’s highest-rated comedy series, The Office, is yet to get a renewal. (With stars Ed Helms, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer poised to return that now appears imminent.) The fate of NBC’s second most watched drama series, Harry’s Law (8.8 million viewers, only a fraction behind the Voice-boosted Smash with 9.0 million), is hanging in the balance. There’s no word on Parks & Recreation, Up All Night and Whitney. The Office, Parks & Recreation and Up All Night are all fully expected to return, and I hear their renewals may be done in one fell swoop. Buzz is also encouraging on Harry’s Law, which I hear is eyed for a potential 13-episode midseason order. The multi-camera Whitney is on the fence but not dead as the sole multi-camera comedy series picked up for next season so far, newbie Guys With Kids, is still looking for a companion.
Which brings us to the NBC pilots. Word is the network has not officially released those that haven’t been picked up despite speculation that it is pretty much done with its orders. That includes two of NBC’s highest-testing and well-received pilots, the multi-camera comedies Daddy’s Girls and Lady Friends, which had been in limbo but presumed dead. (Will ABC or CBS make a play for them?) On the drama side, none of the pilots that have not been picked up already seem to be in contention anymore. Read More »
Harry’s Law is featured on NBC’s just-released midseason schedule, so this seams like a foregone conclusion, but word is that NBC is giving a full-season to David E. Kelley’s sophomore series. Also looking good to get a back order is freshman Grimm, which also is on NBC’s midseason schedule. UPDATE: I have learned that for now, the fairytale drama has received an order for additional scripts. Ominously missing from the schedule is rookie Prime Suspect. It seems like NBC brass in finally throwing the towel on the struggling remake. UPDATE: A rep for NBC says that the network brass are “considering our options” on Prime Suspect, which has not been officially canceled.
NBC To Give ‘Harry’s Law’ Full-Season Order; ‘Prime Suspect’ Gone?
After a pretty dismal fall, NBC is shaking things up in midseason with several scheduling changes. Gone from the lineup is struggling freshman Prime Suspect (NBC says it hasn’t made a final decision on its cancellation), while four series — Whitney, Up All Night, Harry’s Law and Rock Center With Brian Williams — are on the move. NBC is creating a multi-camera comedy block in the 8-9 PM Wednesday hour with Whitney and midseason comedy Are You There, Chelsea (formerly Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea; No alcohol-flavored title in the family hour.) The block, which will debut January 11, brings together two female comedians with similar sensibility in Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler, on whose books Chelsea is based. A month later, the two comedies will be followed by low-rated newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams. It will take over the Wednesday 9 PM slot from Harry’s Law, which is moving to Sundays. Rock Center had to move out of the Monday 10 PM slot to make room for NBC’s highest-profile new series this season, Broadway drama Smash, which will premiere on February 6 and run in the post-The Voice slot as originally scheduled. NBC’s other changes for midseason include new comedy Up All Night moving to Whitney‘s Thursday 9:30 PM slot; 30 Rock replacing Community on Thursdays at 8 PM; and the John Grisham adaptation The Firm, originally slated for a Sunday midseason run, sliding into Prime Suspect‘s Thursday 10 PM slot. The order for Community has not been reduced, so it’s unclear what NBC will do with the remaining episodes of the college-set comedy. Missing from the midseason lineup is NBC’s ambitious new drama series Awake, which recently took an unplanned break to work on scripts. Here is NBC’s midseason schedule (with premiere dates) that also includes new reality series Fashion Star on Tuesdays at 10 PM and the return of Celebrity Apprentice on Sundays: Read More »
NBC Unveils Midseason Schedule, Moves ‘Whitney’, ‘Up All Night’, ‘Rock Center’ & ‘Harry’s Law’
I hear that NBC is about to make some scheduling moves. The network is keeping mum, but there is speculation that rookie comedies Up All Night and Whitney, both with full-season orders, may be swapping places. Up All Night is getting murdered in the Wednesday 8 PM slot, so it will probably benefit from a protected run behind The Office. It also is single-camera and has a workplace element like the rest of NBC’s Thursday’s lineup. Up All Night will likely move to the Thursday 9:30 PM spot, but Whitney may be a bit too racy for the Wednesday family hour. Also possibly on the move is NBC’s new fairytale drama Grimm, which started off strong in the Friday 9 PM slot but has been slipping since. While the series’ long-term potential is still unclear, given the dearth of strong prospects at NBC this fall — especially on the drama side — the network probably should give the newbie a shot. Read More »
NBC has given struggling sophomore dramedy Harry’s Law an order for six additional scripts. Because the series was a midseason replacement last year, its original second-season order was for 13 episodes. While short of a back episodic order, the script pickup still represents a vote of confidence for Harry’s Law, which has faced an uphill battle in its new Wednesday 9 PM slot this fall. But while its Live+Same Day adults 18-49 rating has been underwhelming, stuck at a 1.2 for the past two weeks, the show received some good news yesterday when it got a 42% lift in Live+7 to a 1.7 demo rating. Additionally, David E. Kelley’s legal dramedy, which seems perfectly suited for Friday night, draws substantial audiences, most recently averaging 8.5 million viewers in Live+SD. (For premiere week, the series’ viewership grew to a 9.8 million viewers after a 30% DVR bump in Live+7.) NBC brass also has been behind the show, most recently running back-to-back repeats of Harry’s Law in primetime this past Saturday.