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.

  • joel

    Of course to make the delay look legit they’d have to air one episode after the World Series and THEN cancel it.

  • Ike

    @Gomer0, based on their current behavior, Fox must be trying to get away from that reputation. Clearly they handle things differently these days.

    I don’t believe they’ve canceled anything before its premiere for a few years now. That was a real embarrassment for them and they definitely don’t want to do that again.

  • HavingADomestic79


    That or the lead is also Murdoch’s niece.

    If ever a comment DESERVED to be first it’s that one!

  • DW

    it will not be back for November sweeps.

  • Ultima

    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.

    If they did that, far less pilots would be picked up (and subsequently far less scripts would get pilots made and so on).

    What about all of those people working to get a show on the air? I guess they get the short end of the fairness stick.

  • sara

    Try having her come back with a limp and a drug habit
    Worked before.

  • Jared

    I feel the reason why FOX has yet to pull the plug on MOB DOCTOR weighs on two things..

    1. FOX doesn’t have any other dramas to replace it with


    2. The production company is practically giving this series to FOX to get 13 episodes to air internationally.

  • Survivor Fan


    Our Little Genius in 2011 (was a controversial show)

  • Anthony

    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

    I would venture a guess that Fox is losing money on this show at it’s current ratings level, unless they got it for very cheap from it’s producing company- which is unlikely since it is a first year show. The reason cable networks are able to make money when they rate lower is that their shows are cheaper to produce (mainly because they pay actors less, and use less special effects, etc). The CW makes money (there’s debate on whether it actually does or if it only loses it) by owning all the shows it airs. They operate at a lose on advertising revenue with the hopes of producing enough episodes to get the shows into syndication (and then ultimately turning a profit because of that).

  • Jcc

    Hey Robert did you ever think one of the reasons is that fox really likes the show and wants to nurse it Along ? I know your site is all about the numbers but it sounds like you and many other people on this site never watched one episode ! Everyone remember me saying this -” the mob dr will not be canceled” all you guys can do now is watch it ! Also Dan I’m looking foward to your next prediction on when the show will cancel

  • Phil

    Last Resort’s #s raised a bit with dvrs. It’s ok.

  • Phil

    Mob Doc: they lose upfront money if they move too much around. And they ordered 13; it’s theirs to amortize.

  • Phil

    Being the first to cancel a show means nothing, historically or in the present.

  • Precious

    Maybe FOX has adopted NBC’s mentality on Thursday nights, and just have given up. They’re probably in the final stages of putting together a newsmagazine show in primetime that costs nothing, and still rates just as bad as The Mob Doctor. (a la Rock Center with Brian Williams)

  • Precious

    Also can somebody explain to me why they didn’t just replace it with Touch? I mean, it was Kiefer Sutherland’s old timeslot and they had it ready to go.

  • Justin121

    Good news for the Nets.

    This year the only DOA is Mob Doc and even that is not pulled until 2 months into the season.

    Last year there was The Playboy Club, Free Agents, Charlie’s Angels, How to Be A Gentleman, I Hate My Teenage Daughter.

    13-and-done candidates include:

    Made in Jersey, 666 Park Ave., The Neighbors, Last Resort, Chicago Fire, Animal Practice.

    Full-season-and-done candidates include:

    Partners, Vegas, The New Normal, Ben & Kate, Mindy Project.

    Well, may not be such good news, after all.

  • Morgan Wick

    “Everything low rated may be the reason nothing has been cancelled. If the bar is set low than networks may have lowered their standards.”

    Which the Renew/Cancel Index corrects for. Mob Doctor’s numbers are still atrocious.

  • Kie
  • Big B

    This is really sad and I hate to think what this says about me, but I actually kind of like the show Mob Doctor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an obsessed fanboy (atleast not for this show) chasing a fool’s errand of hoping there’s some hope for the show. I have DVR’d and watched most of the new shows this year, and I’m still watching The Mob Doctor while some others I instantly removed from my Series recording list. Made in Jersey is one of those shows I instantly removed. Matter of fact, I don’t even know how I managed to watch that first entire episode.

    I have not followed TV ratings and the TV network industry long enough to fully gauge when execs at a network will pull the plug. With the indicated ratings for Mob Doctor though, I am somewhat surprised it has not been devoured by the bear. Maybe it is as the old joke goes: Mob Doctor is not trying to out run the bear, maybe Mob Doctor is just trying to out run Made in Jersey.

  • ruudisss16

    Yeah, I was thinking about this issue too. But this game will be over soon, I think. With Made in Jersy for sure.

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