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September 10 2008

Don't Panic: Joss Whedon Temporarily Shuts Down 'Dollhouse' Production to Focus on Scripts. The highly-anticipated series, from acclaimed TV guru Joss Whedon, has shut down production for two weeks.

[ edited by Donnie on 2008-09-10 20:07 ]

ETA - I've changed the Link Title to reduce the number of heart attacks.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-09-10 21:21 ]

Cue unnecessary panic in 3... 2... 1...
Glad he's getting some actual rest for once since starting on this show.
Wow, scared the crap out of me for a second there.

But this is good, sounds like FOX is being really good this time around.
First reaction: WTF arrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!

And then read the article. Ah, that's ok.
I about had a heart attack when I first read the link text. PHEW.
Darn skippy! If it isn't up to The Masters standards stop everything! Good on Fox for giving him the time to tweak the show. I was very nervous clicking that link though...thinking it was really bad news.


"Cue unnecessary panic in 3... 2... 1..."

Well bix, it's Fox. Do you blame us? ;)

[ edited by death is my gift on 2008-09-10 20:23 ]
I think my pulse actually went faster there for a minute.
I heard about this yesterday but didn't know why exactly production was shut down. Was nervous for a second but this is reassuring.
Well that's that, 'Dollhouse' is totally cancelled, the end of the world is nigh (why now dammit, 'Dexter' season 3 starts in a few weeks ?), sky falling, cans open, bags catless - you name it, if it's bad it's happening (the world's beer production has probably ground to a halt too, bet ya).

Forget the 'Save Dollhouse' campaign, we need to skip that step and start drumming up support for a sequel to the film they'll make in a few years.
Yes, a case where the debut still being months away is beneficial, giving Joss the leeway to take a couple of weeks to make sure that things are really sharp before resuming filming.
Well bix, it's Fox. Do you blame us? ;)


Actually, yes, because Kevin Reilly is not Fox-as-usual and Joss asked for the shut down. So no reason to get all up on Fox over it, surely? I realize you're not going to say "there goes that a-hole Whedon again", but some perspective is called for :).
This headline sucks! I totally don't buy in to the Wonderful New Fox myth. They are still a cutthroat business and I wouldn't put anything past them.
Good for Joss. I know well myself what it feels like to have your plate extremely full. This break means he can get Dollhouse just exactly how he wants it. Good for everyone.
"We have every confidence that [the extra time] will allow Joss to make the show the best it can possibly be. It's very rare that you have a head writer who is also directing two episodes in a row. But we are happy that Joss is directing, because this is his vision."

Clearly, the Fox that is running Dollhouse is not the same Fox we were dealing with six years ago. People often forget that while the logo may stay the same, the Powers That Be within a company can change drastically over time.

This is a good thing.
Hey peeps. FOX want this to work. Really really.

And Fringe didn't prem great.
I thought I had heard this news earlier in the week but then I was reminded that it was for 24 instead. They had mentioned Dollhouse in that article since both of them are going to be playing back to back. Guess it was that knowledge that didn't make me jump out of my seat at the title.

You'd think you guys were the helpless female lead in a horror movie and Fox holding an ax over Dollhouse was creeping up on you. Have some faith people.
This is no time for a sense of perspective gossi, read between the lines and add a few words - the frikkin' sky may well be falling, yo ! That's got to be bad news, surely ? There's loads of it and it must be quite heavy cos it's full of stars, frankly I don't fancy our chances.
AT first there was a little panick XD, but it's all good. This is all good. Some time to relax and see the big picture maybe? lol. :)

Sounds like a good idea. :D
It's weird news, in a way. But if they want the show to work, they need it to be as good as it possibly can be.
This headline sucks! I totally don't buy in to the Wonderful New Fox myth. They are still a cutthroat business and I wouldn't put anything past them.

Fox didn't have anything to do with this. First, this article deals with the production company, 20th Century Fox, not the network Fox. Anyway, the article said that Joss asked them if production could take two weeks off, not the other way around. There is no downside to this. They have plenty of time, why not take a couple weeks to make sure the show is the best it can be?
Clearly this is what happens when you beam protons around in giant near-light-speed circles.
Wow, Fox sucks!

No wait, having actually read the article it turns out that this is good news. Better rethink my knee-jerk reaction.

Fox rocks!
All right seriously, they need to preface with two weeks or something in the headline because
1. I already have high blood pressure and high stress 2. I was about to book a flight to California. 3. A Fox exec (not sure which I just would've picked one at random) was about to get his ass whipped.

I'm so glad I read that article through. That just saved me from an assault charge. Reading really is fundamental.

[ edited by Neo-Prodigy on 2008-09-10 21:06 ]
Clearly this is what happens when you beam protons around in giant near-light-speed circles.

Yep, Kevin Reilly probably got sucked down one of those black-holes and out popped ... whoever it is we don't like from old Fox. Or we've ended up in a mirror universe and this is the evil, en-goatee'd Fox.
HHHHHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

oh. ok.
More fun headline:
Dollhouse Takes Shooting Break; Writers Lock Themselves in Writers' Room to Perfect Plot "Twists"

I've noted zeitgeist's more efficient linkified Kevin Reilly referencing.
I’ll admit that my stomach dropped a little when I read the headline.

With all of the pre-production work out of the way, I’m sure Joss can do some amazing things with two weeks in the writer’s room. I think this will make “Dollhouse” even better than it was going to be, and I’m glad Fox gave this time to Joss to concentrate on the scripts/story only.
I've noted zeitgeist's more efficient linkified Kevin Reilly referencing.

You'd almost think he's done it before or something ;).
Nothing like a terror-inducing headline in the afternoon. Glad I kept reading to the two weeks part. Although that brought me back to the land of the living better than coffee normally does-so I won't complain too much.
I may have to stop following Whedonesque on Twitter. The headline, without being able to see the next sentence nearly did me in.
I changed the headline to avoid causing anyone's death. I used to have the Kevin Reilly WikiPedia page as part of a Tab Group Bookmark in Firefox... kidding ;) I believe Kevin Reilly will give Dollhouse every chance and that's all that we can ask from him. The show still has to draw eyes and ad revenue, nothing will change that. But if it gets lots of positive notice, but not immediate ratings then living at whatever network Kevin Reilly is at is a good thing. Just ask anyone who loves Friday Night Lights.
Is there a "large, friendly letters" font you can use for the "Don't Panic" ? ;)
Who else was on the brink of an heart attack? Me too.
Breathing now.
I don't know much about the business of television, but why would Fox give a bunch of money to a show they want to fail? Of course they want their shows to succeed, it just depends how much they care to keep a good show on even if it isn't making a lot of money.
OMG they're canceling 24! I knew it when I saw Keifer Sutherland's steel-toed lady's pump! It was a sign!
"Fox didn't have anything to do with this. First, this article deals with the production company, 20th Century Fox, not the network Fox."

Sorry for the confusion, dollrific, I went off topic. I was actually responding to the bit about Kevin Reilly. He works at FOX network, not 20th Century Fox. I've heard a lot of people refer to this "new, improved FOX," but it's hard for me to buy into it.
It's nice to know Joss is still doing his whole "final cut of the scripts" thing. I'm sure most showrunners don't really take the time to read every script that comes out of the writers' room and then makes additions or rewrites as they see fit. It's what makes Joss one of the best in the business (and gives us the amazing continuity to geek out about).
Clearly Joss needs the extra writing time to carefully plot the most abrupt and heartbreaking deaths for some beloved cast members.

I'm starting a pool...
Oh, gotcha Succatash. That makes more sense. I don't know, though, I've got a good feeling about Fox this time around. Joss must, too, otherwise he wouldn't have gone to them after knowing firsthand how awful they've been in the past.
Of course they want their shows to succeed, it just depends how much they care to keep a good show on even if it isn't making a lot of money.

What's happening with T:SCC now is going to be a test for the new Fox. The show's S2 premiere dropped by around a third from S1 finale. How Fox deals with it will be an indication of what we should expect for Dollhouse.

But, the quality of writing is crucial for the show's success, so it's only good that they have the luxury of being able to focus on it.
Clearly this is what happens when you beam protons around in giant near-light-speed circles.


In a year or so when those protons collide they can call the discovery the Joss Particles or Whedon Matter.

I appreciate Joss' committment to his craft. Take the time to do it right. I only saw the updated headline so my breathing is fine.

ps... this is my first post after 7 years of lurking. Crap there goes my steady breathing.
I wonder if JJ called Joss over for two weeks to fix Fringe. I'm sure Fox wouldn't mind. lol
Welcome, caring hands!
In a year or so when those protons collide they can call the discovery the Joss Particles or Whedon Matter.

Those would make good names for fansites if Joss were a physicist. Which I'm sure he'll become soon enough. The man just has to do everything himself.
PANIC!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I feel better now. But seriously, with bix's first comment, somebody had to do it. Otherwise, we'd all have been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Right, the Save Dollhouse campaign has a new mission: raise money to fund development of a time-stopping machine which Joss can use to get this show made on schedule. (IIRC Buffy was often off schedule - scripts often arriving only on the day of filming - and over budget.)
Thanks for changing the title of the post. The sooner people know it's just the case of a show making sure its scripts are the best they can be, which is what the staff at 24 is also doing, the more relaxed we can be. We should concentrate on other things, like whether "Heroes" is really back and if Danny Strong will win that Emmy for writing the HBO movie "Recount". He's got strong competition, but we can always hope.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2008-09-11 00:17 ]
Now I can only hope he'll temporarily shut down Dollhouse while he finishes the final arc for Buffy Season 8. :(
Thanks, Pointy. Wow, greeted by a regular. Joss is Boss! Sorry, got excited. Back to lurking.

Oh wait, one thing I am wondering is maybe some of the so so feeling I get from Fringe is due to a pilot heavy with exposition. I notice that much of the exposition on Lost comes from Linus and he is a liar hence the name Lost for it describes how I feel much of the time I watch it and yet I love it so. Am I just wandering and not Lost?

I have decided to give Fringe a few more episodes 'cause of the Zack factor. Maybe the next few ones won't be so dummed down.
And Fringe didn't prem great.

gossi -- thanks, I watched it. Are there stats to measure how well ep 1 of Fringe did?
SteveP, Fringe got about 9 million viewers last night and a 3.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic (the only number that really matters). It won the demo for the night but was beat for total viewers by America's Got Talent. Yes, really.

Most shows drop after the premiere and very very few ever hold their premiere numbers. With a premiere this low, Terminator may be beating Fringe in the ratings in a couple weeks.

By comparison, Bones got almost 10 million viewers for its premiere last week and it is in in its 4th season.

It is difficult to see how this new show measures up to other new shows because so few have premiered (only CW has premiered new programs besides Fringe). My guess is that network viewership will be down another 10% this year and anyone who is comparing year over year ratings is missing the point. Cable is growing like crazy as the smaller cable nets steal the broadcast viewer with niche programming.

It's time for the Whedon network.
I am SO glad I decided to check The Futon Critic for ratings news, because we have huge news on the Fringe front:
Sunday's encore of the "Fringe" premiere to feature extended scenes from "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "24: Redemption" as well as the first four minutes from the show's second episode.
O.O Coooooool.

Unfortunately they don't have fast national ratings up yet for Tuesday. Sheesh, how fast can they be?!?

Oh, wait, Tamara got 'em. Stupid futon critic. *grumble grumble*
All of that news about what's included in the encore was already up on FOX's official Fringe blog. ;)
*rolls eyes* I'm working here! Well, sort of. Can't spend every minute on Fox.com. =P
daylight, what I've heard is the exact opposite of what you've heard: From what I can remember, there was a direct quote from Joss saying that all of his shows were always done before the deadline and under-budget.

Anyway, this sounds like a good move to me. I know we don't talk about other boards here, but some of the comments on that article kind of pissed me off since they seem to have missed the entire point of said article. There was one which especially did me in, though I'm not going to say anything further.

ETA: This same situation happened to Angel, didn't it? They temporarily shut down so they could re-think what they wanted the series' tone to be while they fixed things up on the second episode?

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2008-09-11 03:54 ]
Just wondering, but, could the shutdown also be due to the Screen Actor's Guide strike, that did not occur? Before July, I was hearing that productions were accelerated in order to have a stockpile of shows available in the event of a strike. Since, the strike did not occur, maybe a few of the shows that were filming ahead of schedule, are taking a well earned break.
Anne 5_by_5 - Interesting theory. I hadn't heard that this year. That definitely did happen last year with the writer's strike, but shows would have had to start shooting before July to take advantage of that thinking, and to my knowledge none did (which does not mean maybe a very few did). Oh, off the top of my head, FX's Son's of Anarchy shot their pilot in April and went into regular production in May IIRC.

But aside from my own assumptions, Dollhouse was actually already about 2 weeks behind schedule due to the new first episode. Production was originally to begin July 23rd but was pushed until August 4th so Joss could write the new episode. What's interesting is that for all appearances they were planning on catching up to the original schedule, because the episodes slated for mid-november never moved. Although it's possible they just hadn't re-done the schedule that far in advance. I don't know what this 2 week break will do to the overall schedule. Surely they won't be able to finish until after the christmas break now.

[ edited by bobw1o on 2008-09-11 05:40 ]
bobw1o, since they aren't premiering until January, there is no reason to keep to a previous schedule as if they were debuting in the fall. That schedule is now meaningless.
Dollhouse was never on a schedule to premier in the fall. They were announced as a January start back in May. Perhaps you missed my point. They are not and have never been in any danger of not making their premier or any other episode releases. But they still have a schedule to keep, and if something interferes with that schedule then they would have to reschedule. As of a few weeks ago they were still planing on shooting an episode in Nov ( I believe 11...) according to the original schedule. That schedule was made before they pushed production back from July to August. It makes sense to try to catch up, they probably want to avoid shooting after winter break. With another 2 week push in production I don't see how that is possible. Of course, I'm neither a producer, nor, thankfully, a UPM.

Some of this is conjecture, some is 3rd hand information (though the hand I got it from is more well-informed than I am, and I'm reasonably well-informed) but the point was really just to analyze how the schedule was gonna work from here on out, so I feel free to conjecture away!

[ edited by bobw1o on 2008-09-11 06:38 ]
You are right bob. I misunderstood.
That article's title is very misleading. If I came across that article on it's own, I'd be freaked out too.
Well, electricspacegirl, I'd say there are a fair few "news" sites guilty of that regarding this story. For example, a typical Digital Spy story headline...

Whedon's 'Dollhouse' shuts down

All about the click-creating panic reaction, as usual, which is why I'm not providing a link to the story. No reason I should help them out. ;)
Or the 'Daily Flannel' with its "End of the world, end of the world, end of the world !". OK, that's not true. Think it was actually The Sun.
I'm still loving The Sun's current mission to create as many fake stories about Doctor Who as possible. Recent ones have included David Tennant wanting to play The Doctor in movies, Bille Piper, Catherine Tate and John Simm all returning for next year's special feature length episodes, Paul McGann playing the 8th Doctor again in a Time War storyline and Catherine Zeta-Jones up for a movie role too.

Got to give them credit for trying. Sooner or later they are bound to make up a story that is remotely true. ;)
daylight: "IIRC Buffy was often off schedule - scripts often arriving only on the day of filming - and over budget "

If that's the case about BtVS scripts, that's not unusual, as actors know much to their chagrin - though I don't know for sure that is the case.

And as UC suggests above, it was not true about Joss being over budget, as he states in a Sept. '05 interview with Daniel Robert Epstein:

"Every season, of every show that I did, and that's twelve and a half seasons, came in under budget."
Anyway, the article said that Joss asked them if production could take two weeks off, not the other way around.

If I had a rabid fanbase plowing the web for news, I'd say the same. :)

Seriously, the shutdown could be a very good sign. Since Fringe didn't deliver as much as Fox had hoped for, everybody wants to make sure that Dollhouse does. So they attack rather than retreat.

On the other hand, it could just be Firefly 2.0. We'll know soon enough, I guess.

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