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March 13 2009

Dollhouse renewal "still possible" says TV Guide Magazine. But a Fox network insider tells The Biz "It's going to have to make financial sense for us".

I find this part interesting, event hough I assume it's speculation on the part of the article's writer:
One route to survival could be sharing the series with a cable network (Sci-Fi?) or DirecTV.
That was the plan for the revival of the original BSG, before it fell apart and made room for Firefly: It would air on Fox and then on SciFi.
As I said on my radio show thing the other night when asked - Fox haven't decided. They're waiting to see some more ratings to see if it makes the money or not. If it continues to drop viewers every week, it won't come back.
Depressing. We have talented people like Joss who create great art, but can't, or at least not under these circumstances.
It's actually quite nice they haven't opted out, Tonya.
Yes, this doesn't sound particularly negative. I mean, saying "It's going to have to make financial sense for us" is pretty much the equivalent of saying "We would need cameras to shoot it." It's a given that it would have to make financial sense for Fox to renew it.
This article is a whole lot of no new news wrapped up in exciting new ads.
This is good news. I hear Joss has accomplished as many as 6 still possible things before breakfast.
But a Fox network insider tells The Biz "It's going to have to make financial sense for us".

No shit, Sherlock
Maybe some British/Canadian channel could help to produce like with BSG.

This article is a whole lot of no new news wrapped up in exciting new ads.
And why I'm not excited?
This news is neither good nor bad. I take it as if Dollhouse makes money at Fridays at nine for Fox, it can survive. It's all up to us.
Nope. It's all up to the viewing public. Of which we are but a little piece.
And why I'm not excited?


I'm assuming because the "exciting" part was sarcasm and you correctly failed to be excited by the ads, as did I.

It's all up to us.


Correct, if by us you mean those of us with Nielsen boxes ;) (though DVRs can't hurt).
I would love to see Dollhouse do an FNL-style thing. Some cable channel gets the rights to show it first, and fronts half the money, then Fox plays it later.

Or whatever deal they came up with. Please don't cancel Dollhouse, is really my point.
That's what I meant, us in the general viewing public and specifically, those who have those pesky Nielsen Boxes, which I am not a part of. :(
It's up to Joss and the writers and producers to deliver brilliant episodes which get people talking and bring people in to the story. Seriously.
I agree gossi, I meant in terms of what happens now and from the fan perspective. It seems they're mostly done except some post production, right? It's absolutely up to them to make a show people want to watch, but that seems past now and at this point it's down to whether the show's drawing enough viewers.
gossi, I know (what you said up there) but when I think about how tenuous it (art) all is based on money, it does depress me.
Lots of fantastic art's been done for pay. I don't think that's the problem. The problem's when the people paying for the art send notes to the artists requiring them to change stuff such that it botches the art. The same people can also send notes that make the art better.
Meh. If this gets canceled Joss can work on something I actually enjoy watching. Dollhouse isn't that great. I mean, really.
Great art (and artists) has almost always been contingent on money/patronage.
Joss and the writers delivered brilliant episodes of Firefly, for all the good that did them. And people were certainly talking about the episodes, some from OMR on, but especially after Out Of Gas.
It's up to Joss and the writers and producers to deliver brilliant episodes which get people talking and bring people in to the story. Seriously.


Well, the eps are already written and produced (past tense), so really, its up to people to tune in.

If this gets canceled Joss can work on something I actually enjoy watching.


Maybe Milo will help me out with some recoding of the post function that adds "In my opinion..." before every post :) If this gets cancelled, its possible that Joss won't feel like working on "something I actually enjoy watching". If you don't like it and don't have faith in it, its perfectly okay to stop watching. Maybe its just not for you?

ETA - everyone is totally entitled to their opinion, I just don't see the point in raining on the parade of folks who do enjoy it.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-03-13 22:58 ]
Yeah, all Joss has to do is create brilliant episodes and get people talking? Um, no. What does "brilliance" have to do with it? David Simon made brilliant episodes of The Wire and got people talking. The Wire would have been canceled in a week on Fox. You think Fox wouldn't have canceled BSG with its 1.7 million viewers? That has sure been considered brilliant by a lot of folks and sure has had people talking.

Brilliance does not mean people watch. Brilliance has very little to do with success on major network TV. Of course art and artists rely for the most part on money and patronage. It comes down more to who's going to put up the money and what they consider a success for that that they're patronizing. I'll say it till I'm blue in the face: Joss should be on some sort of cable network. Then he could be brilliant with less than 4 million viewers and still be allowed to make his art.

Oh, and amen, zeitgeist.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-03-13 22:04 ]
When did F-O-X start spelling D-O-O-M?

Oh...right. When they yanked "Firefly" all over the schedule & didn't bother to air it in correct order, when they canned "Drive" before it had a chance to find itself and when they didn't even promote "Dollhouse" until a month before it was supposed to premiere, and even then just a few quick scattered promos, but they'd promoted the HELL out of "Fringe" and "Lie to Me*" last year.

SIGH.

To paraphrase Ed Wood: "Stupid, stupid, stupid execs!"

Just hope "Dollhouse" doesn't turn into Plan 9 From Outer Space.
First, lets cut the panic mode. I think "Dollhouse" is safe for its first 13 episode season on FOX. Whether or not it continues towards a second season remains to be seen.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not impressed with what has been shown so far. I want to love it, but it's missing a certain bite that we so love Joss for.

Now, I'm truly looking forward to episode six which, according to cast members, will be the first time Joss had a free hand with the writing and directing. Can't wait!

And z, what was that all about :)
Wow, the revisionists are out in full force I see. I guess it is to be expected. Firefly was never "yanked all over the schedule". That is just silly. Drive was DOA.

Dollhouse had a large presence at Comic-Con SEVEN months before it premiered. Promos were not "scattered" but actually pretty ubiquitous in the last few weeks before air. Lie to Me received little to no promotion until about 3 weeks before it began in January and Fringe got the normal fall build-up.
No shit, Sherlock


Well there are those in the fandom who think Fox is a charity who should air Joss' stuff just cause it's Joss.
I am actually grateful that Fox gave Joss & Eliza a chance with Dollhouse.

Yes I'd love a season 2. But Fox execs have a responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profits. If Dollhouse isn't the vehicle to deliver those profits then Fox execs are obligated to try another solution. As fans we may not like that outcome, but it's business... and that same business it what gave Fox the money to invest in Dollhouse in the first place.

Artists always have the option of going solo... (See Dr. Horrible.)
To be clear, I was talking past tense. The eps are basically finished. I meant it's up to the producers to have made episodes which are deep and involving for the show to survive. Promos were rich and plentiful for Dollhouse.
Yeah, I was just giving you a hard time, gossiferous :).

ETA - I tend to disagree with rich and plentiful. Nice that they were during AI, but still... not much until the last few weeks.
"Promos were rich and plentiful for Dollhouse." What? Is this the same gossi who was lamenting the poor quality of Dollhouse promotion for so long and mulling over alternate options to get the message out there? Has this turned into Bizarro Whedonesque? As for making a show that's deep and involving enough to survive, huh? Again, what does quality have to do with getting a lot of viewers on network TV? Quality has almost nothing to do with it.

Me, I have no idea whether the promos for Dollhouse have been adequate or not. But I have to say I'm getting a little tired of all the "all hail the Great and Wondrous Business People!" rhetoric. Yeah, the Fox execs are business people. It doesn't mean they know what they're doing or that they've made the right decisions any more than the creatives have. Being a "Business Person" does not mean you have more firing synapses. It doesn't mean you have some inner track to wisdom. The creatives have a responsibility to produce and so do the all-wise "business" geniuses. Perhaps the Fox business people made a poor choice in funding Dollhouse - they certainly sound as if they weren't prepared for what they got. They knew they were dealing with Joss Whedon, cultmeister. What did they expect, Heroes?

Perhaps the poor viewership is partly their fault, too. Just a thought. As for their marketing department, I'm no "revisionist," but I can't say with a straight face that Fox dealt with "Firefly" in an intelligent and rational manner if they indeed wished it to catch on and succeed. Preempting it, airing it out of order - I'd say the revisionism is in arguing that "Firefly" was treated with anything approaching rationality.

Artists also have the option of going to places that fund the kind of work that they do. *cough*Cable*cough.*
There was poor promotion for Dollhouse until the final few weeks before the premiere. It was during that initial period that many of us were grousing. Once that home stretch arrived, however, commercials popped up pretty much everywhere, nearly every night, including repeatedly during the first two weeks of American Idol.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-03-13 23:06 ]
Were the commercials well-targeted? Were they adequately conceived? Did Fox know what it was marketing and how to market it?

I don't think Fox should be a charity. I'm not a deranged Fox-owes-it-to-us fan. That's not what I'm arguing. I'm merely arguing that I'm not sure we can automatically assume that their business folk did their jobs right or that we can blame Dollhouse's lack of success only on the creative side.
Indeed. The promos started pretty late in the game, which I was a bit miffed with, but then somebody pointed out how much promotion costs. It turns out, it's a lot of money. When a show is on a Friday night, you have a limited audience anyway, so a limited chance to earn that money back. It's a return of investment argument, and ultimately there's a tipping point where - no matter how much you advertise - you're only going to get so many viewers for a Friday night genre sci-fi series. It could have been worse, we could have been Terminator, which got exactly one week of very few adverts.

I did rag on the network for the overtly sexual nature of the promos. And I still hate that angle. But, the truth is, both the network and Joss+Eliza were on board with that. It's not like they did the kind of promo those two hated.

Both Joss and Tim were instrumental in reordering many episodes of Firefly. Not many people seem to remember that, but it's actually true.

I'm not saying FOX is perfect. Far from it; the notes they gave on DOLLHOUSE were never exactly going to make the show artistically better, and some of the promotional mistakes were bad (the handling of the Friday night move, for example, was extremely poor from a PR point of view). I am saying they put out a good number of Dollhouse promos and have kept it on the air as promised, and the only way for the show to now find it's audience is if it makes people tune in.
Wait! (Bounces marshmallow off gossi's forehead) Yep, he's there. Thank goodness!
I'm merely arguing that I'm not sure we can automatically assume that their business folk did their jobs right or that we can blame Dollhouse's lack of success only on the creative side.


The timeline

Joss expresses a desire to come back to network tv.
Fox welcomes him back with open arms.
Fans go "Eh? Once bitten and all that".
Reviews of the first Dollhouse pilot script are stellar.
Fox goes "oh shit this is brilliant but it's commercial suicide".
Joss reworks the pilot to suit Fox.
The suits damn it with faint praise but decide to go with it.
For some ungodly reason the first five episodes are regarded as pilot episodes. Reviewers and fandom aren't quite sure what to make of this.
Episode 6 regarded as the turning point for the show.
Detractors go "ummmm why should we wait till episode 6 before the good stuff kicks in?".
Fandom gets faintly embarrassed with backlash, splits occur as each episode airs.
Though praise for each episode grows as the show goes on.
All bets are off for what happens after episode 6 airs.
... Profit !

Wait, did I do that right ?
You left out the part where "chicks" and/or "dockers" are "gotten" ;).
If we don't know if the "business people" (never really know who a term like this is referring to. Is it just the scary corporate bogeyman? Murdoch? Chernin? Ligouri? Reilly? Some convenient nameless schmuck in a suit?) did their job right, how can they be blamed?
Well now Simon has ruined gossi's idea to write a book about the making of Dollhouse by doing it in thirteen lines.
Less is more.

I could do a sequel and go with a fourteenth line.
Faceless people are always easier to blame, as you don't need to look them in the eyes... and being faceless they may not have any! Bonus!

p.s. - Simon, just release a Special Edition later!
There's no excuse for faceless people. They can do face transplants now.
Yeah but they'd have to get the face from somewhere right ? So we're always gonna be one face down - I think it's thermodynamics or something.
You take the face from a dead person. They don't need it, and no one's out there missing a face.
Well, technically the deceased's loved ones are "missing that face"...
Well, now they don't need to - just get the transplantee to pop their head round the door every now and again.

(and I am totally not ticking 'Face' on my organ donor card. That's just weird)
Well they can go look at the person who received it, then!

ETA a "damn it, Saje".

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-03-13 23:45 ]
Who's talking about scary corporate bogeymen? I'm not. That's a straw man. I don't think the Fox business side = automatic evil. I'm just tired of the rhetorical backlash against anyone who dares to question the acumen of the business side of Fox on "Dollhouse." I used "business people" tongue in cheek. Next I'll be castigated for writing it "The Great and Awesome Business People." Yeah, that was meant seriously. What I'm saying is that whether we're talking Ligouri or some nameless schmuck, who's to know if they did their job right or not? Does anyone here know? If you do, step up. If not, please don't tell me that just because Fox has to make their decisions according to what makes "business sense" that they've automatically known all along what actually makes business sense. Any of these people can be at least partly responsible for the failure of Dollhouse if it comes to that: Joss, the other creative people, Fox marketing, Fox programming, nameless people, named people.

But it would seem that that if one dares to question Fox here, one is crying corporate evil and blaming the faceless and taking the easy way out. Not so.

Simon, your timeline suggests that the suits should have pulled out when they didn't like the reworked pilot and first eps. Why put on something you don't think works?
ETA a "damn it, Saje".

Beat you by a nose ;).

Simon, your timeline suggests that the suits should have pulled out when they didn't like the reworked pilot and first eps. Why put on something you don't think works?


Because they made a big hooha about Joss coming back and that Dollhouse was one of their new premium (for want of a better word) shows. Cancelling would have led to huge egg on face. Burying it on a Friday and praying it gets an audience was seen as the least worst alternative. Personally I think Fox gave up on Dollhouse late last year and from episode 6 onwards they just let Joss get on with it.

I think come June this is what will happen. Episodes 6-13 will rivet the fandom. We will go "my god that was amazing". Critics will change their tune but by that time the audience will have reduced to a trickle. So we don't get a second season. Which is a shame cause the finale will be talked about for years to come.
Do you know what's in the finale, Simon? :)
June? Won't we be done in May?
I just find it so depressing that they could've gone from such excitement as they apparently had at the beginning--Reilly saying he was dazed during his convo with Joss, just so happy to have him back, things like that--to such... sigh. I want to be rich so that I can start the Joss Charity Foundation.
We'll be rendered speechless by the finale and unable to complain until June.

The initial agreement was 7 episodes guaranteed, wasn't it?
June? Won't we be done in May?

It's May now but don't forget the clocks go forwards at the end of the month.

Do you know what's in the finale, Simon? :)

Probably not, but he knows us (and how long we talk about stuff ;).
I think Simon has it exactly right.

phlebotinin, network TV is a game of chance. Every network orders several new shows every year, throws them all out on air and prays that 1 out of 3 sticks. There isn't a whole lot of science or "business sense" about it. It is 99.9% luck.
We should pick network execs from lottery winners in that case. Or breed them for luck like in 'Ringworld'.
If FOX can only expect a limited number of viewers on Friday night, and only promote as such, then what do they really expect? If nothing can survive there, perhaps FOX should just cancel their Friday lineup.
I'm thinking late September/early October?
Will the show have time to grow an audience between the gamechanging episode 6 and the time when the suits have to make their decision? How long will that window be? Two weeks? A month?
The problem with the "game-changer" episode 6 is, people generally don't come back to a show they've tried and not liked IMO. And how is a "game-changer" going to attract new viewers ? Surely they won't even know it's a change if they never "played" the old "game" ?

So I don't see episode 6 saving the show, I just see it as potentially rocking the world of those of us that've watched from the start.

If nothing can survive there, perhaps FOX should just cancel their Friday lineup.

Well the effectively did that previously by having reality TV on there, that's pretty much a tacit admission that you've lost the night surely ?

(it's so cheap that it doesn't matter if you're 3rd or worse in the ratings)
I love this "game changing" episode six thing. Did joss say that? 'cos it's really not.

Simons thing above is, I believe, how it'll play out. Unless lots of people jump on the joey train.
Do you know what's in the finale, Simon? :)


I've seen very brief mentions of what the finale is about and I think it sounds most intriguing.
I love this "game changing" episode six thing. Did joss say that? 'cos it's really not.

Well, depends how you define "game changer" but Eliza said:
AVC: It isn’t like Joss is some new kid on the block, though. He has a lot of shows under his belt, and he’s got this large cult following. Is it frustrating when you get that kind of feedback?

ED: Honestly, yes. I understand it from a business perspective, and from Fox’s view, but at the same time, we’ve now done 13 episodes, and people have said that the show took off once they finally realized that Joss is best off left alone to do his thing. That happens around episode six—six through 13 are just extraordinary. I love one, two, three, four, and five, but Joss’ first script that he did after the pilot is number six, which is called “Man On The Street,” and it is just unbelievable. From that point on, the world unfolds in Joss’ way, with Joss’ speed, and it’s really remarkable.

Sounds like a definite "turning point", if you prefer that phrase gossi. Maybe not straight from the horse's mouth but surely at least horse adjacent ?
We should pick network execs from lottery winners in that case. Or breed them for luck like in 'Ringworld'.

But that will take six generations, Saje. I for one can't wait that long, and I don't suppose Joss has that many generations left, himself.
No idea if Joss, or anyone else, used that phrase, but Eliza has said this:
Joss’ first script that he did after the pilot is number six, which is called “Man On The Street,” and it is just unbelievable. From that point on, the world unfolds in Joss’ way, with Joss’ speed, and it’s really remarkable.
Which, as much as it could be debated, is a lot of why reviewers call it the "game changer" episode.

ETA yet another "damn it, Saje".

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-03-14 00:29 ]
I think Simon is right (but we'll talk about it for eons to come). And, yeah, episode 6 might rock my socks off, but if socks are present to begin with the rocking, then they're going to miss out.

Psst Saje. I figured out our confusion of Ep 4. Go check.

What might happen is we'll (fans & reviewers & critics) will get so vocal about Episode 6 that others will join the party a couple of hours before close. At least we'll go out with a "huzzah!".

OR, if merging Fox, F/X, etc... is the way of their new business, maybe they'll ask us gentle viewers to follow them to their cable mate... *wonders off in hallucinogenic state*
Before saje beat B!x 'by a nose', this time by 'the horse's mouth'. Do I sense a pattern?
Before saje beat B!x 'by a nose', this time by 'the horse's mouth'. Do I sense a pattern?

We're working down and back. Do the math, I guess.
The math is the [horse's] penis.

But that will take six generations, Saje. I for one can't wait that long, and I don't suppose Joss has that many generations left, himself.

Yeah, we also need to invent perfect cryogenic storage and/or time-travel peacemonger. I'll admit, the plan still has the odd kink to work out.
Per the new link, Joss sent eps 6 and 7 out to critics (or "newsly" types) saying that ep 6 is where it all becomes really super-intense and awesome. Why is it so crazy to think that news of the awesomeness will spread, by word of mouth, critical reviews, etc., and draw new people to the show? Didn't that kinda happen with Buffy?

Of course, whether it would save the show depends on the size of the decisionmaking window I mentioned above, right?

[ edited by Squishy on 2009-03-14 00:42 ]

[ edited by Squishy on 2009-03-14 00:44 ]
Joss sent eps 6 and 7 out critics

I think Needs is actually episode 8, not episode 7.
Oh, okay. I just assumed they'd be sent out in order.
Why is it so crazy to think that news of the awesomeness will spread, by word of mouth, critical reviews, etc., and draw new people to the show?

I guess we'll have to come up with a more inspiring motto than "It's finally good!"
"Dollhouse: Not as shit as it was !" ;-).

Why is it so crazy to think that news of the awesomeness will spread, by word of mouth, critical reviews, etc., and draw new people to the show? Didn't that kinda happen with Buffy?

I didn't say it was crazy, I said I personally didn't think it was going to happen. To me, the people who care that Joss is getting a chance to really do his thing will have watched from the pilot i.e. if you're not a Joss fan why would you care that "From that point on, the world unfolds in Joss’ way, with Joss’ speed ..." ? And if you are (a fan) surely you're likely to be watching already ?

Maybe i'm wrong (hopefully), guess we'll find out in about 2-3 weeks.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-14 00:52 ]
I think the renewal or otherwise will depend primarily on how the rest of season one is received. Instead of panicking let's wait and see.
I don't see a lot of picnicking in this thread, actually. I see a lot of considered, but hopeful, realism.
I'm not panicking. I'm merely obsessing.
Bzz, bzzzzz ...
I am so stoked for "Man on the Street." I mean, I thought that "Gray Hour" and "True Believer" were both phenomenal, so I'm prepared to fall in deep, deep love.
"Dollhouse: Not as shit as it was !"

That is my kind of PR right there.
Actually on further though I guess would say "Dollhouse: shit, or the shit?"
I'm clearly not an "inside" whedonesquer yet as I have no clue about bees and picnicking and shipping and squee. I don't even know what ETA means and its driving me nuts. Is there a glossary link or something?
ETA = Edited To Add. There's no glossary (that anyone told me about - "You mean there's a manual !?" ;), you just sort of pick it up.

Actually on further though I guess would say "Dollhouse: shit, or the shit?"

I dunno, there doesn't seem to be any impetus to watch it in that one, it's a bit neutral. How about "Dollhouse: Don't be a wanker, watch it !". The great thing being, in America that might actually be allowed on broadcast TV.
ETA means Edited To Added. Pickicking is a term some Whedonesque posters have adopted for the word 'panic'. Shipping is the term for fans liking a certain relationship i.e. Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Spike etc. Squee means yay! I don't have a clue what the bees thing is about.
"Coming next Friday: The re-premiere of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse."
I know I can answer some of these! Haha.

I think ETA means Edited Thereafter? LOL I just always assumed that.

picnicking = an alternative to panicking (or perhaps another word for panicking?)

shipping = when you prefer two characters together romantically and your posts sort of aggressively promote that pairing (not a good here).

squee = the sound fangirls (or fanguys, I suppose ;-) make when something excites them (i.e. James Marsters without a shirt)

ETA! Simon beat me, haha.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-03-14 01:16 ]
I don't have a clue what the bees thing is about.

About the time Joss said some Dr. Horrible DVDs had been sent out with bees in them, it was more or less when the Dollhouse picnic-not-panic thing started. And I think I ended up throwing an "AAH, bees" into a picnic thread.
I think the bee thing started when Joss said Dr. Horrible DVDs would include bees, and there was also talk of picnicking around the same time, and picnics tend to attract scart insects, so they sort of got commingled in absurdity.
Oh no, now I'm channeling bix too.
I think bees evolved from the idea of "something bad at a picnic" but it was also something Joss mentioned in an interview (or was it a post on here ?) about the Dr Horrible DVD. Things converged, a meme was born.

And Morgan Freeman really should be in everything.


ETA a "damn it b!x/Sunfire !" ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-14 01:18 ]
I should really hang out at Whedonesque more often.
After all, it's where everybody knows your name ;).
In bright orange too.
I'm getting a self-referential headache.
Thanks Simon. Your answers seem to raise even more follow-up questions, re genealogy, etc., but I suppose maybe I'll pick all that stuff up as I go along.
Oh no, that just reminded me of the color coded levels of picnicking, Simon :-P
Huh, I've always read it as an Arrested Development reference.

Lindsay: For your information I have a job.
Michael: Really? What kind of job?
Lindsay: Beads!
Gob: BEES?!
Lindsay: Beads.
Gob: BEADS?!
Michael: Gob's not on board.
I'm getting a self-referential headache.

You're probably about to turn into Glory.
Heh, nice ;).
I'm wondering if any one can explain to me why Joss isn't working on cable? I mean, I get why Dollhouse, specifically, is on Fox, because of how it all played out with the development contract with Eliza and so on, but I mean, in general? Has he talked about this?

If this show was on HBO, or even the SciFi channel, it seems to me likely that the earlier episodes would not have been messed with, that we'd be looking at good chance for a second season,and there would be some respect for the size of audience. I'm really starting to love this show, and wish I could have seen it as it was intended to be seen, originally.

If the production company makes most of its money from the dvd sales, why not make Joss's shows and sell them for less, I guess, to a cable channel, where they have a real chance to build the audience, and add seasons, thus presumably increasing those dvd sales, and maybe making up the money that way?

As I totally lack any and all business acumen, I'm sure I'm missing something here. Can someone help me out?

[ edited by toast on 2009-03-14 01:34 ]
Yeah, we also need to invent perfect cryogenic storage and/or time-travel

Or hook up his purpleness with a vampire bite.

ETA: Duh. I guess we'd all need bites as well.

[ edited by peacemonger on 2009-03-14 01:35 ]
Oops, did I say genealogy? I meant etymology. Duh.
That would have been a perfect place to use your new 'ETA' skills Squishy ;).

I'm wondering if any one can explain to me why Joss isn't working on cable?

This has baffled me for years. I've always assumed that it's just because most of his business relationships are with studio type people so that there aren't too many open doors in the cable world. Or maybe he's put off by the low viewerships (he's said before that he likes reaching out to people en masse) ? Or maybe it's financial (i.e. do cable shows have lower budgets per episode ?) ?
I love this "game changing" episode six thing. Did joss say that? 'cos it's really not.


Have you seen ep6, gossi? Alternately, "ah, there's the tipsy misanthropic pessimist we're all used to" :).
On the whole "can the game-changing/corner-turning/bee-releasing sixth episode draw in enough viewers for happy dance?" question:

If the newslies get excited by those review tapes, this CAN activate normal, non-Whedon-obsessed viewers. I can think of several past situations where it was that weird omnipresent buzz of the press in its various print/net/broadcast forms that clued me in to something I had not only ignored but actively dismissed. "Lost" is one example where I'd never even bothered to watch a single episode (why do I wanna watch that damn guy from Party of Five look all earnest?) despite being very aware the show was coming. Some number of episodes in, the buzz reached me that there was something a bit more unusual than I had assumed going on there. BSG is fairly similar -- I am old enough to have some memory -- and zero nostalgia -- for the original, and, as few of my friends seem to be big sci-fi fans, I doubt I'd still know about it (and I think I discovered it before I realized how much Joss likes to plug it.) Veronica Mars is sorta similar.

The point (and I do have one): The huddled masses yearning for TV do pick up on buzz from the media, and things like the TV guide column (Aussiolo?) and Minavich and similar are part of a huge chorus of big and small newsly voices that, collectively, seep into our consciousness even when we don't think we are listening.
It's about to get real quiet on here I reckon . . .
It'll get noisy in the thread to discuss tonight's episode.
I'm off to bed then ;).

The huddled masses yearning for TV do pick up on buzz from the media, and things like the TV guide column (Aussiolo?) and Minavich and similar are part of a huge chorus of big and small newsly voices that, collectively, seep into our consciousness even when we don't think we are listening.

Sure. The question in my mind isn't can it happen (one of my favourite shows of the last few years, 'House', built an audience gradually initially - largely due to positive press - then leapt up with the right lead-in), the question is will it in this instance. I'm not terribly hopeful.

That said, maybe Fox aren't sitting with their finger hovering over the kill button (the good thing about Friday is there's surely less pressure to make instant decisions) so if the numbers are up to e.g. 6.5 million (Live) by about episode 10 then I reckon there's a reasonable chance it'll be back (especially given how well it does in the DVR figures).

I don't know of course, only Fox do and only time will tell.
toast, your comment re cable makes perfect sense. You aren't missing anything really. The budget per episode is much much lower than what Joss is used to on Fox, however. Not that I don't think he could make that work. I think Joss totally belongs on a FX, TNT, or USA. I don't think he belongs on HBO or Showtime. I just don't see it as a fit.
You guys are so cracking me up, thank! I love the cheer here.

Back to subject, this could get pretty sticky (heh, heh).
I have no clue about bees...

Believe me, Squishy, I've been here awhile and I still have no idea and am not reading the explanations. There's some stuff I just don't need to be up on. Nor do I get the repeated Coby (Cobey?) Smulders references which make think of Smucker's Jam, every time. Oddly though, I've always gotten the Lifeforce references, being a cinephile, but not the I laughed, I cried, it was better than Ice Pirates one. Eh, sometimes it's funner to look at all the eccentrics and just play along while laughing to myself.
"I think Joss totally belongs on a FX, TNT, or USA."

If I'm not mistaken, FX is the home of Damages, with Glenn Close doing an amazing acting job, a cast of characters not one of whom is on the level, a season long story arc, and a narrative style that repeatedly jumps back and forth in time. You have to pay close attention to follow it, but once you catch on, it draws you in.

I wouldn't think that this sort of series draws a large audience, but it's in its second season. If FX bought a show from Joss, I don't believe they would dumb it down.
Don't understand Teevee budgeting...Have always known cable tended to lower budgets, but I look at something like BSG and think, "damn!" If they can do all them spaceships and cylons (not to mention acting, writing, and directing quality) and sh**, surely Dollhouse could do well on a budget like that! I just don't know enough about this stuff!
Cable doesn't guarantee survival either.
Didn't mean to suggest it did, but am under the impression that many cable channels are willing to consider lower audience numbers as success.
Out of curiosity, TamaraC, why don't you think HBO or Showtime would be a good fit for Joss? Because I've been wanting him to go to one of them for a long time now.
Re: 'game-changing'. I've only seen that phrase used by Matt Mitovich when he was paraphrasing what Joss had been saying about episode 6. I don't think anyone else has used the term.
Janet, and FX owned by The big bad Fox. Go figure.

Unplugged, I just don't see Joss doing racy to be racy as I see some of showtime and HBO. I adore True Blood but can't see Joss doing that much naked. Maybe I don't watch enough HBO and showtime, but I don't see the need for Joss to go there. I think there are plenty of ad supported cable stations that would sell their soul for a Joss Whedon show. Why pitch to the premium channels that cuts viewership so drastically? I know they do quality stuff, but if they were interested in Joss we would have heard of it before now.
Joss was asked about why he hasn't gone to cable in an interview recently - he said nobody had ever even asked him (from a cableco). It's worth noting his TV deal with 20th Century Fox is 8 figures in size, which is vastly bigger than anything I've seen for cable before. I figure he'd need to take a bloody huge pay cut to do something for cable.
Are the figures all zeroes ?

(or, more seriously, if you've earned an 8 figure amount doesn't that make you pretty much sorted for life ? So does that mean he might consider cable now that he pretty much doesn't need to earn a wage - assuming that's accurate information ? On a slight tangent BTW, does anyone else feel a bit weird talking about someone's salary in this way ? It's not something i'd even consider asking someone I met in real life...)
Saje, the salaries go out in Variety and the like. It's a Hollywood thing. I remember people complaining when they learnt Marti Noxon is on an 8 figure deal with 20th. Ah, people.
Well, they're quite right to complain - where's my 8 figure deal with 20th ?

And I know they're published it still just feels weird to me. If Variety published Marti Noxon's "vital statistics" I doubt i'd be happy talking about that either, just seems ... private.

(not having a pop at anyone BTW, just making an observation ;)
I think it's relevant to the discussion in this case, which is why I mentioned it. It would be a big difference in money, so I doubt my agent would be saying 'Hey, let's do a show where I get a fraction of my usual 10 percent!'. There's been a lot of creators who've gone from cable to network TV (most notably the guy behind Dead Like Me, who quit Showtime over creative control of that series, and went to ABC - cable isn't heaven either). There's not been many (any?) creators who've gone from network to cable. I think money is a large part of that.

Needless to say, the likes of Joss, Tim and Marti deserve every cent they earn, as it's a lot of responsibility.
Still though, if I had $10,000,000 (or more) in the bank, i'd feel pretty free to take whatever job I fancied (in my case that would be "None" but then i'm not driven by creative demons and all that artistic stuff ;).

(assuming that's what '8 figures' means, people sometimes seem to use it differently to my understanding)
Adding to Saje's comment: With Dr. Horrible, we have at least some evidence that Joss will take a gamble and go where the money ain't because he likes the art and the people. Everyone in the industry probably has a different "safety level" both of "I've got enough to not worry about money" and "I've got enough respect in this town that if I accept less money it won't be seen as weakness/decline and lose me the ability to do the work I like." Dunno where Joss' safety level is, and do not imply any moral judgement on how high or low any one person's level is, but I suspect Joss has a strong ability to go for the cool opportunity that doesn't pay as well.
I thought Fuller quit Dead Like Me because he had problems with the production company, not Showtime. (A bit of a reverse Joss, firefly and the different Fox branches.

I would really like to see Joss work on a show for FX, sci-fi or USA (agree with TamaraC on HBO and Showtime, don't know much about TNT except that I think they aired Babylon 5 which on the one hand would be a good thing, but on the other hand the series wasn't always handled that well by the channel that broadcasted it.

Dr. Horrible I think on the one hand shows Joss is willing to work on a bit lower scale. On the other hand, having that alternative it may mean that if he wants to work on that lower scale he'd rather take the Web way.

Looking forward to watching Dollhouse ep. 5 tonight.
Are the figures all zeroes ?

Well, they're quite right to complain - where's my 8 figure deal with 20th ?

Do leading zeroes count?
TNT refused to air the pilot to JMS's Crusade, a spaceship show from the creator of Babylon 5. Instead they had him tool up a new first episode with more action. Then they aired the episodes out of order. Yeah, guess who was around at that time doing a website for that show?
Do leading zeroes count?

It all depends what they lead to ;).
TamaraC, I would say that True Blood is extreme even by HBO standards.
I think TNT has done a fabulous job lately with Leverage and The Closer and Saving Grace. Trust Me is a bit of a dud and Raising the Bar is pretty ho hum. I think Raising the Bar is an example of a creator going from network to cable.

I don't see Joss ever going to the SciFi channel. No reason, I just don't think they will go there. It seems like too good of a fit and SciFi never makes the logical choice.

FX has Damages, Nip/Tuck, The Shield etc. They kind of rock. AMC is even in the (high end) game with Mad Men and Breaking Bad. USA's Burn Notice is a revelation and I really like In Plain Sight and Psych. Ad supported cable is where the quality shows are and increasingly will be.

I simply don't watch HBO or Showtime. I've never seen the Sopranos or Deadwood or Rome or Weeds or Dexter. Eventually I will catch up with them all on DVD like I did with 6 feet under and Sex in the City. I only got HBO for the first time this last fall for True Blood. Maybe Joss would be a fit there but I just think he would rather have a bigger audience.

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