EMMYS: David E. Kelley On 'Harry's Law's Nominations And Cancellation

Series cancelled before their time rarely fare well at the Emmys in their last go-around. But NBC’s Harry’s Law defied the odds, landing two noms for its second and final season — the same as last year. Star Kathy Bates earned her second nom in the best actress in a drama series category, and Jean Smart was nominated in the guest actress field for her recurring role as D.A. Roseanna Remmick. David E. Kelley’s legal dramedy was nominated in the same categories last year, winning for guest actor (Paul McCrane). Emmy winner Kelley said he didn’t have any expectations going into Emmy season. “Once you out of sight, you tend to go out of mind,” he said. Nevertheless, “we knew we had first-class actress in Kathy Bates, and Jean Smart had a terrific turn. We just adore Kathy and still feel that she deserved better with the show.”

Related: NBC Cancels ‘Harry’s Law’ After 2 Seasons

Bates proved her chops with two Emmy noms today, including a guest-starring nod for her her turn as Charlie Harper’s ghost on Two And A Half Men. “I’m thrilled and honored most particularly about Harry’s Law which has been near and dear to my heart and I miss so much already,” said the actress, who shared her sadness over the cancellation of the series back in May.

Harry’s Law was a TV rarity — a series with a sixtysomething woman as the lead. It faced an uphill battle from the get-go, launching in midseason 2011 with no promotion, Kelley said. “They didn’t think the show had any chance but surprisingly, we did catch on in our first year and over the two-year run, we were (NBC’s) No. 1-No. 2 scripted series (in total viewers),” he said. While very soft in the 18-49 demo, Harry’s Law drew audiences. This past season that led to the cancellation, it was NBC’s second most-watched drama series with 8.8 million viewers, just a smidgen behind Smash, which had a Super Bowl-boosted launch and NBC’s biggest series, The Voice, as a lead-in. With those numbers, “we did hold out some hope that, on a network that does not have a whole lot of success, we may have a chance, but it didn’t work out at the end,” Kelley said. “They loved the show but said they couldn’t monetize it because the viewers were too old. The fact that they would say that was scary, the idea that they can’t monetize 8-9 million viewers gave me a pause.” Because he loved the experience working on the show, Kelley wanted to keep going and pondered starting a “fight to change the nature of the business.” But being a storyteller at heart, Kelley ultimately chose to move on and is now working on his new series, TNT’s medical drama Monday Mornings, which was picked up to series the same week Harry’s Law was cancelled. The cancellation struck a chord with fans who still mourn the loss of their show. Even this morning I received a “Please help bring back Harry’s Law!” email from a fan, one of hundreds I’ve gotten since May. My item about the cancellation of Harry’s Law has become one of Deadline’s top stories ever, gathering some 900 comments to date and counting, virtually all lamenting the show’s demise.

Kelley said that the fans’ reaction to the cancellation has been gratifying. “If you you go out, it’s better to go out loved,” he said. And despite NBC’s axing of his show, Kelley says he doesn’t hold a grudge and respects new NBC topper Bob Greenblatt. Kelley’s move to TNT for Monday Mornings, hiss first cable series, does not mean a move away from broadcast, he said. “I still love broadcast TV; I started off on LA Law, so I have strong feelings for NBC and want to be part of its resurrection if that happens.”

  1. I really enjoyed both seasons of Harrys Law. Its sad it was cancelled to early into its run but it is what it is. Glad it got momd for Kathy and Jean…both deserve it. Just wish they would just release the two seasons on dvd. Not sure what the hold up would be. Doubt it would be the music rights.

    1. i agree i loved this show too..it was a favorite in my household… and wtf is up with the old age thingy???? i think we prob.have more money to spend on the junk they advertise any way….but for me i hope someone picks up the shows… tnt and usa have a few great shows imho! and it would be great if one would pick it up…. boooooo on nbc… they do not have much that i watch.. and now even less!

      1. I am so sick of the crap on TV . Why the good shows are cancelled and the reality shows remain is ridiculous. I am so happy that football is starting. Between that and HGTV I guess I will stay busy. Not much for my Mother to watch though. The new shows look stupid and boring. No wonder NBC is having money issues. They need new leadership. Someone older.

    2. I’m sorry Harry’s law was cancelled, it was one of the only few shows that had real humor and addressed real type issues in law. why can’t they take some of those awful reality shows off instead?

  2. Harry’s Law getting any Emmy recognition shows how terrible awards season really is. What a travesty of a series. Good riddance.

    1. What? Not enough sex and foul language for you? Harry’s Law was one of the smartest, most intelligent shows on TV. Get yourself up out of the gutter.

    2. Maybe if your shows get cancelled, we’ll go online to call you out for liking shows which are travesties…

    3. I bet you watch crap like Americas Got Talent, The Bachelor,Glass House..and all those BS REALITY shows that I don’t give a “Flyong F _ _ K about. Harry’s Law was one of the BEST shopws on TV… Some people just don’t get it. Guess you have to be more mature …..What, I bet you are in your 20’s! You will learn ….

  3. Don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I didn’t like the fact that the Show’s time slot kept shifting. It couldn’t find sure footing. It’s also sad that fine writing and acting have to be “monetized” first and foremost.

  4. NBC deserves to be the # 4 network after the cancellation of Harry’s Law. With shows like The Office, 30 Rock, Community and Parks and Recreation most likely on their last seasons, NBC will have nothing else I will watch on their schedule except for Grimm and Celebrity Apprentice.

    Good luck to you NBC—you’ve alienated 7-9 million viewers by cancelling HL and keeping crap like Smash on.

    1. I loved Harry’s Law and watched every episode. David Kelley should sell the show to another network. NBC is a fading network.

    2. i agree harry’s law was at least entertaining take some of the other shows of. all the networks should listen to viewers

  5. The show in season 2 was not the same show as season 1. Not even close.

    Everyone I know watched about two episodes of season two and never went back. After lovinseason one. Kelley has no one to blame but himself after radically changing the show like he did.

    1. I enjoyed all two seasons of this fine quality show. There is no pleasing some people!

  6. I’m still mad at how advertisers covet the 18-49 age bracket & pretty much ignore everyone else. I can’t believe NBC couldn’t figure out a way to monetize on those 50 & older with the sizable audience that watched Harry’s Law every week after airing in 3 different timeslots. I can only hope Kathy Bates can reprise her Harriet Korn character in another DEK show someday.

    1. Okay so Kathy Bates and Jean Smart get Emmy nominations for Harry’s Law. Obviously someone sees that there was quality in the show. It is a shame that NBC with their “monetizing” of it could not keep producing something that was still brining in 8-9 million viewers weekly, even though they moved it and did little to nothing to promote it. Gee 8 million viewers without working at it. I guess us old geezers just are napping and forgot to change the channel huh? How much did they have to pay to keep Smash in the spot BEHIND HL? Btw, never saw Smash, the voice or any of these reaality song and dancing shows. If there is no realthought behind it I really don’t consider it entertainnment. At least I still have Hawaii 50 and the NCIS and NCIS LA shows. We go to other chanels like pbs, usa, a&e for entertainment after that. But obviously NBC doesn’t need the old geezers. So we will take our selves and our money and go away.

    2. I will have to agree with you- I guess those people don’t buy cars, wash clothes, clean their house or buy anything. Interesting……. How do they survive????

      Harry’s Law was great. I was sad to see Britney Snow leave which I thought brought an interesting qwirk to it, but certainly didn’t need her star power- Kathy and Chris are that!

  7. NBC will never be “resurrected” as long as they keep cancelling high-rated shows and ignore the fact that people outside the demo are the ones with all the disposable cash and spare time. With all due respect, I hope David stays on cable and never goes back.

  8. So sell “Harry’s” to an off-net broadcaster, one that has some respect for the over-demo crowd. Nearly nine million viewers per episode has to mean SOMETHING to SOMEONE. Besides, off-net would also open up the plot possibilities, the range of characters and be even truer to the concept than the NBC version. Webs are wimps; others are not. Give it a shot elsewhere and it will prosper.

    1. THANK YOU…was going to say this myself. COME on, there are 9million folks (more if it went to off-net)chomping at the bit to support this great show. SOMEBODY PICK IT UP!!!!

  9. I’m still extremely disappointed and just can’t believe they had the nerve to say we viewers are “too old.” How absolutely insulting. We spend plenty of money on loads of products and they are totally full of it. I only started subscribing to Deadline when this cancellation happened. Mr. Kelly, we wish you would have fought harder and perhaps gotten the show moved. Never mind loyalty to such an idiotic network. Everyone in the biz should be after you and they probably are.

  10. Jean Smart continues to be robbed at the Emmys. Her turn as Mrs. President Logan in “24” was truly one of the best performances on television.

    1. I don’t think Jean minds. She has three Emmys. Two for guest appearances on “Frasier” and one for her supporting role on the ABC comedy “Samantha Who?”.

    2. Jean Smart also did very well as Governor in season-1 of the remake of “Hawaii Five-O.” She was awesome!

  11. Too bad, they were cancelled. I really liked it, but they changed time slots, and I lost track of when it was on.

    1. I have seen this happen so often – — a highly rated show gets moved to a new time slot and the ratings drop off because the viewers don’t know where to find it. I agree with you.

  12. So people over 49 don’t spend money???? How about those adolescents at NBC programming solely from their newly-acquired testosterone check out all those advertisers that keep Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune going for generations without end?!? I could gag every time I see yet another commercial for a medication, but if that’s what it takes to keep my favorite programming on the air, I’ll put up with it. And when are they going to notice that older people buy travel? And cars? I’m in the market to get another red convertible…

  13. Harry’s Law is an example of a show that should have been moved to cable. Broadcast networks need to start understanding the value of the shows they air. If a series is getting 8 million viewers it’s likely that maybe half of them would continue to watch if it were moved to cable. And with the right marketing maybe even all of them would still watch.

    The current system is stuck in the past and really needs someone to come along and revolutionize how they do business.

  14. You are so right, Michelle, about Jean Smart’s performance on “24” – brilliant as was her work on Harry’s Law. Sorry to see such a satisfying show bite the dust. Doesn’t seem to be any room in broadcast TV for shows that grow on you… if the numbers don’t ring the bell early on, it’s over.

    Always respect the work of David E Kelley… a genius.

  15. I and my family will very much miss Harry’s Law! It was one of our fav. TV shows. It had excellent writing and the acting was fantastic!! Kathy Bates was the best! She showed humor to a side of life where there was none at times. She was compassionate and tough!
    I hope NBC knows what they’re doing – because I won’t be watching them on sunday nights anymore!

  16. I loved Harry’s Law. The whole cast was awesome and David E. Kelley’s writing was as stellar as on any of his previous shows. (Loved Boston Legal too.) I think NBC made a HUGE mistake canceling it. I will watch the Olympics on NBC but then I’m through. If that’s all they care about “older” people, they don’t deserve our loyalty.

    1. I agree completely with this. My husband and I are over 49 and we have plenty of money to spend. Say good-bye to us, NBC. You’ve made a huge mistake. Huge.

      1. i posted on jay lenos facebook that he better watch it – jay is getting older and so am I, the viewer who is sixty. I am way past nbc’s demographic.

  17. Many of my friends and I were thrilled when Harry’s Law debuted. We loved the show, the characters and story lines. Kathy Bates is the best. We are all over 60 and, whether NBC believes it or not, still have money to spend and we do. Recently, I saw a list of advertisers from the show and I counted 60 or more companies that I either currently or have recently supported. A few are frequented on a daily basis. We all go out to eat, buy cars, buy insurance, clothes, and all kinds of other things. NBC’s reasoning appears to be flawed in my opinion. I hope they change their mind.

    1. not only do us geezers ( love that word) buy insurance, and cars and food, both the eat in and out variety, and all the things that are needed in our daily lives, we have our children and grandchildren that we buy for. So we are in the 60-80 demographics, and my kids go 30’s-40’s. Their kids are newborn to 16. How is it possible that we are not in their monetized grouping? This is true for most viewers. A viewer does not just buy for themselves there is a whole family infrastructure involved. Any channel would be foolish to eliminate something this haphazzardly. That’s ok. look at star Trek. Cancelled that too. Hmm, that was NBC too wasn’t it? I think that was becaused Star Trek had no following. Yeah, no following at all. Gene Roddenbery laughed all the way to the bank. Almost 60 years, shame it had no following. Harry’s Law may not have the same insane type of following that will go on for 60 years, but I think a new channel,a stable time, and success will be there.

  18. Harry’s Law was one of my favorite shows on TV. I wonder if NBC is aware of a movement started on Facebook with almost 80,000 members trying to bring back the show. Unfortunately if David E. Kelley is already working on a new project, I wonder if there is any chance of Harry’s Law being resurrected. What a shame that it only seems to be about money.

  19. I loved Harry’s Law and can not believe the reason they gave for cancelling the show. Everyone on the show was great. I personally don’t need NBC, we have so many channels to watch I have removed them from our tv watching. As a 63 year old female, believe me I have income and spend money. To be told we don’t count is a kick in the teeth. One that can come back to haunt you.

  20. NBC is the worst network….Harry’s Law was one of our favorite shows…and frankly the ONLY one we watch on NBC…what are they replacing it with? Another reality or singing show for the 20 or 30 somethings? Guess what NBC….it’s us “old folks” that stay home and watch TV…

  21. As all the others who respond to the cancellation of HL as well as many others such as Jesse Stone , terra nova because the audience are in the over 49 age group. Age discrimination at the highest. I think TNT or USA could pick these proven shows. They are at least loyal to their viewers.

  22. I have been trying to “Save Harry’s Law” on Facebook! I, too loved watching that show and hope that they will come back on in some capacity….but I have no respect for NBC for what they said about “my” age group! Baby boomers are nothing to spit at! If we all unite, we may have a chance at bringing HL back to TV, whether it’s on NBC or not! Whata ya say???????????

    1. My thoughts exactly, Carol. We never missed HL, even if it meant putting it on DVR. I am working on Facebook also and asking all my FB friends to help. Hopefully if enough of us make our voices heard someone will bring Harry’s Law back and NBC will get our message that we older viewers count.

  23. I love Harry’s Law. Sorry if this old person bores you. I’m done with NBC. Every show I like you cancel. Therefore, I’ll not start watching anything else NBC has to offer. By the way, us old folks have a lot more money to spend on products that the 18-49 age group.

  24. Harry’s Law was one of the few shows available to those who care to give the brain some food. I think it is pitiful to allow the young people of our country to control the TV viewing choices for the rest of us. What about the Baby Boomers, one of the largest age groups in our country? They still have some money to spend, and should have some advertisers who are interested in appealing to them. I am sorry to read that David E. Kelley is interested in continuing to work with NBC, when they have shown such a discriminatory attitude to the rest of America. I am certain that there would be another network who would enjoy the loyal followers to change the channel to the one that would carry Harry’s Law. As for me, I have made the change to other networks, until NBC decides those of us with some maturity matter.

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