Kathy Bates: 'NBC Treated Harry's Law Like $#*!'

American Horror Story Season 3 SpoilersWell more than a year after Harry’s Law got cancelled, Kathy Bates is still game to pluck the Peacock for its treatment of the two-and-done David E. Kelley legal drama.

“I think they treated us like s–t,” the Academy Award-winning actress blurted at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour, where she was promoting her turn on FX’s American Horror Story: Coven. “They kicked us to the curb. I think they disrespected our 7 to 11 million viewers every week” — albeit with barely a 1.0 demo rating — “and I think they’re getting what they deserve.”

RELATED | American Horror Story Scoop: Ryan Murphy Teases Kathy Bates’ Turn as a ‘Bad, Bad Woman!’

To her credit, Bates — who was responding to a question about being lured back to series TV by Horror Story‘s certain pedigree — at first declined to give her former employer any mention. But obviously, seconds later, thought again. Which was awesome, especially couched in the Memphis native’s Southern accent, which she said has resurfaced during the course of filming AHS in New Orleans.

RELATED | Horror Story Season 3 Pits Jessica Lange Against… Kathy Bates!

On AHS: Coven, which premieres in October, Bates plays Madame LaLaurie.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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59 Comments
  1. Steven says:

    It had really low demo numbers, but it was a fun little show. It was the highest rated drama in total viewers, but that doesn’t matter anymore.

    • GTS says:

      Yes, a lot of people watched, just older people not in the demo NBC wanted. It’s a shame, because the older people watching it are the people who are going to buy things seen in ads!

      • Badpenny says:

        Ah, no. The reason the demo runs 18-49 is because that’s the group which traditionally spends the most money on the things advertised. Generally speaking the older you get the more frugal you get as you’re now living on, or about to be living on, a fixed income: retirement, social security, etc. Even in your 50s you’re often looking at college expenses for your children, not to mention wedding expenses, etc.

        • Temperenace says:

          Frankly, I don’t see that as terribly true anymore. And the people that it is true for are fickle, not terribly swayed by advertising, often consume TV with no ads, and are struggling with getting well-paid jobs. Retirees though….

          • liz says:

            Agreed. My parents and grandparents have more disposable income than me. I have a freakin Masters degree and can’t even get a job, let alone something that pays enough to have disposable funds for products. And I’m in the demo…and not alone.
            .
            So it really does need to change; shows with 15 million viewers get cancelled because they aren’t in the demo is ridiculous. There’s more money to be made there.

          • Alex says:

            Are you kidding me? Seniors are relatively likely to be struggling to get by! Just because you know a few well-off seniors doesn’t mean that’s what most of them are like. They have less disposable income in general than younger viewers do, plain and simple. Also, they are much more set in their buying habits and harder to sway (again, in general; there are always exceptions). Do you really think advertisers are dumb enough to waste billions each year by targeting a demo that is not the most likely to go for their products? Of course not. They didn’t get to be big and rich by being stupid, and they conduct actual research instead of coming on a message board yelping that just because THEIR senior parents are rich and easily swayed, that proves anything at all.

        • JC says:

          As I understand it, it’s more of a supply and demand issue. Older people watch more TV, so it’s easier for advertisers to reach them. Therefore they’re not going to pay premium rates for them. The younger demo doesn’t watch as much TV, making the advertisers’ window of opportunity to reach them narrower, and therefore more valuable. And since networks want to bring in the mst money possible, they’re going to focus on those shows that allow them to charge the higher ad rates – the shows that do bring in that rarer younger demo.

          • Two says:

            You are correct JC and seem to be the only here that understands the ratings system. The 18-49 demo is the hardest to reach because of the things Temperance mentioned. They watch less TV or watch via methods other than traditional live TV. That makes them are rare commodity for advertisers which means anyone that can get them watching is worth more. The 50+ crowd can be reached during the morning and evening news as well as primetime. The 65+ retiree crowd can be reached during daytime programming in addition to primetime.

          • scooby says:

            Actually none of you have hit on the reason for the importance of the demo yet. It’s not about old vs, young in terms of hours of tv watched. A lot of young people watch a ton of tv too and “tv” these days involves a lot of different platforms, all of which advertisers try to use. (I think you’re thinking of “alpha viewers” that networks try to lure because it’s hard to get their attention, and they’re more likely to buy fancy gadgets or be early adopters). It’s also not just about disposable income. Plenty of baby boomers have a lot of disposable income. The reason the 18-49 demo matters is that people in that demo are more likely to change brand loyalty or be influenced to try a different product than they might’ve before. Older people are more likely to know what they like, know what works for them, and be harder to persuade to change. You know you like McDonalds and all the commercials in the world aren’t going to make you try Burger King’s latest sandwich. Advertising is simply less effective on people who’ve aged out of the demo, so why would advertisers want to pay higher ad rates on the preferred shows of people 49+? Or even advertise at all? NBC’s ability to get money depends on the ad rate dollars so I get why a 1.0 demo is a problem. Someone’s gotta find a way to take advantage of older viewers because they’re a cash cow. I don’t see why we have to have either or. You can get both young and old on a really good show, but networks just don’t know how to do that on purpose. They stumble into it trying to get the younger audience.

      • Linda Velazquez says:

        That’s so funny. The advertisers want 18 to 49 year olds to watch and yet half the ads are for drugs for old people, or ads for their other tv shows. Go figure. And really, the young people don’t watch the ads anyway, They record it and skip through the ads, My kids find the ads far more annoying then my husband and I.

    • Ro says:

      I’ve been sayin’ for years, don’t understand why advertisers are so after the vaunted “demo” bracket. They don’t have any money and too many of ‘em are living in their parents’ basements.

      “More than one-third of millennials still live with their parents, the highest share in their age group in at least 40 years, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.” – Tribune, LATimes, CBS news

  2. Bobbi says:

    As a Harry’s Law fan, I totally agree with her!

  3. Lol, she’s right though, and I respect her for being so bold about it!

  4. JEF says:

    Enjoyed Harry’s Law and the always amazing Kathy Bates!

  5. Thom says:

    So glad she’s playing LaLaurie- that’s what everyone was saying when they casted her, but its really great to know the writers are actually going there.

  6. jayy008 says:

    Harry’s Law was my favourite series on NBC.

    It had the perfect balance of humour and drama. I miss it but I feel lucky we had such a great series finale.

  7. Glad she put it out there. It wasn’t the greatest television show in the history of ever, but it was fun.

  8. Flyerboy101 says:

    I loved that show. Miss it.

  9. Ben says:

    And they haven’t stopped yet as still no release on DVD!?

  10. Maggie says:

    I was a big fan of Harry’s Law. But if your not watching NBC, your missing a really great show, Parenthood. They don’t seem to appreciate that show either so I’m surprised it’s still on. This will probably be it’s last year because they put it on against two shows that do better in the ratings. Sad!!!

    • Mitholas says:

      They’ve been shortselling Parenthood for years, but the network’s ratings have gotten so abysmal at this point, that Parenthood is actually one of its top performers. That forces them to give it their attention, hence the full-season pickup. The first full season pick-up the show has had since season two.

  11. Jeremy says:

    It was a great show with better numbers than other shows they kept on the air. I don’t understand how advertisers think the over 50 crowd aren’t spenders the way the under 50′s are. I know plenty of over 50′s with plenty of toys. Advertisers are idiots.

    • Len says:

      I’m over 50 and have plenty of disposable income. The problem is, I’m not swayed by advertisers. After 50 years I’ve made up my mind what brands I want, no amountof advertising will change that.that’s why advertisers want young viewers. They are still influencable unlike us old geezers.

      • MaryAnn says:

        I think it would be interesting to actually do a study on how easily swayed older viewers are on brand loyalty. I am over 60, and still enjoy trying new things and new brands, and what worked in a given brand for me last year might not work this year. If I had to guess I would say that I am more likely to look for new things I see advertised on tv now than I would have when I was younger.

  12. Midori says:

    They gave it a second season and the season was a horrible mess.

    No one cares in you had 10 million viewers, there was no demo, right or wrong the demo is all that mattered.

  13. dude says:

    I stopped liking Harry’s Law when Brittany Snow left.

  14. Boiler says:

    Totally agree and great to say it. Waiting for someone from Body of Proof to say the same thing. Also agree with the above comment on advertisers

    • rebecca says:

      yes, it was the same with Body of Proof….11 million watchers and cancelled…still can’t believe it..also love Harry ‘s Law

  15. Linderella says:

    NBC rarely allows the opinions of viewers to affect their lousy programming decisions.

    • Emgee says:

      They gave the same awful treatment to “Friday Night Lights” which is absolutely and unquestionably one of the best series to ever air on television. EVER.

      • Two says:

        Awful treatment? Instead of out right canceling it, they were able to cut a deal with DirecTV to keep the show on the air for 3 more years.

  16. Missy Kelly says:

    ain’t that the truth!

  17. kate says:

    lol she’s right. it might not have been a great demo number but honestly, NBC can’t afford to cancel any shows that have 7-11 million viewers.

  18. Ben says:

    I’m a fan of Kathy Bates, Brittany Snow, and David E. Kelley, but I didn’t care for Harry’s Law. It felt very mediocre to me despite the talented people involved. I watched a few episodes then gave up on the show altogether.

  19. nick1372 says:

    Oh no, not again. I like her acting, but she obviously has some serious problems with facing the truth.

  20. Beate says:

    I liked Harry’s Law a lot. Unfortunately, TV stations here in Germany treat the show just as badly and so it has never even finished the run of its second season. They rather clog up their schedule with reruns of shows that have been running in a loop for years now. I really hope someone, someday, finds a way to keep shows on air despite them not fitting the demo. I’m starting to hesitate when it comes to watching new shows because chances are they get cancelled after only one or two seasons.

  21. alex says:

    lol, they should be thankful NBC kept it around as long as they did.

  22. bobbie says:

    Good TV would be trying to keep a relationship with the audience, responding to the audience’s feelings, throw out the demo, and be responsible to the audience. Things have changed. Just like the Republican party got it “so wrong” in the last election, TV needs to change. There is very little way to get your product in front of people if they aren’t glued to their tv set or visiting your website. You notice all those Apple computers on desks within the programs? Who needs commercials?

  23. Levi says:

    Advertisers? In the world of tivo does anyone but old people afraid of technology even watch commercials? I don’t know anyone who watches a show live anymore for the purpose of being able to fast forward through the advertisments.

  24. Tom Hunter says:

    I wanted to like this show. I really did. I like Bates. I like DEK. But this show was just bad. It was like a high school stage play that wanted to be good. It never came close to either The Practice, CHicago Hope, Boston Legal or Picket Fences in quality.

  25. lindasays says:

    I was fast-forwarding through ads long before I aged-out of the demo. One of the last commercials I ever saw was for TIVO. 500 bucks, way back then. Money well spent. The ratings system is a joke. Which is why there is so much inane drivel on TV. The people who enjoy the garbage that is top-rated, are also entertained by the lame commercials! I finally get it!!!

    • Carrie says:

      Loved “Harry’s Law” and it was one of the few things worth watching on NBC. They have really lost it in the last decade as far as being relevant. Many of the “secondary” stations now have better and more entertaining program. Of the 3 major networks, only CBS has shows worth watching consistently.

      I am over 60. I fast forward through all commericials and have for years. I KNOW I am too old to know how to manage a fast forward button, but somehow I manage to get it accomplished anyway.
      .
      We do have disposable income, but use it for things like travel, buying good books, visiting art museums, and purchasing things we love or enjoy.

      We do not run out and buy the newest and latest gadgets, soaps, deoderants or other “stuff” as seen in commericals. We consider ourselves intelligent enough to research new products for ourselves, rather than watch silly TV commercials, to make decisions on what we should want or purchase.

      Really sorry to see Harry’s Law gone! But, now I do not have to tune in NBC or worry about what to possible not record in order to follow a show on NBC. I am sure NBC does not care about losing me either as I do not fit their desired demographic consumer.

  26. prish says:

    The show didn’t take off because they put Kathy Bates into a costume tent for each show. I know that floor at Macy’s and shop on it, myself also having a minor tent-ish figure. However the last time I shopped there, a young clerk had just been assigned to the floor, telling me she couldn’t stand any of the clothes on it. That reinforced my initial thoughts about Harry’s Law in that Harry should have been packing up her office in the first episode in jeans. Hey, fat women wear snug jeans, also, giving a carefree mood. I do it all the time. That was the episode where they blew it, as far as grabbing the young demo, imho. They should have mixed up her wardrobe. I write this, hoping Ms. Bates will read it and watch her wardrobe back, next time. I miss the show. I didn’t watch it every week, but liked zipping through to catch her and Christopher McDonald’s scenes. Maybe, the two of them can have a series. They were a hoot, together.

  27. Nonnaru says:

    That’s because NBC stands for Nothing But Clowns!

  28. Umm…isn’t it time she moved on to something worthwhile? I might suggest picking a project that will help revive her flagging career. Bitter…party of one!

  29. Babs says:

    This was a fun great show. Good acting.The time slot kept changing. Very disappointed when it was cancelled.

  30. Kat says:

    I can relate to kathy bates….I am STILL POd they cancelled Harry’s Law! What a bunch of IDIOTS NBC ARE! I vow. to to watch NBC…BOYCOTT JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE FING STUPID!

  31. nucklqueen says:

    That was supposed to be I VOW NOT TO WATCH NBC! Just because they are idiots! Wtf is wrong with these people…well over 7 million Tvs turned to they show and they STILL cancel! MORONS!

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