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.

  • John A

    Good wife was renewed for syndication not awards or acclaim. 20 more episodes and its gone. HL is dead. Not even NBC would be dump enough to bring that ratings disaster back.

  • Jackie McDonough

    Please review what I sent.

  • Ultima

    Harry’s Law is one of few NBC shows I actually like (Celebrity Apprentice, Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office, 30 Rock and Grimm)

    Few? That’s almost half of NBC’s lineup! ;)

    it’s a shame NBC can’t get past the low 18-49 demo and realize HL averages almost 8 million viewers per week—their highest rated non-scripted show.

    NBC is well aware of how many viewer’s Harry’s Law gets. Their also aware of how much advertising revenue it generates and how much they have to pay Warner Bros to air it.

    You can’t tell me that there is no money in advertising for the 50 plus viewers–and if the ads were geared toward that demographic, advertisers would be very happy because the audience is the 50 plus demographic

    Advertisers have no problem advertising to older demographics; they just won’t pay good money to do it, because it’s not hard to reach them.

  • Ultima

    @KJ Styles
    Harry’s Law has as much chance of renewal as the Bulls do of winning the NBA championship without Derrick Rose.


    Only 131 days, 8 hours, 14 minutes and a massive amount of Jack Daniel’s until Bears football!

  • Justin121


    Except The Good Wife was not close to syndication when renewed in 2010 and 2011 despite its ever-low ratings.

  • Rob R

    Good Wife was most likely renewed for demographic information not easily available to us. Based on the types of advertisers on the show, it appears that The Good Wife attracts the difficult-to-capture affluent, high educated viewer that some advertisers will pay a premium to reach. I think CBS is making money off “The Good Wife” right now. It is regularly the most popular program (in terms of total audience) on Sunday nights, ahead of Desperate Housewives and Once Upon a Time, and Harry’s Law. You don’t cancel a show like that; you tell your sales people to figure out how to make money off of that.

  • Riff Rafferty

    The thing is Harry’s Law screwed itself over to be honest: In its first season, it had average ratings and luckily got renewed most likely due to the emmy nomination that Kathy got and NBC hoping that she might get more which did not happen.

    Sweetie, Emmy nominations are announced in July. The show was renewed in May.

    Also, in its first season, “Harry’s Law” had outstanding household ratings by NBC’s lowly standards. They’ve cooled a bit (as has the entire peacock primetime lineup) due to it being shoved into NBC’s problem time slots, but still usually their second highest-rated prime-time show in HH behind “The Voice.”

    The premiere of the second season was an absolute SHOCK to anyone who loved the first season (myself included) and it has turned me off completely (I have not watched an episode since). They took out loveable and interesting characters and replaced them with two mediocre sexy/hunky actors in the hope that the ratings would increase. Well, they failed miserably.

    Would that be Tony winner Karen Olivo and American war hero Mark Valley? Is that who you mean? Yeah, if only Karen the TONY-WINNING ACTRESS were as good as master thespian Brittany Snow. Oh, if only. And obviously you haven’t watched an episode since or you would have noticed that the “lovable and interesting” (read: vapid) characters have all made return visits.

  • Riff Rafferty

    When was the last time you saw an ad for Depends on one of the broadcast networks?

    I don’t know. Why don’t you ask Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin that question?

    This whole article is empty and pointless, just like most of the (misinformed and ignorant) comments on it. Stick to what you do best, guys — cutting and pasting other people’s articles from legitimate industry sources just to snidely tear them apart, all the while you of course do no original research of your own.

  • Jason

    Bill, you’re just wrong on this one. Just like you were wrong on Fringe. There is no way in hell that Harry’s Law is cancelled. TV By The Numbers will meet its demise before Harry’s Law. I’m all in on that one.

  • Dan S

    Whether Harry’s Law gets renewed or not (obviously I hope it does) there will definitely be some lively comments made. 2 weeks to go & if I’m not mistaken NBC goes 1st in announcing there fall lineup at the upfronts. Should we start taking wagers on Harry’s fate ?

  • Shazbat

    They should have brought Jean Smart on board at the end of last season. Mark Valley doesn’t add to the show, Jean Smart would have given it more of an edge. Then, when they moved the show to Sunday opposite Once Upon a Time, that wasn’t good. I would love to see some scripted shows make it back to Saturday, it’s been a wasteland for years.

  • cc

    @saul. Have you not seen the Lisa Rinna commercial for Depends?

    Good post @ Steve. I still say for NBC to throw away 8 million viewers while keeping shows with half that that number would be just another nail in their quickly closing coffin.

    And to keep bringing up it’s all old people who watch HL is BS. I watch for the well written stories and the good actors. Even if older viewers do watch, so what, they deserve good tv shows to watch. Not this crap suited for for a young demo. And most of them are watching in their own time on various other modes anyway, not when a program airs. This is what the networks don’t seem to be getting. Especially NBC.

  • Bill Gorman

    “Bill, you’re just wrong on this one. Just like you were wrong on Fringe. There is no way in hell that Harry’s Law is cancelled. TV By The Numbers will meet its demise before Harry’s Law. I’m all in on that one.”

    Robert wrote this post, and he was the one wrong on Fringe.

    Regardless, Harry’s Law will be canceled.

    “I’m not mistaken NBC goes 1st in announcing there fall lineup at the upfronts. “

    You are correct.

    Although it’s quite likely that plenty of news gets out before that day.

  • Bill Gorman

    “This whole article is empty and pointless”

    Riff, that’s W-2 wage slave employee thinking, and we’re not wage slaves. I’d have figured you weren’t either, but maybe I was wrong.

    Everything we do is for either (a) traffic(money) or (b) fun.

    This post is mostly (b), but a little (a).

  • Wilmer Stompley


    Actually, Depends has been airing a commercial in primetime recently featuring football players trying out the product.

  • Marie

    I love this series…. don’t even tape it. watch it live. Advertisers should include the 55+ viewers. Don’t we count? It took me two seasons to even find Harry’s Law. There is nothing about a failure on this program. Try to move to another time zone…. we all love it.

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