'Harry's Law' grabs big ratings for NBC; 'The Cape,' not so much
About 11 million people watched the debut of Kathy Bates' new David E. Kelley dramedy "Harry's Law" on NBC Monday at 10. That's 116 percent more viewers than had watched NBC at 10 p.m. Mondays during the 2009-10 TV season, aka "The Jay Leno Nightmare."
NBC boasted that it's the network's biggest overall audience in the timeslot, excluding Olympics, in 16 months.
NBC also noted the show -- in which Bates plays a sacked curmudgeonly copyright lawyer who sets up a storefront office in a former high-end shoe store that some rocket scientist had thought would work in a dicey neighborhood in Cincinnati (hey, it's David E. Kelley, okay?) -- finished second among the 18-49 year old viewers who are the network's bread and butter.
NBC did not waste any time noting that the show's biggest crowd, by far, was the 50-and-older set. To be fair, viewers aged 50 and older also made up the biggest rating for NBC's 8 p.m. show, "Chuck," though not by nearly so large a margin. That's because viewers aged 50 and older watch a lot of TV. A really, really lot. It's why no broadcast network and almost no cable network for that matter, programs to them. They don't have to bother.
Anyway, at the just-wrapped Winter TV Press Tour 2011, Kelley spoke with candor about the challenges of launching a new drama series with a 60-year-old star. And now we have seen, ratings-wise, what he was talking about.
On the bright side, networks tend to tolerate older skewing audiences at 10. That's because older viewers - though, ideally ones aged under 54 years - are the currency of local newscasters who immediately follow NBC's 10 o'clock offerings. And, of course, when all those additional "Harry's Law" viewers stick around through the local TV news, they will give a ratings boost to Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show" at 11:30 p.m.
Earlier in the evening, NBC's unveiling of "The Cape" -- a drama about a guy with this cape trying to clean up his fictional California town to impress his son (you had to be there) -- attracted just 6.2 million viewers. It finished well behind ABC's super-emotional episode of "The Bachelor" (9 million viewers) and CBS's comedies, "Mike & Molly" (13 million) as well as "Two and a Half Men" -- which, as the press predicted, has really been hurt by star Charlie Sheen's fascination with hookers and hotel rooms, posting its biggest audience this season, about 16 million viewers.
Lisa de Moraes
| January 18, 2011; 5:40 PM ET
Categories: TV News
Save & Share: Previous: Regis Philbin stepping down as host of 'Live! with Regis and Whoever' [video]
Next: Steven Tyler has issues with 'American Idol' conference call
Posted by: pawanna | January 18, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: darncer | January 18, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: gagareece | January 18, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: gagareece | January 18, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bear4 | January 19, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | January 19, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FLGirl2 | January 25, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse