Harry’s Law: Does NBC Want the Show Cancelled?

Harrys Law canceled by NBC soonLast May, fans of Harry’s Law were overjoyed when NBC decided to renew the David E. Kelley series for another season. Unfortunately, the ratings have been terrible this season and it will surely be cancelled soon. What happened?

Starring Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law revolves around a sarcastic attorney named Harriet Korn who opens a small law firm in a rundown shoe store in Cincinnati. She’s initially aided by a young attorney named Adam (Nate Corddry), a quirky assistant named Jenna (Brittany Snow), and a paralegal, Malcolm (Aml Ameen).

The show debuted last January to a 2.2 in the 18-49 demographic with 11.07 million viewers. The demo number’s not great but it was certainly a lot better than what the network had previously been getting in the Mondays at 10pm timeslot. The show’s total viewership was impressive however and, when you have poor numbers like NBC, older-skewing viewership is better than nothing. The ratings for Harry’s Law began to dwindle down pretty quickly and the show ended the season with a 1.4 demo rating and 7.75 million.

The show was on the bubble for renewal and, on one of the other big networks, the law drama surely would have been cancelled. But NBC had few truly successful shows to renew so they brought Harry’s Law back for a second season.

A few months later, it was announced that the show’s cast was undergoing some big changes. Snow and Ameen were replaced by Mark Valley and Karen Olivo, Christopher McDonald became a regular, and the shoe store was abandoned in lieu of a more standard office.

Should NBC cancel Harry's Law?

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Many fans liked the old characters and quirky setting and expressed their displeasure with the changes before season two even began airing. When the show returned, it was to a new series low; a 1.2 in the demo and 7.5 million viewers. The most recent episode fell to an even more pitiful 1.1 rating with 7.3 million.

So, was NBC trying to sabotage Harry’s Law? No, of course not but they had to do something. Last season’s ratings weren’t good enough to keep the show on the air so producers and the network took a chance on making changes (not uncommon for a Kelley show) to hopefully attract more viewers. The gamble didn’t pay off and they ended up alienating some of the few viewers that they had.

Harry’s Law is currently averaging a 1.2 rating in the coveted demo and 7.85 million viewers. It’s the second-lowest scripted series on the network, performing just a bit better than Chuck on Friday nights. That show is ending it’s run after a 13 episode season and it looks certain that Harry’s Law will be cancelled after this season.

A few weeks back, NBC ordered a half dozen more scripts for Harry’s Law but, with these kinds of ratings, it’s very hard to imagine that they’ll ever be produced. If NBC’s mid-season replacement series tank, NBC could conceivably put some more episodes into production but that seems like a remote possibility at best.

Either way, Harry’s law firm is surely going to be closing its doors for good sometime this season.

What do you think? Did the season two changes ruin the show? Should NBC make more changes or should it just be cancelled already?

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121 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Sharon says

    NBC made a drastic mistake by changing the original characters. I liked the ghetto setting and the quirkiness of those characters as a contrast to the more serious material presented in the scripts. I am very disappointed at NBC for making so many changes in the original viewing schedule, making it difficult for the audience to know when the show would be on. I applaud Kathy Bates for wonderful performances and I can see that she has made a transformation in her character which you hardly see in many of the “fluff” that we watch now a days.

  2. patti says

    This is one of the finest shows on TV, but bouncing around to different time slots just confuses viewers. Kathy Bates is wonderful and the original cast was the best—-will accept the new version. Shows used to be given time to acquire a following, now not even weeks or month. Get some of this reality “crap” off the air. Does anybody care about bitchy housewives???????
    this goes for the bimbo (Cougar Town, etc.) sitcoms. Family sitcoms are always enjoyable as are the quality dramas. One more thing, who decided that the target area should be 18 to 45?. Generally the people with the money to buy the products on commercials are well over 50. Think about it.

    • Anne Yerkes says

      I agree with you about ‘crappy reality’ shows and ‘bimbo’ sitcoms. So much of tv today revolves around stupid shows and then a quality show comes along and is not given a fair chance. Let’s get rid of the ‘crap’ and keep the worthwhile shows on!!

  3. Rick says

    The networks are missing the boat. They put on shows but don’t allow them to stay on the air long enough to make for a good syndication package. The Jersey Shore and the Kardashians will be so dated in a few years that no one will be watching them. Gunsmoke, Laverne and Shirley, Law & Order, etc are a better bet. They will still be watchable well into the future.

  4. says

    Both The Firm and Harry’s Law SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN OFF. There is nothing to watch now on TV. Both of these shows are the only thing worth watching. My only complaint is quite changing the days and times these shows are on. You just get settled in for what you want to watch and then it is not on, or its been moved to another day and time. That is what everyone is complaining about. I hope they do another book type show like The Firm and air that. Get rid of those other stupid, if you want to call it comedy shows, like Chelsea and The Office. They stink. You should do something like a night time soap like Revenge which is really hot right now.

  5. Nancy says

    It doesn’t surprise me that viewers were lost due to the new “environment” of the show. I miss the old cast, but I especially miss the old setting. .it had charm and this setting is just like any other law show..boring offices!!! I, personally, have stopped watching the show because of this! Come on Mr. Kelley, get back with the program.

  6. Anonymous says

    Loved the first season. The changes made for the second season make it all unrecognizable. We liked the charm of the small firm better in the quirky shoe store. It needed to be allowed to grow slowly. The connection between Harry and Adam has been lost this season. Adam is not just an afterthought. They need to be more of a family. It’s weird too, that all of a sudden she stated defending clients who might be quilty of murder when just last year she would have rather been disbarred that defend a known killer.

  7. Tyler Carelli says

    Since ABC cancelled Boston Legal Harry’s Law is one of the better shows on television. Please don’t cancel it.

  8. Gerald Newsome says

    My wife and I loved Harry’s Law as well as Chuck, we never missed it. If we were not at home on the shows night we recorded it. Whoever made this decision should be canceled themselves. ABC is looking very good.

  9. Rgal says

    My husband and I loved the show. It was controversial and always led to an interesting discussion. I hope they bring it back. It was one of the only intelligent law shows on tv with the best writing. It was always provocative.

  10. Maridee says

    Hey! Where’s “Harry’s Law?” Please don’t tell me we’re not watching it by the millions. All my friends like it, some watch it through computer…so much for Nielson data. ??? Really, NBC, this is a keeper, along with Parenthood!

  11. Lynn bacon says

    Kathy Bates performance in Harry’s law is by far the best
    Acting on television. She is a class act.
    There is no other show that compares with it.
    We slould raise the caliber of programming and not shut
    Off one of the two finest programs on TV.
    Don’t give up people they will eventually
    Understand the intelligence and integrity
    Of this fine fine program,

  12. Hickoryfolk says

    NBC flopped around with infrequent shows and changing times, and thus shot themselves in the foot on this series. In what smokey, dark room does NBC house its planners? Get real; this was a good show and was developing a good following. Then, BAMM! someone thought they had a good idea that then turned into duck guano. Yuk!
    We hope no one was paid for that decision!

  13. another anonymous says

    It figures any really good show and they just cancell, I do though love last seasons situation better than this years.

  14. Janet Snyder says

    Harry’s Law is just about my favorite show. It is really great. Please don’t cancel it !!!!! I am so tired of the other horrible shows available. Pleaseeeeeeeee. Janet Snyder

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