Diagnosing problems with ‘The Mob Doctor’: Are Americans sick of hospital dramas?

Yahoo Contributor Network

Fox's "The Mob Doctor" may not have been dead on arrival, but fans of this new show are starting to worry that the hospital drama may get canceled in the coming weeks. "The Mob Doctor" stars Jordana Spiro as a young surgeon who works at a Chicago hospital amd is at the beck and call of a powerful mob boss. "The Mob Doctor" and the long-running "Bones" are both currently on hiatus due to the MLB postseason and will return on Nov. 5.

Despite an intriguing premise and solid acting, "The Mob Doctor" has had trouble finding an audience. If viewership numbers aren't up after the hiatus, the network may just pull the plug on "The Mob Doctor."

What's to blame for the show's low ratings?

Perhaps it has nothing to do with the show's quality and everything to do with the show's genre. After decades of exposure to hospital programs, the average American TV fan may have simply tired of doctors and their drama.

This kind of genre fatigue isn't new. Game shows, soap operas, and western dramas all had their time in the sun before becoming passe. Those types of shows used to be on every channel; now, only a few examples remain on the air.

"The Mob Doctor" isn't the only medical drama that's had trouble finding an audience this year. Just last month, NBC pulled "Saving Hope" from their schedule. While the show will live on for another season thanks to Canadian television, U.S. fans will find it hard to keep up with the series. Like "The Mob Doctor," "Saving Hope" was a hybrid show. The failure of "Saving Hope," and it's blend of medical drama and supernatural elements, may not bode well for "The Mob Doctor," and it's blend of crime and hospital storylines.

Another attempt at a creative twist on the standard hospital show formula hasn't done well recently. NBC's "Animal Practice" traded the hospital for a vet's office, and traded the high drama for comedy. But "Animal Practice" has been panned by critics and has lost viewers consistently since the pilot premiered.

Meanwhile, the CW is trying their own take on the hospital formula with their new show "Emily Owens, M.D." Here, the hospital drama is paired with high school drama, as Emily must work alongside her high school enemy, Cassandra. It's too early to determine the fate of this show, but it wouldn't be surprising for the CW to cut it in favor of another supernatural genre show.

Meanwhile, once-beloved medical shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" are limping toward their inevitable conclusions. "Grey's" in particular has seen a marked drop in viewer interest. Once a cultural phenomenon that scored 25 million viewers during its peak, the current season saw premiere numbers around 11 million. The sad truth is that "Grey's" is no longer a water cooler show and hasn't been for several seasons.

If "The Mob Doctor" gets canceled, that could be bad news for other new hospital shows, such NBC's upcoming series "Do No Harm": A medical drama inspired by "Jekyll and Hyde." If both "Mob Doctor" and "Do No Harm" get the ax, networks may stop thinking of medical dramas as a viable, marketable TV genre. Sadly, in just a few years, medical dramas may be more rare than western dramas. That's a shame, because in real life, medicine has never been more exciting.

View Comments