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Kathy Bates leads 'Harry's Law' to a surprising ratings win for NBC

Bates Kathy Bates topped off her debut as the star of a network series Monday with a surprising win in NBC's crime drama "Harry's Law."

An average of 11 million total viewers tuned in to the 10 p.m. show, according to the Nielsen Co.

That's not a huge figure by itself, but it's still surprising for several reasons. First, it's NBC, which has had trouble getting virtually every new show off the ground lately (for evidence, look at the "Harry's Law's" lead-in, the superhero show "The Cape," with a second episode Monday that sank to 6.2 million viewers). And "Harry's Law" -- with Oscar winner Bates as a defense attorney named, um, Harry -- was not helped by reviewers, who were generally dismissive of the show.

More notable, "Harry's Law" actually crept past CBS' "Hawaii Five-o" by 400,000 viewers. Not a commanding victory, but "Hawaii Five-o" is as CBS likes to remind us the season's No. 1 show. "Hawaii Five-o" was still tops in the key demographic of viewers aged 18 to 49 (2.9 rating vs. 2.1). But "Harry's Law," if it keeps up, could put real pressure on CBS among older viewers, which is traditionally CBS' strong suit. (Bates is 62.)

Maybe the most encouraging sign for NBC is that "Harry's Law" actually slightly built its audience as it went along, something that rarely happens during the 10 p.m. hour, when many viewers are getting ready for bed.

Of course, all of this could have been due to simple premiere curiosity, and over the next few weeks "Harry's Law" could still become a turkey. But the numbers suggest that's unlikely.

What do you think? Can Kathy Bates turn "Harry's Law" into a long-term hit?

-- Scott Collins

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

Photo: Brittany Snow, Kathy Bates, Nate Corddry, Aml Ameen. Credit: Matthias Clamer/NBC.

 

 
Comments () | Archives (82)

Kathy Bates and the entire cast of Harry's Law bring the intelligent writing to life! Moving, touching, outrageous and thought-provoking - the perfect formula for a hit.

Kathy Bates is a wonderful, honest,interesting actress who will do well by David Kelly's blistering vision of American life today. The poor and forgotten so frequently ignored and forgotten by our society are well represented by Bates and Kelly. Bravo. I like the show very much and look forward to watching the actors grow more comfortable with one another. Eleanor Mooney

İs it difficult to be author
or write book
"The Break Inside Me"
Levent Islek

Harry's Law is FANTASTIC! Thank God some better TV has returned to the boop tube!

Best show I have seen in decades. It was so good to see something on TV except those boring reality shows. Please don't cancel it!!!!

While watching an old episode of Bonanza, "The Waiting Game", I found that the female lead Katie Browne bears a striking resemblance to Brittany Snow, of "Harry's Law". I wonder is there anyone who agrees?

This is the best show of the year, Kathy Bates is awesome and I want to say Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally a show we boomers can relate to. Great cast and writers. Ms Bates keeps it real and nails her charater and Christopher McDonald is a good fit. Ms Bates inspires us all.

I love Kathy Bates in "Harry's Law!" Kathy Bates is a great actress. I just love her and won't miss Harry's Law. It's the best show I've seen on TV in a long time. I pray the show hangs around for a long time. I'm looking forward to seeing it next week.

I hope Harry's Law stay's on a long time, Kathy is great she really make's the show work. The writer's have her telling it like it is and they don't mence word's and Kathy's manner own's her part to the fullest..I look forward to next week's and there after.

Thank's for the show..

The sight of Kathy stubbornly helping free a wrongfully imprisoned convict from prison amazed me. I knew she was good but that good? On television's small screen? Not really. The show was totally believable (in spite of what we used to call the "Hollywood ending"). I'm not a big supporter of network programming but, for this one, I'll be back for sure.

This show has great potential if Kelley can keep his politics out of it. He has not managed that yet. The first episode was humming along until the ridiculous Rush Limbaugh comment. The second episode, while not as good, was at least entertaining until the government was blamed for driving an 85-year-old woman to commit armed robbery. I never did figure out what the government supposedly took from her! This kind of rhetoric is not only unnecessary, but could bring the show down if it continues. I had the same problem with Boston Legal...great show until politics crept in. I'm a democrat and this kind of stuff makes me cringe in embarrassment.

I love this show, it's funny and Kathy Bate's is one of my favorite Actor's. Thank you for allowing a new show that's actually enjoyable to watch.

Finally a smart, funny and entertaining show to watch. Kathy Bates is terrific!! The whole cast is great. The writing is snappy, and intelligent, but the political crap is annoying. PLEASE leave that for the pundits, I don't appreciate it in my entertainment.

After you show the boat in the water and then the interstate scene, none of the automobiles have an ohio plate on their automobile's. Ohio has Plates on the Front of the Automobile and the Rear of the Automobile, just though you wanna know!!!!!

I enjoyed Kathy Bates' quirky new show. Especially her little barbs as those about Rush Windbag. Thx for a female character who typifies critical thinking. Frankly, I'm fist eatingly bored by Rush & Glenn & Sarah and the cult of being stupid and hateful. Nothing sexy to me about ignorance. Hurray for a character that is smart and wants to make the world a better place. We could all use more of those characters- in fiction and reality.

ABSOLUTELY! Kathy Bates ROCKS! EXCELLENT roll for her!

My husband and I are great Kathy Bates fans; we were thrilled to watch this show and continue to. It touches on so many deep subjects that the average "white bread" person does not think about or have experienced. I am 59 white female from the Northwest, my husband is 74 black man from the south and we have been together for 38 years. We totally love this show; I hope you keep it on the air for many years and the writers, just keep on doing what you are doing, because it is amazing. On a side note, love the shoes. :)

I absolutely LOVE Harry's Law & Kathy Bates.....Also, really admire & very much like the rest of the cast in Harry's Law...Kathy Bates is brilliant as she always has been in any roles she has played.....She is real - very authentic & simply a natural with her acting abilities....This is one actress whom you feel like wanting her as your friend....AND, she truly is an attractive woman. Her demeanor depicts confidence....

This is the BEST new show on tv! Kathy Bates is perfect for the role and is so credible as the star. This is soooo good and really pulls in the viewer.

Please keep it coming.

 
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