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"I used to be a highly respected Watcher. Now I'm a wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily."
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July 16 2008

Talking 'Dollhouse' and 'Virtuality' with the head of Fox. Chicago Trib's Maureen Ryan speaks with FOX's Peter Liguori about Comic-Con, and Joss's fan loyalty.

Liguori's new take:

"The thing with Joss, you launch his show and instantly it becomes somebody’s favorite show. To me, in this current television environment, if you can be somebody’s favorite show, you’d better be patient with that show."


[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-07-16 16:25 ]

For those defending the "neo-Fox" attitude - you should know the next season of Terminator (on Fox) has been changed to "simple" self-encapsulated episodes (instead of a more complex story arc which is less profitable for syndication) and a Fox studio head wanted a new female character introduced in the first or second episode - the character was named after him (via a scrambling of the letters). Classy.
Link? Exec in question? The defense is mainly of Kevin Reilly who has a keen interest in Dollhouse, though his way of doing things should be wider spread than your info would imply. Peter Liguori's comments above seem to be in support of the Reilly way of doing things. Nothing's a guarantee, but I still believe Fox is the best possible place (on network TV) for Dollhouse to be right now.
Oh sorry zeitgeist, the exec was Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly and here's the link.
Well, that doesn't sound particularly good, TaraLivesOn, but I'm trying not to completely give up on FOX here. Most of what we've heard has been extremely positive, so until they actually do screw up, I'm gonna give them the benefit of the doubt for now. It's good to give the old cynicism muscles a rest every once in a while. ;)

And yay! We're back!
What you're implying is that Reilly demanded the character named after him, which doesn't seem to be substantiated by the link. For all we know it was to thank Reilly for giving them a second season when their ratings had declined week to week through Season One (if I'm not mistaken). Its also completely normal for the network to say things like "bring the new character in early in the season so if people like her it boosts the show". By episode seven they may be on thin ice ratingswise. There's no telling what ratings would've looked like for this show in a non-strike time. I'm normally cynical enough for most people, but I think you are probably over-reacting.
zeitgeist, sorry if I wasn't clear but if you read my original post I didn't say he insisted on the name - I read into it as a writer's way of saying "I'm not taking responsibility for this, since it's your idea, I'm naming them after you". Can you imagine if Buffy was given the Terminator treatment for S2? There would not have been an S3.
I read into it as a writer's way of saying "I'm not taking responsibility for this, since it's your idea, I'm naming them after you".

It could also be a bunch of other scenarios, and those are mroe likely than the one you've read into this. Generally you don't name characters in a resentful fashion after people in a position to make key decisions about your show. They'd be wise to that. It's just not smart. Or professional. They were thinking about introducing the character anyway, just the timing is different now. That seems like a thin case for resentment strong enough to override good sense. And I give Josh Friedman more credit than that.
See, that I can totally get behind ;), though I don't know that I believe it. Angel was given that treatment for S5, though by all accounts that wasn't the reason for cancellation. In general Reilly and Liguori seem to subscribe to the 'give them time' theory. That doesn't mean their job stops being 'how can we draw in more viewers and keep an audience' and less arc-y doesn't necessarily mean no arc elements. Quite frankly, I don't think that the shows strengths were in arc-focused stories anyway, but that's just an opinion.

Buffy was a big fish in a small pond, that's why it got a chance to grow. Fox seems like the best place for any growth period to be allowed. Also Joss is a proven thing, Josh Friedman is not, right? No offense meant by that, I enjoy T:SCC.
“Dollhouse,” [we made a] series commitment (that cast is pictured at left). That’s when you’re sitting there with a showrunner who’s proven, he sits there and talks you through the first 6-, 8-, 12-episode arc . . .


Yeah, yeah, yeah! And: darn tootin. The Demon Writer of TV has earned the right to complete an arc before annual thumb wiggle of doom or deliverance. It's best for him, best for us, and best for television.
Oy, yeah, your theory about SCC and Reilly is totally unsupported by that link. (And, to be honest, they weren't managing the serialized nature of their writing very well in season one anyway.)

But back to the link at hand, the important bit -- and the one that supporters the sorts of things some of us have been talking about -- is when PL says this:
To me, in this current television environment, if you can be somebody’s favorite show, you’d better be patient with that show.

[It used to be] and 18-share show, that was the bar you had to jump over. If you’re looking at a 7-share show in an 18-share-hit environment, wrap it up, move on. Done. Today, I sit there and say, you know, I sat there from a distance and saw “House” premiere at a 7-share. I know I have certain tools at my disposal for promotional platforms. And you know what, I’d rather know I have a very strong, loyal core that I can build on.

It's an interesting time (read: "difficult transition") for networks; with so much competition now for eyeballs from cable/satellite broadcasters, Internet, and video games (i.e "this current television environment") -- a show that has a consistent, loyal following is a better bet than one whose audience fluctuates (or shrinks) from week to week. I think that network execs are still coming to terms with audience fragmentation and smaller shares.

Let's just hope that they don't blow the benefits of having a "Joss Whedon" show through poor promotion or scheduling.
Well the show is getting an insanely good timeslot and I am guessing it will be promoted like we have never seen before starting in October during baseball and then November and December during football.
Had other people seen that picture of the cast before, and I just missed it? There's a picture of the whole cast.
Yeah, it came out the day of the Fox upfronts, dreamlogic. But the trailer was released, like, a day later, so it was probably somewhat overshadowed by that.
Idol, 24, no sports interruptions... I'd say Dollhouse is in a very good spot.

Not to mention the new take on bringing the cast and shows to Comic Con. High amount of exposure in a little bit of time. FOX is getting the idea on what their strong followers are interested in.
[It used to be] and 18-share show, that was the bar you had to jump over. If you’re looking at a 7-share show in an 18-share-hit environment, wrap it up, move on. Done. Today, I sit there and say, you know, I sat there from a distance and saw “House” premiere at a 7-share. I know I have certain tools at my disposal for promotional platforms. And you know what, I’d rather know I have a very strong, loyal core that I can build on.


Interesting how the "it used to be" scenario sounds exactly like what happened with Drive, which is really not so far in the distant past. I even remember back when it debuted and was cancelled in the same night, people were talking about House and wondering why it was afforded the opportunity to grow from a 7-share to an 18-share show and Drive was not.

And while I'm on the subject of Drive, does that new Dollhouse promo pic remind anyone of the Drive promo pics? Or is it just that every genre ensemble piece out there now uses the same publicity photographers?

[ edited by BrewBunny on 2008-07-16 22:07 ]
My understanding is that Ligouri was the biggest champion of Drive at the network but there were enough other people who were not. Reilly still worked at NBC when Drive was canceled.

House had critical acclaim. Drive did not.
I kind of like Liguori's attitude, even though in my mind he represents the dark side of Fox (as opposed to Kevin Reilly's light side ;). We should also remember that Josh Friedman only did one epsiode of T:TSSC -- every single other episode used his notes and stuff but was shot with him on the picket line. This is more or less his freshman season as far as shooting the show and he might be more amenable to studio suggestions, especially considering the show did lose audience as the weeks went by last winter. Not saying he'd cave to a bad suggestion, of course.

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