Is Fox Playing an Expensive Game of "Chicken" To Avoid Being First to Cancel a New Show?

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

October 9th, 2012

Update October 10: CBS has pulled Made in Jersey off the Friday schedule effectively cancelling the show.

Normally this time of year I'd be checking my e-mail and Twitter religiously until at least 9pm PT just to make sure Fox didn't wait for New York to fall asleep before announcing they'd canceled Mob Doctor. I'm not so sure this year. With Mob Doctor on break for the next few weeks while the MLB playoffs and World Series take place, it looks to me like Fox is trying to buy some time  to dodge the bad PR of being the first network to cancel one of its new shows. That's the only reason I can think of the cancellation hasn't already been announced, and I can't help but wonder if that's a good reason.

Perhaps there are other reasons, but... The show obviously debuted badly (a 1.5 live+SD adults 18-49 rating) only to slip another 40% to a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating in its third episode. It will definitely be canceled, and it's hard to imagine repeats performing much worse.

We frequently poo poo network PR, but if Fox is just waiting to not have the first cancellation, they're putting a price tag on avoiding that negative PR that is at least in the 7 figure range.  Just how expensive it winds up is a function of whether/when one of the other networks blinks first and cancels one of its shows.

  • Jon23812

    @Dan, those announcements didn’t come until after FOX pulled them. Although it was obvious FOX cancelled them, they didn’t make an announcement until April (Breaking In) and May (IHMTD)

    So, FOX would probably pull Mob Doctor before announcing it’s cancellation.

  • Oliver

    Or, to put it another way, the first 5/6 episodes would have finished production before the premiere.

    Fox may have already pulled the plug but Sony is paying to continue production for AXN/SET. Fox have no incentive to publicly announce the cancellation and it’s not costing them anything to keep quiet about it.

  • luisl

    I don’t know if this article is true but it says exactly what you guys say:


  • Ultima

    If FOX isn’t putting another show on Mondays (i.e. two hours of Bones), they should be able to easily outlast the other networks.

  • Alex

    I’m surprised that nothing’s been canceled yet considering how low rated EVERYTHING has been this season…but I guess expectations are just being lowered also?
    The networks are doing some strange things this season, with Fox bumping Touch out of Fridays to midseason, NBC pulling Whitney and Community from Fridays with no definite return date, and Fox granting ratings challenged Mindy Project and Ben and Kate full seasons.

  • luisl

    Well I’ve tried LOL.

  • Ultima

    FOX would probably pull Mob Doctor before announcing it’s cancellation.

    In this context, pulling a show and cancelling a show are the same thing.

  • Jon23812

    So I guess when Animal Practice gets cancelled, Mob Doctor’s cancellation won’t be too far after.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Oliver: Aside from The Firm getting bounced to Saturdays, it was a tricky deal where Sony International ponied up for 22 episodes all at once. I’m not aware that’s the case here. Deep discounts (including “free” in your example) to get to 13 episodes don’t make sense to me in this case, and I’d be surprised if it is the case. But if it is I agree “FREE” or nearly so would be a good reason for Fox to stay mum.

  • Dan

    @Alex – Everything low rated may be the reason nothing has been cancelled. If the bar is set low than networks may have lowered their standards. The Mob Doctor would have been axed by now and so would Mindy and Ben & Kate with those horrible numbers, however fox is willing to accept those numbers for now because the numbers have been low for all shows. Look at Partners, Made in Jersey, Last Resort etc.

    @Jon23812 – Sometimes Fox pulling shows is equal to them being axed. usually more in the fall than the spring (Because in spring they are closer to May where new schedules are announced and its easier to cancel shows then)

  • Jon23812

    @Ultima, I know it’s the same thing, what I meant was “officially cancelled”, when the network says so. It’s obvious that a show has been cancelled when the network pulls it.

  • Dan

    @Bill – luisl just mentioned this but the cast is stumped to how the show is still on. Looks like they’ve been paying attention to the numbers.

  • Dan

    Nevermind, just found out its a spoof, I feel stupid now

  • Robert Seidman

    and I’ll say it again in this comment thread:

    @dan: you do realize that site is a spoof site, right? Or did you think Seth McFarland was really hosting the second presidential debate?

  • Dan

    We do know what each network will cancel first, we just don’t know when.

    ABC – Last Resort
    CBS – Made in Jersey
    FOX – The Mob Doctor
    NBC – Animal Practice

  • DW

    baseball covers the next three mondays and since it is the playoffs , they wont put a new episode on due to 5,6 or 7 if unecessary or if there is a rain out. so they have til the 29th of october to say hey mob doctor is going on hiatus during november sweeps. its not coming back.

  • Dan

    @DW FOX wouldn’t announce the show being pulled if they didn’t already. If its scheduled to come back on November 5 then it will come back on that date to delay the inevitable of cancellation and the day after it might be pulled. In the past Fox has used baseball to their advantage to delay cancelling shows. Particularly in Fall 2006. It gives them a chance to not air the series so they can return it and then cancel it later.

  • Ultima

    what I meant was “officially cancelled”, when the network says so.

    Networks rarely make an official announcement about cancelling something. However, whenever a show is pulled off of the fall schedule, production is usually stopped immediately which is as officially canceled as most things ever get.

  • S.


    Bet ABC cancels 666 Park Av. before Last Resort.

  • joel

    Of course that’s what they’re doing. They can make contingency plans behind the scenes but they have nothing to lose by waiting to announce anything publicly. They don’t have to deal with it this very minute so why not procrastinate.

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