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December 03 2008

(SPOILER) Eliza on Dollhouse's timeslot - "Dude, we're in the age of DVR". She also tells SciFi Wire about her different roles in the show.

His original vision was for a film-noir tone, and he decided that straight-up action works better for the series, she said.

I do wish, however, that one day Joss will find a place to do a subtler show. Way back in the hazy memories of before Firefly got underway, I seem to recall that the original premise there was more of a straight drama that just happened to be genre.

Now, I love what Firefly was. But between that change, and then this one -- and I mean this even if I adore Dollhouse -- I'd really like to get to see him do a show that sticks to the original more subtle style. (Presuming, that is, he has any interest in making one, ultimately, heh.)

ETA that at least the media coverage of the show is picking up some steam now.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-12-04 08:43 ]
Great article. In light of yesterday's blog post from Fox, I wonder if they chose only start really pushing the show after new year, because it's more cost effective, or for another reason. I'll still complain for a while for the almost lack of promotion (Tabz, did say she saw the promo somewhere) during sweeps.

If we ever get a subtler show from Joss, I think it won't be at Fox, after all as many have pointed out that's the "action" network.

(Edit for grammar correction - there were some really painful ones - that's what I get for reading the news feed, twittering and writing a comment at the same time)

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2008-12-04 10:03 ]
Fox is selling Dollhouse as an "action drama" from what I recall.
Can't say that I'm not a little disappointed in the removal of the noir aspect of this. Being a fan of the genre I was really looking forward to seeing Joss' take on it. "Action drama" doesn't sound nearly as original in todays tv-scape. Well, I'll take what I can get! Still excited.
Being a fan of the genre I was really looking forward to seeing Joss' take on it.

And seeing what Tim Minear would do with it as well. Very few TV peeps can do noir as well as him.
And seeing what Tim Minear would do with it as well. Very few TV peeps can do noir as well as him.

Naturally. Oh well.
While I agree with Eliza that 'the age of DVR' has changed the way people watch TV, until it changes the way the TV networks view ratings, I'm going to continue to worry about timeslots and such. :-/

On the happy side of things, while I too am a bit disappointed that the noir-ness has been taken out of the equation, I can't really argue with an action-filled hour of Whedon-y goodness each week.
The great thing about Dollhouse IMO is it can tell every sort of story so with luck we'll still get to see Joss' take on noir, it'll just be a single episode or set of episodes rather than the tone of the whole show (and though I love noir I think I prefer a slightly more flexible approach to tone - 'action-drama' may not be original but it is broad).

And yeah to the Minear/noir double-combo, 'The Inside' was a good bit of work that easily could've become great IMO. Pity it still hasn't made it to DVD.
Furthering what Saje said (re: noir in a single episode):

Dollhouse's format of a client-of-the-week provides an intersting balance that will give Joss & Co lots of flexibility to show us MULTIPLE genres. One week: "noir", the next week: "romance", the third week, "slapstick", etc. Overarching these individual eps will be season-long storylines.

So I'm viewing this is a positive: not JUST noir, but a broader variety of styles (that typically involve some action) and may still INCLUDE noir.
While I agree with Eliza that 'the age of DVR' has changed the way people watch TV, until it changes the way the TV networks view ratings, I'm going to continue to worry about timeslots and such.

Yeah, but weren't DVR viewings at least partially responsible for TTSCC getting a full season?
But that's just it--DVR numbers probably don't matter much to networks. They want people to watch live on the hope that they'll see the commericals, since what they care about is the advertising. With DVR, people can skip commericals.

So if a show is being predominately watched on DVRs, advertisers probably don't like that, therefore, networks won't either.
pat32082 wrote:

So if a show is being predominately watched on DVRs, advertisers probably don't like that, therefore, networks won't either.

Hence the problem with selling shows to advertisers, instead of viewers.

Personally, I'd pay to not see commercials. They're stupid, offensive and they waste my time. I'd much rather pay for the show and have it delivered to me as part of a subscription, either through physical media or electronic download. I watch TV so little that I restrict my viewing to the very best. Joss Whedon's work is the very best, IMHO.
I'd pay too. Not for downloads (I prefer watching on TV), but that could get expensive. And if enough people aren't willing to fork over the bucks to cover costs and such, it might not be viable. Cable prices are already high.
That photo of Tamoh, Joss, and Eliza is priceless.
I'd pay as well for Dollhouse. Heck, I'd pay to download Dollhouse. Unfortunately stupid iTunes and the like don't want my money anyway, because I'm not in the US. Too bad for them.
I'd pay, if we all paid. If they did switch to audience payments, it would greatly limit the amount of television shown. With our dozens & dozens of dollars.
That photo of Tamoh, Joss, and Eliza is priceless.

I agree with that and am surprised no one else brought it up. Joss looks like he just wants to get away from the two of them. Like, "Just... just get off me." ;)

I'd subscribe to a service that was on my TV where I could just get whatever shows I wanted and nothing else, AND easily try out new shows when I just want to see if I'd like them. Bones, Monk, House, Fringe, Dollhouse. I honestly won't watch much else. But the TV thing is a must.

I'm also hoping that after the first 13 episodes or so, when Dollhouse has that big audience of loyal viewers (optimism!), that Joss might be able to take some significant steps to having more long story arcs and doing more film noir type deals. As long as he keeps those ideas at the back of his mind when writing the action-drama one-show storylines.
Okay, I just had a Deadwood flashback. "You pay...or she pays."

Carry on.
That is my favorite Dollhouse promo pic yet. I first saw it around Comic-Con time. Given the Sugarshock shirt, maybe it was taken at the con.

The eyeball camera thing and playing different ages has me very intrigued.
I agree with that and am surprised no one else brought it up.

It's not a new photo, hence the lack of comment - think it's from Comic-con if memory serves.

ETA: or WSS™ ;).

And I wouldn't pay if everyone else paid, that just makes sense from a game theory perspective.

(kidding, course I would ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-04 18:15 ]

For a second there, I thought Saje was being kind of recursively full of himself. :)
Never ! Well, never recursively anyway ;).
I learned something interesting today from a friend of mine who is actually an official Nielsen Rating demographic viewer (she represents 15,000 people in the single, female, ages 35-45 grouping). She said that DVR recordings are in fact counted as viewership. So, there you go.
But presumably they're still going to count them differently because of the ad-skipping. Anyone?
Yep, publishes the DVR viewer figures each week. Networks have counted them for a while now, it's more a question of how much those figures count with them. I.e. they probably don't count a DVR viewer as a full viewer because DVR viewers tend to watch fewer adverts (though not necessarily none, and not even necessarily significantly fewer, depending on who you listen to).

ETA: Why pee and post, eh ? I mean, look what happens. Let that be a lesson to you kids.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-04 21:03 ]
Either way, I'm trying to talk her into watching Dollhouse. At least then there would be 15,000 more viewers added to the list.
Yeah, I think there'll always be an asterisk next to those numbers. Although if it's still "remote free viewing" then people might be less likely to skip the shorter breaks. Preferably watch it by 3AM so it counts as the same day.
Yes, if I'm remembering correctly, a percentage of DVR viewership is accounted for in the ratings. (Is it 'live plus seven' now? The total viewership of a show being live viewings plus DVR viewings within a week of the initial airing?) But these ratings are still considered 'asterisk-worthy' because A)they take a week to gather and B) most DVR users are skipping past the commercials.

And of course, other 'new media' means of viewing such as online streaming and iTunes downloads aren't really considered a significant factor as of yet.
There's Live+SD (Same Day) and Live+7. There're also "C3 rankings" which, believe it or not, are ratings for the adverts.

I read something a couple of weeks ago (which handily I can't find right now, yay me ;) that said even among DVR viewers that skip ads, many would watch the first advert in a break and the last one in a break so that they didn't miss any of the show or have to faff around rewinding etc. (the middle adverts were much more likely to be skipped). Given that, the "remote free" idea may indeed be an attempt to get people not to bother skipping ads at all.

There's also been speculation about fast-forwardable adverts i.e. ads you can still see even while you're fast forwarding. So I reckon DVRs are gonna change advertising a lot but not necessarily kill it (3 months ago BTW I just assumed everyone skipped/fast-forwarded ads cos that's what i'd do - in the last 10-15 years i've probably seen 5 adverts i'd watch if given the choice - but it turns out people'll surprise you. Who knew ? ;).
The problem with Eliza's comment is this....the DVR is still not considered the main source for ratings. It's still Neilsen's. I particpated in a test group that Nielsen was running to take DVR's ratings and make it a part of their overall calculated number. However, the DVR would only impact the overall rating's number and Nielson would continue to count it's traditional calculation as the main driver.

I am happy that they are starting to pay attention to these numbers but there is not much weight on DVR numbers right now. It's rediculous but that's what happens when the Nielsen's carry so much weight. There was talk of going away from Nielsen and they quashed that by saying they would take DVR data into consideration. In fact the major DVR company I use agreed to stop posting their ratings by DVR list after reaching an agreement with Neilsen (and also because it contradicted some of Neilsen's ratings).

So despite what Eliza said.....time slot does matter. At least until more then 18-20% of America's viewing comes from a DVR.

[ edited by DarenG on 2008-12-04 22:27 ]

[ edited by DarenG on 2008-12-04 22:35 ]

So despite what Eliza said.....time slot does matter.

Correct. We live in the age of the DVR, I agree with Eliza for sure, but networks and advertisers do not.
Though previously we lived in the age of video and many a show still got cancelled.
Hmm, ELiza discussing slots, has possibilities.
Eliza is commenting on the reality of the world. The advertisers don't like that reality. Too bad for them. They are still going to pay to run ads on TV. Of course they would love 12 million live viewers for Dollhouse on Fridays at 9. They will probably settle for 7 million live viewers and an additional 2 million added in the plus 7 DVR numbers. They will also closely watch Hulu (which is starting to make substantial advertiser dollars), and iTunes.

The trick is for Dollhouse to perform substantially better than what has been in the Friday night at 9 on Fox slot previously. last year on Friday 2/15 there was a House repeat at 9 pm. It pulled in 7.12M viewers and a 2.7/8 for the demo. If Dollhouse can beat (or even match since Fox viewership overall is down 10% this year) this then that will be very good. And before anyone says anything about it being a repeat, House repeats better than any other show on TV.

A couple weeks ago during the last Friday of Nov sweeps Fox had a unscripted show that got 5.75M viewers and a 1.6/5 in the demo. I think Dollhouse can pull a 7M viewers with a 2.5/7 in the demo.
Out of all Joss' shows, this really should be the easiest show for FOX to sell--hot chick doing bad ass, cool, funny, sexy stuff, and ooh, it's mysterious. If they can't bring viewers to the show that first night, their marketing people should be fired.
TamaraC, if Dollhouse pulls in 8% for the demo it should be absolutely fine (in fact, for FOX, it would be fantastic). Terminator is currently sitting at about 4% on Monday, and Terminator will be the lead in, and will suffer on a Friday, so it's going to be a challenge and a half. "Terminator" actually pushed FOX below the network Uni two weeks ago on Monday, pushing it out of the 'big four' completely. The thing helping kill it? The dancing show. Tim Minear can tell you 'bout that show.

Here's a bit of good news - Friday will give Dollhouse a bit of time to build an audience. That's up to Joss and everybody else working on the creative elements of the show. The bad news is I suspect regardless of what the show is like creatively, the launch change will doom it, because it won't have a big enough audience going in from the outset. This happened with "THE INSIDE" for Tim - that actually grew it's audience week to week, finishing with a bigger live audience than it started with, but it never started with near enough to justify production continuing, so production closed down.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-12-04 23:24 ]
That photo (which ComicCon-iness Saje has pointed out) - I think it's lovely.

It was part of a series shot by James Dimmock during ComicCon by EW at the Hard Rock Hotel. I kinda think that the SciFi channel should have credited it, even if they had permission to use it.

I don't think it looks like Our Jossir is trying to get away from them - I think it looks one part painful-blissy and a lot "not fond of getting my photo taken, y'all, 'specially with folks of such Magnitude of Pretty."

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-12-05 00:14 ]
Dudes, Joss isn't trying to get away from his cast members in that photo. In fact, he looks wicked gay for Tahmoh.
I thought it looked very "Let's pretend to be angsty for the camera. Also, Tahmoh is my mancrush to lean on."
gossi, I think that TSCC may actually do better on Friday than it does on Monday. The competition is insane on Mondays. Maybe not in live viewers but definitely in share. I still think (unless ratings are insanely good, like above 10 million) we will get only a 13 episode mini-series of Dollhouse. I've resigned myself to that and am at peace about it.
I still think we'll get more episodes, Tamara. The start date for episode 13 is still before it airs, so I think they'll order a few more. Not sure if they'll air it.
Ooo I followed QuoterGal's link to the photo gallery and those are possibly the best celebrity photos I've ever seen. Relevant to the board is this one. Also this one's relevant just about anywhere in my completely unbiased Simon Pegg is awesome opinion.
Okay...Sunfire, your link for David was yummy.
Wow. I guess Eliza's going to buy me a DVR. That's really nice of her.
Heh. I interpreted the expression as one of pain and frustration, but perhaps intense man-desire is another way to see it.
Love is pain, VeryVeryCrowded.

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