What is Killing ‘The Mob Doctor?’

The Chicago-based show could be the next cancellation of the fall season. What went wrong?

A scene from ‘The Mob Doctor’

Call it. Time of death: postseason baseball. That’s basically what everyone expects for The Mob Doctor, the flashy FOX show where Jordana Spiro is an unwitting physician on the mob’s speed dial. The Chicago-based series was one of the most promoted shows of the fall season, but its viewership has declined to an atrocious 3.4 million viewers as of Monday’s episode (the fourth of the season). Now the show is on hiatus while FOX goes all-baseball, with unclear prospects of return after the World Series. So…what happened?

The Premise
The reason: We’re not saying TV viewers don’t like far-fetched (case in point: NBC’s Revolution is holding strong even though it still can’t explain how all electricity could just turn off—the blackout is possibly man-made, somehow, “cornholing the laws of nature,” again somehow). But maybe a doctor who willingly chooses to work for the mob because she doesn’t want to leave Chicago (a choice made a little too quickly in the first episode) didn’t really fly with audiences.
The rebuttal: We wouldn’t leave either. And if we do, it’s only after mastering how to make a true hot dog.

Chicago
The reason: We have to address it: Chicago just may not be a successful place to film an hour-long drama. Just look at last season’s The Playboy Club, which similarly won the award for first cancellation of the season in 2011. However, shows set here but filmed elsewhere do very well (see: The Good Wife, Mike & Molly). Is it possible that shows here are just too far away from the celebrity infrastructure of New York and Hollywood?
The rebuttal: Bull, says Dick Wolf, the creator of the next Windy City show, Chicago Fire (set to debut October 10). “The challenges [of filming here] are nonexistent,” he told us at the Chicago Fire premiere last week. “There’s incredible cooperation, it’s a great city to shoot in. It’s more photographic than New York.” And, um, ahem.

The Timeslot
The reason: Mondays at 8 pretty much belongs to reality at this point—NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars are just too stiff of competition.
The rebuttal: Not much of one. The last time FOX tried to compete in that slot, it was with the ill-fated Terra Nova (a show, to be fair, with a whole host of other problems).

Just because
Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. RIP, Made in Jersey.

 

Photograph: Nathaniel Bell/FOX

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