The Cancellation Bear Wishes Kathy Bates Well, As 'Harry's Law' Is Canceled

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

May 11th, 2012

After NBC's lowest rated show still on the air, Harry's Law, was canceled as expected, TV by the Numbers' beloved cancellation bear wanted to wish his "friend" Kathy Bates all the best after devouring the show.


Update: For those who didn't want to click the link above, here's a bit of the history between HL and the bear:

A bit of hub bub while I was off last week, as Kathy Bates, the star of NBC's Harry's Law, vented publicly about not liking the fact that adults 18-49 ratings determine TV show success in broadcast primetime (and have since the 1970's), and took our very own cancellation bear to task in an article.

“Some of these people are just so stupid. I don’t even get it…. All [they] talk about is the blessed [18-49] demo this, demo that, and how the cancellation bear is gonna eat us and all that stuff. So we’ll see. We’ll just see.”

The only thing our cancellation bear likes more than devouring low rated shows is getting a public shout out from an Academy Award winner. It's better to be known, than loved!

Joining Ms. Bates in her anger over the way ad supported broadcast television works was the Executive Producer ofHarry's Law, Bill D'Elia, who gave us his own shout out:

Nobody cares what we think Mr. D'Elia.

Problem is, the folks selling the advertising at NBC think the same way we do...

Update: I hadn't realized that near the same time as the original tweet above, Bill D'Elia also followed up with this one:

Misinformed? Ignorant? Kathy is right?

Reality's a bitch isn't it Mr. D'Elia?

  • Sheena

    I would go for the renewal lion. A smaller animal makes it seem weaker. Renewals are just as big as cancellations. Rawr.

  • josh


    indeed ! I watched the pilot and did not liked it. that’s my opinion. i’m not against Kathy or the crew but i definitely disagree that the show is so good and shouldn’t get canceled.

    And just for the record i don’t watch those shows as well

  • bekumbokem

    Great move NBC. I think I had a hand in this. I tried to watch two episodes-couldn’t get past the first fifteen minutes. BoRRRRRRRing. Turned it off and never turned it on again. Typical Hollywood liberalism. Too preachy and too much liberal non-moralism. Since when does Hollywood decide what is right and wrong about the US of A? Oh, since Nobama got elected Move on, Kathy Bates, Tell Osama, er, Nobama your sorrows. Maybe he can bail you out!

  • AlexB

    Hehe, well done on being right guys! It’s irritating as anything when people who clearly don’t understand how something works argues voraciously with someone that does.

  • Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    Dear Kathy Bates:
    HARRY’S LAW was a great show, filled with important and delightful ideas. The ‘grumpy old broad’ suddenly thrown into the role of the reluctant hero saving and holding together a decaying neighborhood was wonderful. The ethical ambiguities of the relationship with the kid who was ‘running a protection racket’ but who was really protecting a neighborhood the cops ignored was a challenge. And the idea of getting a ‘different look at the law’ by making the protagonist a tax lawyer who had never dealt with criminal, family, and small business law since she left law school — and therefore could challenge the conventions — made the show a must watch.

    Then there was the serious conflict between Tommy Jefferson — himself a brilliant invention — and Adam, the humor of the ‘law office in a shoe store’ (okay, you never used that as well as you could have, but I had hopes you’d make more use of it as the show went on), the interplay between you and the young student assistant who knew the neighborhood in ways you could only understand from the outside; all these made Harry’s Law one of the best legal shows in recent memory. And then there was that glorious ambiguity of the opening episode, where you were never sure if the show was real or the equivalent of an “Incident at Owl Creek Bridge,” all taking place in Harry Korn’s minute of dying. Though the shows were entirely different, this showed promise of becoming the ROYAL PAINS of legal shows. I loved that show.

    But that show was cancelled last summer.

    There was a show this year with the same name, some of the same cast, and your brilliant performance holding it together. But every single one of those innovations was stripped from the show, to the point where, were it not for the names, I’d have wondered if the second year writers even watched the pilot and opening episodes. No shoe store, no neighborhood, Harry is not an outsider with a different perspective on the law but a ‘noted’ and newspaper-headline grabbing ‘trial attorney.’ No protection guy, no assistant, and the only ‘ethical ambiguity’ has to do with the — until then unseen — shoe store and Adam’s girl friend being too harsh a boss — and the case where you plainly ‘took advantage of’ a lawyer with a nail in his brain.

    You had yet another insane — though this time alcoholic — prosecutor, several cases where you attempted to show familiar laws in new light, in fact you were ‘a typical David Kelley legal show” and i enjoyed watching it. I would have enjoyed seeing it for another season, but really, losing it was not — like losing (the real) HARRY’S LAW — a major loss, a major hole in my tv watching.

    But don’t blame the guys here for getting it cancelled. Dpn’t blame the network, the scheduling, the ideas of the ratings services — I agree with you on them, btw — the Neilsen people, or your competition for getting HARRY’S LAW cancelled. You people cancelled it yourself a year ago, and sent out an understudy — who just didn’t have the ability to pass as the original.

  • AlexB

    In fact, when Bill D’Elia tweeted,

    “First, tv by the numbers doesn’t know anything. They are misinformed at best, ignorant at worst. Second, Kathy is right.”

    I wonder if he was misinformed or ignorant?

  • Bill Gorman

    @AlexB, did he do that tweet recently?

  • AlexB

    No, at the same time as the original discussion was going on, but I thought at the time that it was pretty rude.

  • Jenny

    If you are going to have an animal mascot to represent the shows that seem to have no chance of renewal but are renewed, May I suggest the Honey Badger.

    Honey Badger just CRAZY!

    Honey Badgers are hard to kill.
    Honey Badgers are the most fearless animal in all the animal kingdom.
    Honey Badger don’t care about 18 -49 ratings.
    Honey Badger don’t care about viewers.
    Honey Badger ain’t scared of no bear.
    Honey Badger says I don’t care bear.
    Honey Badger don’t care about syndication.
    Honey Badger don’t care about production companies.
    Honey Badger don’t care about advertisers.
    Honey Badger don’t care about television networks
    Honey Badger don’t care about tvbythenumbers
    Honey Badger just CRAZY!

  • Jane



  • Bill Gorman

    @AlexB, interesting, I didn’t see that tweet. I’m adding it to this post!

  • Lisa

    Bill D’Elia has a recent tweet about the situation. A viewer commented to him, “I should have never listened to you and stopped watching Harry’s Law. TVBTNs was right all along!!!”

    D’Elia replied (several hours ago): “TVBTN Negativism fuels belief to not watch shows.He influences viewers to not watch something,self fulfilling his prophecy.Just awful”

    He sure gives you guys a lot of credit. Just think, Harry’s Law would still be on the air if you hadn’t scared away all those potential viewers with your unrelenting negativity! /sarcasm

    At least Kathy Bates has reacted more sensibly. Over on Twitter, she’s told followers that the show was cancelled because of the lack of enough younger viewers, that it came down to the bottom line, and she said there is “No hope” of it being picked up by another network. (In a more recent tweet, she said she wasn’t sure if the show is being shopped around but doesn’t think it is.)

  • Holly

    I get that D’Elia is upset and needs someone to blame, so this is less about him and more about the repeated accusation that TVBTN causes shows to fail.

    Why do people believe that this website is so much more powerful than all the other TV websites combined? The critics love Community, but that doesn’t attract enough people to the show to help its ratings. Several entertainment sites constantly rag on CBS shows, yet it doesn’t hurt their ratings any. But when TVBTN reports that a show has low ratings and is likely to be canceled, that supposedly causes people who like it to abandon it in such numbers that the ratings drop? And if you were a Nielsen viewer who liked a show, wouldn’t you realize that your viewing could actually save the show, making it more likely that you would watch rather than less?

  • SharonG

    Demographics 18-49? Wow, all the folks that have no money to buy the advertised products. Who’s the knucklehead that thought this up? We were considering purchasing two new 55-60″ TVs to watch our favorites…but guess what, they’ve been canceled! So, to ABC (Missing) – CBS (A Gifted Man; CSI-NY; and Unforgettable) – FOX (Finder) and NBC (Harry’s Law) we want to thank you…you just saved us about $200 a month on ATT-Uverse (we’re cancelling ALL of it) and a couple of thousands on the new TVs…We’re going back to reading – good books don’t get canceled and actually talking to each other! And, lest we not leave out “the bear”…BITE ME!

  • Brian

    Great moment in the open of last night’s Harry’s Law, though, when Harry (Bates) is awoken from a deep sleep by an urgent phone call, she then grumpily sat up and muttered something along the lines of “I hate not feeling like I’m eighteen to forty-nine anymore.” Well played parting show, HL, well played.

  • steve

    I hope NBC has all FLOPS on their hand come fall. Harry’s Law was one of the few good shows NBC had, and it’s a shame they took their 2nd most watched show (behind The Voice) off their fall schedule.

    Shame on you, NBC. You deserve to be the 4th network.

  • Sammie Jo

    The ONLY show I watched on the N othing B ut C rap network.
    Maybe CBS or ABC will pick it up. This was one of the best shows around, but I guess NBC would rather have cheap mindless reality shows than a quality show with an award winning actress.
    Kathy Bates, you ROCK!

  • Joe

    I’m not worried about all the people working on Harry’s Law. They saw the ratings over the past season; you know they had other jobs lined up. These are people that have worked in the television business, they’re not stupid.

  • BB

    I love Harry’s Law. It is well written and funny to boot. I am NOT in the 18-49 age range but my 24 year old son is who loves the show too. Too bad that NBC felt it needed to send it to Sunday night and kill it off…oh, just like another great show, The West Wing. Harry’s Law was the only NBC show I watched and now will not see any reason to turn NBC on anymore.

  • BobSD

    I’m really sad HL was cancelled. The entire cast was enjoyable to watch. For NBC to rate every show based on the same set of demographics is plain Stupid. It doesn’t have any shows outside of HL that are worth anything. Oh well, no more NBC for me.

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