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View Full Version : Dollhouse to be shelved for sweeps



DigiFluid
October 21st, 2009, 09:56 PM
http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/10/21/exclusive-fox-to-bench-dollhouse-for-sweeps/


Exclusive: Fox to bench 'Dollhouse' during sweeps
by Michael Ausiello

This isnít a good sign: Sources confirm to me exclusively that Fox has decided to pull Dollhouse off the schedule during November sweeps. Joss Whedonís ratings-challenged drama is expected to return in December and air back-to-back episodes on Friday night.

Bottom line: Barring a ratings miracle, Dollhouse will be shut down for good after it completes its current 13-episode order.


Sounds like things are all but toast.

EvilSpaceAlien
October 21st, 2009, 10:28 PM
It's not like we didn't see this coming. I just hope that we'll get a decent finale.

jelgate
October 21st, 2009, 10:38 PM
http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/10/21/exclusive-fox-to-bench-dollhouse-for-sweeps/




Sounds like things are all but toast.

Decemeber is about the worst time to air a show. Viewership is so low or watching Christmas specials. Pretty much its toast

Giantevilhead
October 22nd, 2009, 04:18 AM
Is this really a surprise? Fox already made a pretty big commitment just by promising to air all 13 episodes when it could easily get twice the ratings by airing repeats of House.

huntress
October 22nd, 2009, 10:52 AM
I in the middle of watching a show that lasted only one season due to terrible rating "The Middleman". I love that show so much but it didn't last. Looks like The Dollhouse will now also die a fast death. I am glad thet the doctor will be back next year (and Gene Gennie) or otherwise I would be stuck with only two shows to watch ...unless Castle will also get cancelled.

DigiFluid
October 22nd, 2009, 11:10 AM
Well, Huntress, it would seem you're in luck. Castle was just given (http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/10/20/this-just-in-abc-picks-up-castle-for-full-season/) a full 22 ep order.

Amalthea
October 22nd, 2009, 01:06 PM
Looks like Fox is being Fox again. I don't know why Joss bothers with them. They're clearly trying to kill it- why else would they air reruns of shows during sweeps? Nothing for me to watch on Fox now.

Giantevilhead
October 22nd, 2009, 02:32 PM
Fox already gave "Dollhouse" plenty of chances. The tried the whole sci-fi Friday thing last year by pairing it with Terminator. They advertised it quite a bit. Eliza Dushku's been on Fallon, Kimmel, and Letterman to promote the show this season. No other star of a Fox show has done that many talk shows this season. Heck, considering last season's ratings, any other network would have canceled it but Fox still gave it 13 episodes and promised to air all 13 even though they could easily pull the show in the middle of the season if the ratings were bad.

DigiFluid
October 22nd, 2009, 02:40 PM
Uh....I never saw any advertising for it, and Friday night on a major network is the dreaded death slot. They didn't pair TSCC and Dollhouse up for either of their benefits, it was to kill both. Friday nights have always been the death slot on network TV.

P-90_177
October 22nd, 2009, 02:41 PM
If anything Joss probably guilt tripped the execs by mentioning the fact that they screwed him over with firefly last time.........on the other hand he could have just begged and pleaded.....

huntress
October 22nd, 2009, 03:13 PM
Well, Huntress, it would seem you're in luck. Castle was just given (http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/10/20/this-just-in-abc-picks-up-castle-for-full-season/) a full 22 ep order.

Thanks DigiFluid. At least Castle is doing well enough for a full season. I agree BTW on Friday Night Death Slot. The X-Files had also been aired on that slot because Fox wanted to get rid of the show as fast as possible but then the show became a huge hit and made Fidays on Fox a powerful viewing time. For a long time the Friday night lineup on Fox beat all other channels with huge numbers.

DigiFluid
October 22nd, 2009, 03:20 PM
And The X-Files was probably the last show to get good numbers in the Friday Night Death Slot, too ;)

Giantevilhead
October 22nd, 2009, 04:17 PM
Uh....I never saw any advertising for it, and Friday night on a major network is the dreaded death slot. They didn't pair TSCC and Dollhouse up for either of their benefits, it was to kill both. Friday nights have always been the death slot on network TV.

Right, because Fox loves to flush money down the toilet.

As for advertisements, Eliza Dushku has went on 4 late night talk shows this year. She went on Kimmel on March 12, Carson Daly on April 23, Letterman on October 6, and Fallon on October 8. Hugh Laurie only went on two late night shows this year, Letterman on March 23, and Leno on September 29. Seth McFarlane has only been on one show, Conan on October 1. Eliza Dushku has been sent on more late night talk shows than any other actor who works on Fox.

There are also a lot of billboards and posters. I live in Los Angeles and there are tons of advertisements for "Dollhouse."

It's just that there aren't many commercials for the show but then there's not that many commercials for "House" and "Fringe" either.

The idea that Fox set up "Dollhouse" to die is just ridiculous. They could pull the plug on a show any time they want. Instead, they gave "Dollhouse" a chance. Two chances actually, since they renewed it. As I mentioned before, they could just air a "House" rerun and get about twice the ratings and it would cost them a lot less money. In fact, they would get a lot more in return since "House" is now the most popular show in the world.

Amalthea
October 22nd, 2009, 08:45 PM
Right, because Fox loves to flush money down the toilet.

As for advertisements, Eliza Dushku has went on 4 late night talk shows this year. She went on Kimmel on March 12, Carson Daly on April 23, Letterman on October 6, and Fallon on October 8. Hugh Laurie only went on two late night shows this year, Letterman on March 23, and Leno on September 29. Seth McFarlane has only been on one show, Conan on October 1. Eliza Dushku has been sent on more late night talk shows than any other actor who works on Fox.

There are also a lot of billboards and posters. I live in Los Angeles and there are tons of advertisements for "Dollhouse."

It's just that there aren't many commercials for the show but then there's not that many commercials for "House" and "Fringe" either.

The idea that Fox set up "Dollhouse" to die is just ridiculous. They could pull the plug on a show any time they want. Instead, they gave "Dollhouse" a chance. Two chances actually, since they renewed it. As I mentioned before, they could just air a "House" rerun and get about twice the ratings and it would cost them a lot less money. In fact, they would get a lot more in return since "House" is now the most popular show in the world.

I think the argument, though, is that Friday night really isn't giving it a chance. It's like they think, "All sci fi shows should be on Friday, because only nerds like science fiction and they're never out on Friday nights." So, while they did give it a chance, it wasn't a good one since they never really knew what to do with it in the first place.

Giantevilhead
October 22nd, 2009, 09:19 PM
"Fringe" isn't on Friday. TSCC wasn't on Friday for the first season and first half of the second season.

There is no place on the schedule for the show. If they put "Dollhouse" in another time slot then they'll have to move another show to Friday.

Exiled Master
October 22nd, 2009, 09:50 PM
See, this is why Fox should have kept TSCC instead. Don't get me wrong, I love Dollhouse. But everything in TSCC was better: John Connor becoming completely awesome in one scene, tension between John and Cameron so strong you could pick it up with a geiger counter, the maddening machinations of Weaver, the perfectly scored fights (I'll always think of dead FBI agents and Johnny Cash when I see a motel swimming pool now)

DigiFluid
October 22nd, 2009, 10:08 PM
As mis-managed as Sci Fi (pardon me, Syfy :rolleyes:) is, wouldn't that just be the best bet? If Fox drops it, for Syfy to pick it up?

Yeah there'd be logistical problems involving sets, but I mean.... Fox would dump a project they clearly don't have any love for, Syfy would get a ton of geek community cred back, and the Dollhouse cast and crew would get to keep working--giving us fresh new shows.

DigiFluid
October 22nd, 2009, 10:09 PM
As mis-managed as Sci Fi (pardon me, Syfy :rolleyes:) is, wouldn't that just be the best bet? If Fox drops it, for Syfy to pick it up?

Yeah there'd be logistical problems involving sets, but I mean.... Fox would dump a project they clearly don't have any love for, Syfy would get a ton of geek community cred back, and the Dollhouse cast and crew would get to keep working--giving us fresh new shows.

jelgate
October 22nd, 2009, 10:16 PM
As mis-managed as Sci Fi (pardon me, Syfy :rolleyes:) is, wouldn't that just be the best bet? If Fox drops it, for Syfy to pick it up?

Yeah there'd be logistical problems involving sets, but I mean.... Fox would dump a project they clearly don't have any love for, Syfy would get a ton of geek community cred back, and the Dollhouse cast and crew would get to keep working--giving us fresh new shows.

SyFy would require Dollhouse to severly reduce their budget.

Amalthea
October 22nd, 2009, 10:33 PM
"Fringe" isn't on Friday. TSCC wasn't on Friday for the first season and first half of the second season.

There is no place on the schedule for the show. If they put "Dollhouse" in another time slot then they'll have to move another show to Friday.

They could cut back on "So you think you can dance" which, it turns out doesn't work so well in the non-summer. Or just stopped with the ridiculous reality shows all together. That's probably asking for a miracle, though.

I'll give them a little leeway on this right now since the World Series commitments make it tough, but after that, there are a plethora of options should Fox decide to try.


As mis-managed as Sci Fi (pardon me, Syfy :rolleyes:) is, wouldn't that just be the best bet? If Fox drops it, for Syfy to pick it up?

Yeah there'd be logistical problems involving sets, but I mean.... Fox would dump a project they clearly don't have any love for, Syfy would get a ton of geek community cred back, and the Dollhouse cast and crew would get to keep working--giving us fresh new shows.

I like this plan. Or maybe the WB? Or UPN? (Do they still exist?) They were good to Joss.


SyFy would require Dollhouse to severly reduce their budget.

I'm sure they could make it work.

jelgate
October 22nd, 2009, 10:39 PM
They could cut back on "So you think you can dance" which, it turns out doesn't work so well in the non-summer. Or just stopped with the ridiculous reality shows all together. That's probably asking for a miracle, though.

Why Fox (a busineess) get rid of the thing that gives them the most profit?
.



I like this plan. Or maybe the WB? Or UPN? (Do they still exist?) They were good to Joss.
Neither of those stations exist anymore. They were mergered into CW. Given their teenage drama methods I don't see it happening.




I'm sure they could make it work.
With the big name actors (compared to other SyFy shows) and Joss Whedon it would be difficult to obtain. Less money for stunts and VHX and special effects.

Giantevilhead
October 23rd, 2009, 02:28 AM
It's highly unlikely that the show can move to another network. This kind of thing has happened maybe ten times in all of US television history, not counting the UPN WB merger where all their shows moved to the CW.

Amalthea
October 23rd, 2009, 10:15 AM
Why Fox (a busineess) get rid of the thing that gives them the most profit?

My point was they're assuming it would give them the most profit. In the wake of the reality TV explosion, networks just assume it's the way to go and forget the years of quality, scripted dramas and comedies that came before that made them plenty of money.

Wes, said it best:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wes_Mendell

jelgate
October 23rd, 2009, 02:49 PM
My point was they're assuming it would give them the most profit. In the wake of the reality TV explosion, networks just assume it's the way to go and forget the years of quality, scripted dramas and comedies that came before that made them plenty of money.

Wes, said it best:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wes_Mendell

No they haven't Their are still an ample supply of comedies and drama. As for quality that is entirely up to the viewer

Giantevilhead
October 23rd, 2009, 03:08 PM
They would get rid of reality shows if DVD's and other merchandise of scripted shows they produce can actually make up the difference. However, "Dollhouse" DVD sales have not been very impressive.

Reality shows cost almost nothing to make and each 30 second commercial spot can get up between $20,000 to $40,000 per million viewers for a prime time show, depending on the demographics.

"So You Think You Can Dance" gets an average of 7 million viewers so it makes around $5.9 million per episode. "Dollhouse" gets an average of 3 million viewers so it makes around $2.5 million per episode.

"So You Think You Can Dance" also costs a lot less than "Dollhouse," probably less than half. "Dollhouse" probably costs at least $2 million per episode even with the budget cuts. It's very rare for a scripted one hour prime time shows to cost less than $3 million per episode. That means it costs $26 million to make 13 episodes of "Dollhouse" but it costs the same amount to make a full season of "So You Think You Can Dance."

13 episodes of "Dollhouse" can earn Fox $32.5 million in advertisements so that's $6.5 million in profits. 13 episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" can earn $76.6 million in ads so that's $63.6 million in profits.

"Dollhouse" season 1 DVD's sell for around $30, at least 80% is profit for Fox. To make up the difference, they'd have to sell 2.38 million copies. So far, they've sold less than 500,000 copies.

ShadowMaat
October 23rd, 2009, 04:47 PM
Can't say I'm surprised. Dollhouse has been doing what (IMO) Stargate did for years: giving us half a season of half-assed garbage followed by some tight, awesome stuff that leaves you craving more. But by the time you get to the back nine (or whatever the number is) it can be too late for people who aren't entirely hooked to start with. Fans shouldn't have to sit through half a season of dreck just to get to the good stuff, shows should start strong out of the gate and keep it going. Sure, kick it up a notch for the finale, but don't waste the audience's time beforehand.

Can't really comment on whether it was "properly" advertised or not because 1) I don't watch much FOX and 2) I don't pay attention to the commercials, but I'm pretty sure I have seen some ads for it and as far as I'm concerned it isn't lack of advertising that is killing Dollhouse, it's the lack of better stories. And quite frankly I think the near-exclusive focus on Echo has also hamstrung things a bit. But I really dislike the character (and Eliza's portrayal of her) so that could be tainting my view a bit. ;)

As for the stuff about TSCC can we please not go the backbiting flamewar route? Just once? Saying it was "better" is a matter of opinion and I'd be willing to bet hard money that if the roles were reversed it'd be TSCC heading for the chopping block right now. FOX isn't the most loyal network out there especially when it comes to scifi shows. I'm amazed that Dollhouse even got renewed once and I would have been equally amazed if it had been TSCC instead. I think both of 'em should have been scrapped. *shrug*

I don't think FOX is blameless, of course (it's still FOX), but I wouldn't pin the blame ENTIRELY on the network. Not for the pending death of Dollhouse and not for last year's death of TSCC.

knowles2
October 23rd, 2009, 05:10 PM
If anything Joss probably guilt tripped the execs by mentioning the fact that they screwed him over with firefly last time.........on the other hand he could have just begged and pleaded.....
Nope the execs just did not want to deal with joss crazy fans again, that all, they even admitted, that they wanted to avoid the hassle of cancelling Dollhouse so they sacrifice the superior TSCC because they would get less hate mail. Wimps.

Giantevilhead
October 23rd, 2009, 06:04 PM
Even though TSCC got better ratings, the show wasn't produced by Fox so Fox doesn't get anything from the DVD sales. That's probably one of the reasons they renewed "Dollhouse." They probably thought that "Dollhouse" would sell a lot of DVD's and they'd earn back their investment that way.

Amalthea
October 23rd, 2009, 07:19 PM
Quality, scripted dramas made tons of money. Frasier, Seinfeld, Wings, Cheers, The West Wing, ER, I Love Lucy... so many good pre-reality TV shows. Quality is definitely up to the viewer (since I don't count everything in my list as quality to me), but the point is they made money and tons of it. Reality TV is cheap, in every sense of the word and has been taking over the airwaves to the detriment of national discourse.

Now, that said, there are certainly plenty of scripted shows that are being developed now, and they're doing well (some of them) but their networks are supporting them. For instance, the web 2.0 stuff ABC is doing with Castle is remarkable.

My point is it seems to me that Fox is not thinking out of the Nielsen box anymore and that is hurting their scripted TV. Dollhouse, TSCC (though I didn't watch that) are out of the box-type shows so they suffer. All the blame is not theirs, of course, but it is part of it.

Anyway, it's done and decided so it doesn't really matter.

Giantevilhead
October 23rd, 2009, 09:20 PM
Fox is also beholden to their stock holders. If Fox executives "think outside of the Nielsen box" and ratings/revenues drop then the stock holders will get angry and get rid of them.

Siglavy
October 24th, 2009, 09:18 AM
Can't say I'm surprised. Dollhouse has been doing what (IMO) Stargate did for years: giving us half a season of half-assed garbage followed by some tight, awesome stuff that leaves you craving more. But by the time you get to the back nine (or whatever the number is) it can be too late for people who aren't entirely hooked to start with. Fans shouldn't have to sit through half a season of dreck just to get to the good stuff, shows should start strong out of the gate and keep it going. Sure, kick it up a notch for the finale, but don't waste the audience's time beforehand.
Exactly. If more of the first season had been like the last two episodes, #3 and #4, I don't think we would have to be worrying so much about ratings. To pull off something like "Belonging" and then just leave us hanging until December is terribly unkind. If the rest of the season stays at this level, we might be able to turn this thing around. Looking forward to Double Dollhouse Days in December.



Can't really comment on whether it was "properly" advertised or not because 1) I don't watch much FOX and 2) I don't pay attention to the commercials, but I'm pretty sure I have seen some ads for it and as far as I'm concerned it isn't lack of advertising that is killing Dollhouse, it's the lack of better stories. And quite frankly I think the near-exclusive focus on Echo has also hamstrung things a bit. But I really dislike the character (and Eliza's portrayal of her) so that could be tainting my view a bit. ;)
I keep seeing more and more people who really don't care for the Echo/Caroline character. I don't like the character either, although I can't put my finger on why, exactly. This season has been much better with respect to better plots and less Echo-centric 'stuff'. With the exception of 'Instincts'. I know some folks liked it, but it did nothing for me.

Giantevilhead
October 24th, 2009, 03:06 PM
Joss Whedon pretty much created the show for Eliza Dushku. She's also a producer on the show. Of course Echo is going to be the main focus of the show.

knowles2
October 25th, 2009, 11:13 AM
Joss Whedon pretty much created the show for Eliza Dushku. She's also a producer on the show. Of course Echo is going to be the main focus of the show.

Sorry as a producer she should put the show before her own career.
The show is clearly better when it is not focusing on her, in fact all the best episodes have been when she is not the main character in story.

As a producer she should relies that an so should Joss.

ShadowMaat
October 25th, 2009, 03:32 PM
Joss Whedon pretty much created the show for Eliza Dushku. She's also a producer on the show. Of course Echo is going to be the main focus of the show.

Yeah, so? It doesn't mean I have to like it. ;)

Puddle-Jumper
October 25th, 2009, 05:14 PM
Its a pity, the second season has really stepped up..... im hopeful that syfy would pick it up.. Dollhouse can't have that big a budget anyway

Giantevilhead
October 25th, 2009, 05:16 PM
Sorry as a producer she should put the show before her own career.
The show is clearly better when it is not focusing on her, in fact all the best episodes have been when she is not the main character in story.

As a producer she should relies that an so should Joss.

Eliza Dushku is not just a producer, she's also the face of the show. She's on all the posters and billboards. She goes on the talk shows. They're using her to draw new viewers so people are going to expect her to be the focus of the show.

If all the new viewers go to watch the show because they saw Eliza Dushku on a billboard or on Letterman, and she's only in 10 minutes of the show then they're going to switch channels.

Brain_Child
October 25th, 2009, 06:49 PM
Eliza Dushku is not just a producer, she's also the face of the show. She's on all the posters and billboards. She goes on the talk shows. They're using her to draw new viewers so people are going to expect her to be the focus of the show.

If all the new viewers go to watch the show because they saw Eliza Dushku on a billboard or on Letterman, and she's only in 10 minutes of the show then they're going to switch channels.

but Dollhouse isnt Macgyver, there cant be whole episodes around the Echo character week after week. particularly when Echo is surrounded by characters that have a lot more depth to them (which is to be expected since Echo is a doll)

I agree that she should put the show ahead of her own acting career, but then again Joss is writing these episodes, and I think he would have more sway than anyone else on matters such as this.

ShadowMaat
October 25th, 2009, 11:44 PM
but Dollhouse isnt Macgyver, there cant be whole episodes around the Echo character week after week. particularly when Echo is surrounded by characters that have a lot more depth to them (which is to be expected since Echo is a doll)
Actually they can. And they pretty much have. There have been a few non-Echocentric eps here and there, but that's probably done just as much (if not more) to give Eliza a break as it is to give the audience a break from the unrelenting stream of Echo. ;) As Giantevilhead said, she's in all the ads & on the billboards and does more of the big talk shows (although the others do interviews, too). She's also chock solid throughout the opening sequence, which is where supporting characters are usually given at least a passing nod. The show may be called Dollhouse but it could more accurately be called Echo since it IS her show. In its entirety. Which is, IMO, a damn shame because the concept of the Dollhouse is an intriguing one but I think it would play out better with a wider palette. I think it'd also be a bonus to the writers to have more characters to choose from when they craft their stories.

Oh sure, you can point out that Echo is just a blank and can be made to play an infinite variety of characters, but... Personally? I think there's a sameness to most of the personalities she adopts. At least Victor and Sierra can do accents. :D

I suppose in the long run it doesn't really matter. The show is still toast. Maybe now Joss can concentrate on writing the Doctor Horrible sequel. http://www.freethought-forum.com/forum/images/smilies/evillaugh.gif I'd rather watch that, anyway.

knowles2
October 26th, 2009, 01:33 AM
Eliza Dushku is not just a producer, she's also the face of the show. She's on all the posters and billboards. She goes on the talk shows. They're using her to draw new viewers so people are going to expect her to be the focus of the show.

If all the new viewers go to watch the show because they saw Eliza Dushku on a billboard or on Letterman, and she's only in 10 minutes of the show then they're going to switch channels.

Well it must be crystal clear to any producer, director or hell even the fans that she is not drawing in viewers.
An just looking on the forums they all say the best episodes are the ones with out Eliza being central to the storyline.
Sometimes as show runner and as a producers you got to accept the original idea is not working, an change, adapt an hopefully survive, especially when you get a second season despite the low, very low ratings it got last year, it was a second chance an they blew it big time.

They could tell from those low ratings that having her as a central focus of the show was not working, most fans could tell an that why there favourite episodes were not ones with Eliza in every scene, I am sure even the thickos at Fox could tell it was not working. It seems no one has the bulls to tell Joss that or he did not have the bulls to tell Eliza that she will not be in every scene showing her talent or lack of talent off. Them two being friends just make it harder for the show to adapt. Joss just the same as the rest of us, we fine it hard to tell our friends the truth, which is a shame because the show could really of done with the change.

The last episode was the best this season, all the reviews say, I say so, most fans say so, , it was one without Eliza being in every scene, she just does not work for the show, but it creator is to proud to admit it, and the produce obviously does not want to admit that she fail in this role.