Mailbag: Is 'Harry's Law' NBC's 'The Good Wife?'

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

April 30th, 2012

'Harry's Law' will be renewed, you'll see just how wrong you are!  Harry's Law is NBC's 'The Good Wife' and will be renewed!

San Antonio, TX

There's no question that if Harry's Law is renewed that Bill and I will view it as monumentally wrong.

Though Kathy Bates has an Oscar from 22 years ago, I don't sense the Emmy buzz and critical acclaim for Harry's Law that exists for The Good Wife, though it's possible I missed it.

CBS has the luxury of shows that perform very, very well.  NBC doesn't have a The Big Bang Theory or an NCIS that effectively allows CBS to subsidize a low-rated critical darling like The Good Wife in the hopes of making it back in syndication. And whatever its syndication prospects, The Good Wife will have enough episodes for stripped syndication after next season. Moreover, where The Good Wife is produced by CBS, Harry's Law isn't produced by NBC -- it's produced by Warner Bros. NBC can't benefit from the prospect of syndication other than receiving licensing discounts from Warner Bros and with Harry's Law more than 2 seasons away from the episodes necessary for syndication it's hard to imagine Warner Bros giving the show away and it's reasonable to question whether NBC can afford more Harry's Law even if it was free.

Harry's Law is probably more closely compared to NCIS, with one notable exception. Like Harry's Law and most CBS shows, NCIS skews old and has lots of total viewers, but despite its older skewing NCIS is the number one broadcast drama this season with adults 18-49. Harry's Law is one of the lowest-rated dramas with adults 18-49 on all of broadcast TV and excluding other NBC shows and the CW there aren't any favorable comparisons to make.

I don't buy The Good Wife comparison.

  • Common Anomaly

    “I wasn’t wrong on either Fringe or The Good Wife this season.”

    You weren’t right on either Fringe or The Good Wife this season, too. Only two possible outcomes, canceled or renewed. You were on the record as saying they both would be canewed.

  • Bill Gorman

    “@Cliff, whether it’s objective or not, I’m definitely not Bill! Outside of Sunday night ratings posts this is the first time I’ve used Harry’s Law in a headline in months (if not the whole season). I have never bashed Kathy Bates, the producers or even the show. Only its ratings.”

    100% truth, but like the Fringe prediction blowback I received, consider it a cost of doing business together! ;)

    To all the crazy HL fans, I (not Robert) am the one poking the sharp stick in your eye, and Kathy Bates’ and the HL Exec producer’s. In Kathy and the EP’s case, they poked first. In the case of the crazy fans, I may have been the initial poker ;)

  • Dan S

    I would think TVBTN would be rooting for this show. Just as Fringe fans found this sight more have come to it because of the comments made by Kathy Bates & it’s producers. IF Harry’s Law is losing money then I can more easily accept its demise but does anyone really know if it’s in the red or not ?

  • Robert Seidman

    @Dan S. neither rooting for, nor against but from a site traffic perspective, Harry’s Law is nowhere close to Fringe, comments from Kathy Bates didn’t move the traffic needle.

  • Bill Gorman

    “I would think TVBTN would be rooting for this show. Just as Fringe fans found this sight more have come to it because of the comments made by Kathy Bates & it’s producers.”

    We do not *root* for or against any show. Crazy fan opinions to the contrary.

    And while I’m happy to get readers by any means necessary, HL hasn’t provided a noticeable amount (like Fringe or Chuck as often cited examples), and after it’s canceled, there will be other shows, there always are.

    Edit: Robert’s typing speed > mine.

  • jjhill83

    It’d be one thing if “Harry’s Law’s” 18-49 ratings were even remotely in the same ballpark as “The Good Wife.” But they aren’t. “Harry’s Law” has failed to crack a 1 rating in the demo.

    Clearly, it is confusing to see a show that has that many total viewers likely to be cancelled. However, networks don’t make money off of viewers. They make money off of advertising. Advertising rates are set by the demographics.

    NBC just simply isn’t in the same position as CBS. CBS has a number of powerhouse that can carry the load of a critical-darling straggler… IF the CBS believes in the possibility of making back the in-house show’s deficit in syndication (or an outside studio gives a sweetheart deal). But make no mistake, “The Good Wife” remains on CBS’s schedule at the network’s pleasure, not for its contributions. (I say that as a HUGE fan of it creatively, who recognizes its ratings struggles).

    NBC on the other hand is in a “throw everything you can overboard” position.

  • Caringtype1(Save Harry!)

    Harry’s Law is a fantastic show, and will be renewed, plain and simple.

  • Ultima

    And the category is, List of shows, which you have put on Bubble or even one step below, and still got renewed.

    It’s almost as if “on the bubble” doesn’t mean “will be canceled.”

  • bj

    Soon the 18 – 49 demo will be credit maxed out and advertisers may have to rethink??? The real $ could be in the hands of “boomers” if the kids haven’t exhausted it

  • Common Anomaly

    @ Cliff Macke

    Bill Lawrence, creator of Cougar Town, thinks Robert Seidman and Bill Gorman are Woodward and Bernstein. He tweeted Robert Seidman that he “wrote piece on BS of current [Nielsen] system, and was encouraged not to print by reps, but I’d love to talk about it sometime.” He even told Robert Seidman that he would email his Nielsen manifesto to Robert if it’s “off the record.” His piece was entitled, “Cougar Conspiracy: The Rise Behind Modern Family, The Fall By Nielsen Families.”

  • Rob R

    Harry’s Law was critically bashed when it debuted, the opposite of the The Good Wife’s continued basking in critical glow. Their common denominator is that the Total Viewer appeal greatly exceeds their 18-49 demo appeal.

  • KevinSW

    I blame the lack of Britney Snow for the fall in Ratings, all the young boys turned away once they got rid of the cute blond girl.

  • carole

    I just started watching TGW and HL I’m liking both shows. TGW is better, but HL I would watch anytime over The Amazing Race. Can’t stand Rachel, from Big Brother. UGH

  • Dan

    The Good Wife will probably get 19 episodes next season and be cancelled after the fourth. CBS cancels its lowest rated dramas and next season it will be a couple of Freshman series and The Good Wife and which ever CSI gets renewed for next season. If Miami and NY are both axed this season Wife will likely be axed May 2013, and currently out of all the dramas currently renewed for 2012-2013 theres no other drama that seems likely to be axed in May 2013.

  • Tommy Mickens

    @ Bill Gorman

    “Hedge those bets Tommy Mickens, hedge those bets. You’ll be right no matter what happens!”

    That’s rich, considering you had shows like Raising Hope on the bubble (hedging your bets) when it was obviously going to be renewed and shows like Fringe on the bubble (hedging your bets) all season and the fact that in general your site is built around the fact that the two of you hedge your bets all the time (what’s the name of Robert’s weekly column, again?).

    So wouldn’t you say it’s a bit hypocritical for you to needle me over and over again about this cya/hedging bets that you think I’m doing? I’ll be anxiously awaiting your admission that I’m right on this particular point and your apology. :D

    The fact is, I’m being prudent on HL and imo, it should be either likely cancellation or on the bubble. I’d accept either as prudent. Otherwise, what’s the point of having anything as “likely” either way or “toss up”? If you’re so worried about people “hedging their bets”, then I’ll be expecting you to have everything as either “certain cancellation” or “certain renewal”. ;)

  • Bill Gorman

    “then I’ll be expecting you to have everything as either “certain cancellation” or “certain renewal”. “

    @Mr. Bet Hedger, I will make final thumbs up and down predictions on May 8.

    Forgive me if I doubt that you will do the same.

  • Alex

    @Anonymous: They’ve been a bit ruff on her in a lot of articles though :)

  • rehabber

    I tried Harry’s Law and got tired of being preached to about everything liberal. I watch TV to be entertained and this show was not doing it for me.

  • Bill Gorman

    “They’ve been a bit ruff on her in a lot of articles though”

    No rougher than she’s been on the cancellation bear!

  • Alex

    @Bill Haha, I keep imagining Kathy Bates fighting with the cancellation bear. I’ve personally watched the show, and I believe it’s not a good-written one at the very least, but Kathy Bates is a great actress, and she has an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as 2 more Academy Award nominations, 3 more Screen Actors Guild Award noms., 4 more Golden Globe noms., 2 BAFTA Award noms., 7 Emmy Awards noms., and countless many awards and nominations to prove that :)

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