BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.–Oscar-winner Kathy Bates was careful not to mention NBC by name, but there was no mistaking who she blamed Friday on press tour for the demise of her former drama, Harry’s Law.
“I think they treated us like shit,” she said, waking up FX’s American Horror Story: Coven panel. “They kicked us to the curb. I think they disrespected us. I think they disrespected our 7 to 11 million viewers every week. And I think they’re getting what they deserve.”
By “they” Bates had to mean NBC, although, as she pointed out later in the scrum, she was careful not to mention then once. Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt was not mentioned either..
By “us” Bates was talking about older viewers. The 65-year-old actress, who won her Oscar in 1990 for Misery, said the head of the network had explained that the series was canceled in 2012 because only older viewers, an audience NBC didn’t want, was watching.
“Everywhere I’ve traveled now around the country, I’ve met so many people that are offended by that,” she said. She pointed out that millions loved the show, “despite the fact we weren’t publicized. We had a loyal audience who followed us all over that schedule.”
That was true also in Canada, where Harry’s Law was a solid bench player on Global. Bates says the David E. Kelley legal drama did well in England, too.
The actress has been in New Orleans recently, shooting Tammy with Susan Sarandon and Dan Aykroyd. Due out next year, the comedy also stars Melissa McCarthy, who is directing.
Much has been made of ratings and demos this press tour. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, whose network finally beat Fox this season in A18-49, campaigned again to broaden the Neilsen scope to extend it to include older viewers. He pointed out that the average age of Fox News viewers is over 65. Even hit shows such as NCIS–average viewer age: 59–skew higher every year. More surprising perhaps is that the average age of a Big Bang Theory viewer is now 50.
Bates stars next season on a show that will skew much younger. FX’s American Horror Story: Coven puts a witchy spin on the anthology series. Friday’s TCA panel featured a killer cast, including Emmy-winner Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulsen, who will play Lange’s daughter, and Angela Bassett. Also on the series but not at the session are Gabourey Sidibe and Francis Conroy.

AHS‘s Coven (l-r): Lange, Paulsen, Bates and Bassett

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