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.

  • DW

    it will not see November sweeps.

  • Ultima

    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


  • iggy

    Yeah, throw on some COPS reruns.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Ultima: ha, you’re having too much fun!

  • Dan

    @S – A lot of people believe that but I believe 666 Park Avenue because standards are lower for a 10pm sunday show. And ABC is trying 2 rebuild Sundays with their two hits from last season. I bet 666 will get the Pan Am, Forgotten, and Detroit 187 treatment, with more episodes only as a Bridge. Last Resort will get the My Generation/Charlie’s Angel’s treatment only because ABC is desperate for something to work in the failed 8pm Thursdays and when something doesnt work, it doesn’t work. I could see ABC using that slot for specials by November but Sundays at 10 are harder to fill. Another factor is while 666 does drop from Revenge look how Grey’s builds on Last Resort. Thats not good for Last Resort.

  • Dan

    @Ultima – What I meant was if Fox didn’t announce something today along the lines of The Mob Doctor being cancelled, they probably wouldn’t until after the show returned on November 5. Its entirely possible that tomorrow Fox might announce it but I think they are just waiting until there’s another cancellation.

  • groove365

    Fox is trying to starve the bear, someone call PETA!

  • Dan

    @Groove365 – The Bear isnt starving, he’s fresh out of hibernating and patiently waiting for the right time to feast. He can’t make a choice between The Mob Doctor and Made In Jersey and even Animal Practice but I think The Bear will gobble up all the animals of Animal Practice first since he’s carnivorous.

    If I ran Fox, I would have pulled The Mob Doctor today and scheduled Touch for November 5 giving more promotion for a show that has somewhat of a chance to succeed. If it fails than at least all 13 episodes of Touch could be aired until February where The Following premieres. Premiering Touch this fall at least gives the show a chance at a 22 episode season.

  • Mike

    well is fox not making money on the show?? if not then how does the cw make money and cable networks with ratings lower than that

  • Tim

    At the end of Monday night’s episode, Fox promoted The Mob Doctor’s return after the MLB playoffs. It WILL be back in November, even if only for one or two episodes.

  • Dan

    @Tim – Well that was “before” the numbers come in. They always say at the end of the episode tune in next week or November for the show but that doesn’t necessarily mean a show wont be pulled. Although in this case it probably will return then be axed.

    @Mike – Fox doesnt own Mob Doctor so it seems like they are losing money. CW and Cable have lower standards which is why their ratings are lower.

  • Danny

    what do they do with show’s unaired episodes? do they air them online or not show them at all? i mean what a waste, the actors working hard on their roles only to never be shown on TV at all. I seriously wish that networks would let all shows play through a season before axing them. its only fair that each show gets a fair shake.

  • Fake Me Out

    @TerryJacksonNYC “New York doesn’t fall asleep

    It’s just resting it’s eyes?

  • Colin

    Well a mob doctor repeat got 0.5 rating on a repeat

  • Kavyn

    The title is wrong I think.

    “avoid not having the first cancelled new show” is like saying “seeking to have the first cancelled show”

  • Dan

    @Danny – Thats the TV business. Sometimes unaired episodes are released online, sometimes not at all. Networks don’t care if viewers like the series or are watching, shows get cancelled if they aren’t performing well.

  • Fake Me Out

    @Robert Seidman

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

    @dan: you do realize that site is a spoof site, right?

    Wait, what? Not everything written on the web is true? That can’t be right otherwise I’m sure I would have read about it @

    And I’m sure Seth will ask the tough questions we all want asked.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Kavyn, yeah I get that, but I changed the title to remove the word “not” nearly two hours before your comment.

  • Fake Me Out


    Guessing which show gets yanked first is too much a hit and miss, luck of the draw deal … we need to have a Cancellation Trifecta (w/cancellation meaning canceled outright, pulled and/or moved into a burn-off slot) … winners to receive nifty TVbtN swag … you guys got swag right? Mugs, tees, caps, keychains with our friend the bear …


  • Gomer0

    Fox camceled Rewind before it premiered so I doubt they have any qualms about canceling shows.

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