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.

  • were123

    I’m sure FOX is waiting for CBS to cancel either Made on Jersey or Partners, but is CBS waiting for Fox to cancel The Mob Doctor? It could be spiral!
    NBC and ABC, though having some abysmal rating, none of them indicates certain cancellation, so I think the struggle is between FOX and CBS (you know, because CW doesn’t really count)

  • Alex

    Is Fox in such financial straits where keeping a show going (particularly a show that presumably has already had a number of episodes produced) is going to cause a problem? Maybe they decided that firing up a new production (even if it’s a reality show) would be more expensive than decommission a show they’d already invested in. Fox also has garnered a reputation of being a fast canceller (though mostly with regards to fantasy and SF shows) so maybe they want to avoid that. If Mob Doctor is on a break, maybe they’ll use the time to come up with a strategy to try and get viewers interested.

  • OMG

    Is that a Cock Fighting pic???? Not cool!

  • Dan

    I still believe after tonights Animal Practice ratings that show will be axed. Nbc delaying Community and Whitney leaves the door open for them to replace AP or GWK.

  • chargeradio_dan

    The Chicken… it won’t prevent the Cancellation Bear from feasting, but will hold it off for a while. It’s like the Bear’s energy bar.

  • tomsman

    @OMG Is that a Cock Fighting pic???? Not cool!

    You beat me to it! I scanned all of the comments and I can’t believe no one else has mentioned this. That said, its legit stock photography. I checked around and found the un-cropped version used in a legit newspaper web site.

    It’s still unnerving.

  • tomsman

    Somehow I copy and pasted out a line that said that the guys wouldn’t be so careless to do it. So. I just said it. ;-)

  • tomko44

    I’d bet Mob Doctor is de facto cancelled. They will just not put it back on after the playoffs and hope no one notices, which most won’t, as most aren’t watching it!

  • Dan

    @Jared – Fox has Touch to replace The Mob Doctor, in fact it was pushed to midseason because it was originally scheduled to air Fridays but Fox made the smart decision to put KN with Fringe on Fridays but then made the dumb decision to push Touch to January instead of replacing The Mob Doctor with it. Maybe when Mob Doctor gets cancelled Fox will replace it with Touch.

  • tjw


    I think mos of us assume that, bu the show is still in production, meaning that Fox is still spending money making episodes that they really shouldn’t air. I mean, Bones repeats could get the numbers Mob Doctor is getting and they have four extra new Bones episodes that were shot last year that they could air as well. By waiting until after the playoffs, Fox is spending a lot of money producing episodes that, presumably, will never air.

  • Dan

    @TJW – The episodes may still air, but just possibly relocated to Saturdays. Even though FOX has 26 episodes of Bones, it doesnt mean that they will double up on new episodes it just means that Fox has less repeats of Bones until May in the 8:00 monday. Bones repeats would do better but unlike in the past, Fox isn;t in the business to air repeats against new programming. They are waiting until another show gets cancelled. I bet on November 6 Mob Doctor will be pulled. I wouldnt be surprised at this point is Fox aired Mob Doctor through November. If they keep it than they can air 9 episodes through December 3. Than on December 17 and 24 double up on episodes to finish the series. Like Brothers and Running Wilde, Fox may refuse to admit the show is cancelled by just not ordering any more episodes. Its a good PR move.

  • Riff Rafferty

    I thought this piece on Hollywood and Swine was interesting…

    …I thought it was interesting because it is the very first thing Hollywood and Swine has ever posted that is an actual, real news article.

  • Jcc

    Dan – why don’t I bet you my 100.00 to your 1.00 that the show will air all 13 ! Are you in ?

  • Joseph

    Fox is scared of The Cancellation Bear!

  • John_M

    …I thought it was interesting because it is the very first thing Hollywood and Swine has ever posted that is an actual, real news article.

    Sure it is

  • John A

    Just a question if a show has 13 episode order and airs let say 2 episodes and is then pulled do writers and actors get paid for all episodes that are made or all 13 episodes and lets say production is stopped at episode 7 like what happened to Lone Star.

  • gumboot

    “Every time my phone rings, I think it’s going to be the network telling me they cancelled us,” said “Mob Doctor” star Jordana Spiro. “But then it just turns out to be someone who watched ‘Mob Doctor’ calling to say they hate my show.”

    Really? That’s a real quote? I doubt it.

  • Mike Geary

    CBS blinked first. Bye bye “Made in Jersey.” So, any time now we should hear about “Mob Doctor.”

  • tjw


    My point, though, is that Fox doesn’t have to air repeats against new programming. The next three Mondays have baseball and then we’re into sweeps. I can’t imagine why Fox would be willing to air such a dreadfully rated show during sweeps, especially when they have, by my count, three pretty good options: airing the extra Bones episodes, moving Kitchen Nightmares to Monday, or premiering Touch early. Any of those three options seems better than letting The Mob Doctor continue to pull in sub-1.0 ratings.

    I guess we’ll see in a week or so. With Made in Jersey canceled then it doesn’t make sense for Fox to delay much longer than that. And if they’re going to cancel it, it makes more sense to do it sooner rather than later.

  • Emily

    right so after made in jeresy, is it likely fox will yank immediatly, or wait till after baseball or whatever to annouce? m best guess would be wait, because now they have no pressing reason to yank (because it’s not airing, but I’mm not sure)

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