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"Go Quest."
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April 19 2009

The chances of "Dollhouse" getting a second season? 50/50 says The Hollywood Reporter.

And so begins the next waiting game for Whedon fans... (What's that, heart? A palpitation? Yay!)
Honestly, given all the doom and gloom in almost every story published about the show's ratings over the past two months, "50/50" right now (if that's the case, and how do they even determine that, anyway?) would be pretty good.
The San Francisco Chronicle also comments in a rundown of "on the bubble" shows:

""Dollhouse," Fox. Conventional wisdom says no way; the ratings are terrible and creator Joss Whedon didn't have the best relationship with Fox. But if there's a miracle in this pile of shows, it could happen right here."

Which is actually kinda hopeful, really. Or at least as hopeful as we have any right to be.
Sounds to me like TV reporters are starting to hear/pick up on -- and believe -- the indications that inside Fox, people want to renew and just need to find a deal that will work. For a show that "conventional wisdom says no way" about, knowing that sort of thing is going on behind the scenes likely is one of those signals that reporters realize might turn things upside down.
Nothing we didn't already know, right?

I am still keeping my fingers crossed. Honestly with those ratings, I would cancel it if I was a FOX executive. But I hope they go the "hmm...we gave it a terrible timeslot and a terrible lead-in, it's doing well on Hulu and I-Tunes and Joss has so many obsessed fans, damn let's renew it"-treatment.
Nothing we didn't already know, right?

I don't recall anyone saying "50/50" before. We've mostly had TV reporters saying it was all but dead because nothing with these ratings could possibly survive. Even the SF Chronicle piece doesn't reflect what people have been writing prior to this.
It really is beginning to sound like FOX even kind of wants Dollhouse to stick around to see how it does for another season. I'm really hoping that this is the case.

It seems to me that it might all hinder on how strong their development of new pilots is this season. If they don't have a whole lot in the pipeline, we just might get a second season. If they've got a lot of new stuff they're anxious to put on the air, however, Dollhouse might be a goner.
I was told off the record two weeks ago it's "50/50". With quotes. I've since heard it's still hopeful (as of Friday). That's why although I think the (live) ratings suck, I've not been referring to the shows chances in a negative light.

If you have executive faith, that's half the battle won. The other half is demonstrating how it can make more money. (DVDs, iTunes, hulu, amazon - all strong areas for Dollhouse, one predicts).

Jiggy, there's a key exec at FOX who wants it back.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-20 08:55 ]
Ahh good. I'm hoping that particular key exec can pull through for us in the end! I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed.
Mind you, the SF Chronicle piece also says Ugly Betty won't be renewed, when ABC President Stephen McPherson has said it will definitely be coming back, so not great on the accuracy.

Shame everyone thinks Reaper is gone, I had accepted that Life and T:SCC were over, but losing Reaper too means there's not going to be much drama left I'll watch from US network TV. Just Friday Night Lights. How ridiculous if the only two shows I'm still watching are on in the same *challenged* timeslot...
Reapers show runners and creators left for ABC, unfortunately.
If that key exec at FOX can pull Dollhouse through, he should get a reward.

Honestly, if it was any other show which would get the same ratings, I'd say it's toast, but strangely I have still hope for Dollhouse.
Nick C has been throwing "50/50" around for quite some time now (I think since the Liguori went).
God, I hope fox allows Joss to actually follow through on what could be his masterpiece this time... I personally feel like both Firefly and now Dollhouse had/have potential to be better shows than buffy if given a few seasons to explore the themes and characters.

Go you un-named Fox Executive!
What are they (Reaper show runners) doing at ABC gossi? Be good if something good comes out of it.

And does 50/50 mean they toss a coin? Anyone got a double-headed coin? :p
My theory about this sudden change of heart by Fox execs is that Joss and co have stepped up with some kick ass back episodes, enough to get people stoked through the summer and building a following through streaming and all that junk. The show needs more time to build and I think the network has started to come around to that.
So UFE (Un-named Fox Executive) is our man (or woman) on the inside, then...

... go UFE.
San Francisco Chronicle is not a good font. They say Ugly Betty it's not coming back. It's already renewed.
Didn't the unnamed Fox exec get fired?
I had a dream the other night that I came onto Whedonesque and there was an article saying Dollhouse had been renewed (it had 55 comments!) - which I think shows that I've been reading far too many will they/won't they threads.

It is nice to see lots more positive Dollhouse talk in the last week or so though (after the episode 13 fiasco).
I had a dream the other night that I came onto Whedonesque and there was an article saying Dollhouse had been renewed (it had 55 comments!) - which I think shows that I've been reading far too many will they/won't they threads.

Oh dear, I have been having similar dreams... I really need to stop going on this forum so constantly!
As I said at the time of 13gate, it wasn't about renewal so much as other things (including bad PR).

Apparently a lot weights on how adverts are sold next season. I don't know what that means.
So apparently, "watching live" will help, when in doesn't. We can't do anything. More like "If you've got the magic ratings box, watch live."
We can't do anything.

The more we talk the show up, the more interest it will get.
Well, it's good to see articles saying that the chances are 50/50, not because that means the chances ARE 50/50 (they don't give any reason for us to believe it, no source, or analysis - Gossi at least says that an insider said "50/50"), but because it helps counter the "Dollhouse is doomed" press that can keep people away from watching.
This is meaningless. 50/50 according to whom? Based on what? Is there someone out there setting the odds in Vegas on this?

All this means is that a final decision has not been made, and that there is some merit in the show that Fox sees and is considering. Nothing we did not already know.
4-5 episodes ago I figured it was a goner, and I wasn't sure I even cared that much. The show was good, but not enough I even felt inclined to recommend it to my non-Whedon-loving friends. However, I think the show has picked up steam, has gotten excellent reviews/word-of-mouth for the past few weeks, and its increased momentum is building excitement in and around the fanbase. I hope it does comeback. Lots of great directions this show can take with a second season.
I really think that with a little reworking (more commercials, different time slot, etc.) Dollhouse could be successful for Fox. It would certainly gain them goodwill with nerds like us if they gave it another shot by way of a second season. I think if we try our level-headed best to attract people without letting our emotions get the better of us, the quality of the show will speak for itself and people will become more interested.
Does anyone know why Dollhouse has so few commercials? Was that a Joss-creative-thing (wanting more time) or did FOX come up with it? I don't know how it really relates to the show getting picked up or not, but I've just always been curious.
When I see a weather report that says there is a 50% chance of rain, I think, "Great. We need a weatherperson to tell us that it will either rain...or it won't?"

So why does this make me feel hopeful? Don't know, but it does.
Just imagine getting introduced to Dollhouse this week by going to Hulu and watching the five episodes currently streaming:
True Believer
Man on the Street
A Spy in the House of Love
That's a minimarathon that I think would rally people to watch the next three episodes. And that would make it more likely for us to see episode 13 (and 14 and 15 . . .).

ETA punctuation. Placed more or less conventionally.

[ edited by Pointy on 2009-04-20 13:43 ]
Tessa, It was a Fox experiment called Remote Free Viewing and I believe Fringe is the same. The idea is that if the ad breaks are much shorter people won't bother fast forwarding them and so Fox can charge more on the assumption that they will actually be watched.
I don't think it's worked, so if we do get a S2 the episodes would be back to 40 minutes.
I hope the week's episode maintains the excellent quality of MotS, Needs, and SitHoL. One thing we don't need right now is another Echoes.

[ edited by Squishy on 2009-04-20 15:02 ]
I LOVE Echoes. Nuff said.
I don't. For me it's one of the worst episodes of the season...
I had many problems with that episode, but another one arises in retrospect based on what we know now about Dominic. How did he manage to not blow his spy cover given that he was all flipped out on drugs and saying whatever popped into his head?
Squishy, I don't think we saw him talk to any DH people, except Echo and the Dolls in their programmed state, while he was under the influence. Maybe if he'd been in the Dollhouse with Adelle he might have blabbed but by the time he got back I assume the effect had worn off.
Echoes to me was the game changer, call me crazy. Man on the Street was good, better than what came before, but Echoes was where the series took a distinct upturn. May all ye who dislike it twist your ankles, so that I may identify you by your limp!

Mine is an evil laugh!
Okay, fingers and toes still crossed for Dollhouse.

Just have to go down to the bar to start the wake for "Reaper".
50/50 sounds pretty vague.

But a FOX exec backing Dollhouse would be awesome.

And considering how steady the ratings have been depsite its friday night slot I'm sure itd do well on a better day.
Echoes was the "band candy"/"spin the bottle" episode of dollhouse.. I think it was important in making people like the dollhouse employees a bit more... It was nice to see Adelle, Dominic and Topher in funny mode.
That's a minimarathon that I think would rally people to watch the next three episodes. And that would make it more likely for us to see episode 13 (and 14 and 15 . . .).

Good point. And I think for a mini-mini, just "Man On The Street" and "Needs" work pretty well.
I agree with Sunfire, except I would add "Spy" to the mini mini list, because I think it's the best so far.
I was thinking of what to post on Facebook for a few friends who are fans of Buffy or Firefly or both but who either haven't watched Dollhouse at all yet or who watched the first 2-3 episodes and were unimpressed by the quality. Either those 2 episodes gain their interest or they don't, and if they do, then yes "Spy" would be my suggested next thing to watch.

I expect "Echoes" and "True Believer" won't appeal as much to people who haven't been watching.
the glass is half full my friends. I am still hoping for another 5-6 seasons of Dollhouse.
The other half is also full -- filled with our hopes and dreams for another season.
Hopefully another "half" season. I expect it would work out better both financially and creatively. (And it would hopefully mean a higher concentration of Joss-written episodes than we would otherwise normally see.)
I thought it was interesting that Fox changed its plan for Mental again. They're now showing originals on Tuesdays with encores on Fridays for the first month. Not too confident about Fridays?
I am actually perfectly fine with them cutting the episodes down to the 40-42 minutes that most TV shows have because I think the way that things are generally structured on a TV show, that amount of time is optimal.

I definitely fast-forwarded through the 'Remote Free TV' and it was awesome, because it even told me how many commercials to look for! Heh.
Going back to the usual advertising scheme would likely save some money -- without needing to produce an extra 6 minutes, they'd cut back significantly on the cost per episode. Over the course of a 13 episode season, the extra six minutes essentially results in nearly two full episodes of additional material (78 mins).
I'm sure I've ranted about this in some other thread before, but the *Dollhouse will return in xx seconds...* thing really annoys me for some reason. Seriously, just go to commercial.

I wouldn't mind the shorter episodes either.
I am not sure, but I think I heard somewhere (was it the Tim Minear podcast thing?) that they produced the additional content without actually getting a bigger budget. Cutting down the episode length would not result in cheaper costs, then, since the cost was always on the normal level to begin with.

But maybe I understood wrong. Has anyone more details on that?
i09 seems fairly hopeful (though not certain) that Dollhouse will come back for another season. This based on Prison Break being renewed, despite even worse ratings than Dollhouse (1.2 vs. 1.4-1.5)
Prison Break was not renewed, it is canceled. It stands right there in the io9-article. :)

But comparing Prison Break ratings to Dollhouse ratings is pointless, imo. The fact that they kind of bombed only means that less new eyes will sample Dollhouse next Friday. Which is kinda sad. But it could still be enough.
Perhaps, weisengrund, I don't know anything about that. They did cannibalize "Echo" for parts, so that must have helped some. But still, they could presumably cut back the budget knowing that they'd be producing nearly 80 fewer minutes over the course of a season (assuming another 13 eps). If they can make 48 mins for the price of 42, couldn't they produce 42 mins for even less than that?

EDIT: I did find this, which I had forgotten about. Dollhouse (along with other 20th Century Fox shows) had to cut 2% from their budget back in December.

[ edited by JMaloney on 2009-04-20 18:11 ]
I suppose it's still possible that Prison Break will bring in new viewers for DH, even if it does do worse in the ratings. If some of the Prison Break viewers who are not ordinarily DH viewers decide to leave their TV on for DH, that will increase DH's overall numbers.
As I understood it, the additional content is always there to begin with, since most original cuts run long. It's just a "little less heartache in the editing room", as Joss said. There would be not much need to adjust the budget, if you change the editing-process from the usual "cut a 55 min raw version to 42 min" to "cut the 55 min raw version to 50 min".

But yeah, it does sound kinda hokey. I don't know. I probably heard wrong.
To be honest, I don't really get how 6 minutes more or less makes all that much difference in the production cost, since shows typically shoot more footage than they use, anyway. Seems to me they're producing the extra content, whether it airs or not. Now, it could make quite a lot of difference in terms of advertising dollars for the network.

ETA: yeah, what Wiesengrund said... :-)
ET spell "Wiesengrund" correctly. Damn...
[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2009-04-20 18:14 ]

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2009-04-20 18:15 ]
Here's another link about the budget. This is from more than a year ago, so I don't know how valid the info is, but it at least gives some idea. They state that it's 1.5-2 million per episode. At the time, it was still just a 7 episode order.
-a thought that any Fox exec trying to justify bringing Dollhouse back must be considering: There are people who have already heard the deathwatch buzz on Dollhouse and who, having either never seen it themselves or having seen only a few early episodes that they didn't like, cannot currently be convinced to (re-)try a "dead" show. But if they heard that show was renewed, thus removing the black cloud of cancellation, they would be potentially willing to give the show (another) try, possibly with some serious hulu/itunes/dvd watching. Not claiming this would be what would happen, but it is an at least plausible result that might sway an exec looking for reasons to make the gamble.

-people upthread mentioning how Dominick being off-site for "Echoes" was probably necessary, given the secret he was hiding. Reading this, it dawned on me that "Spy In The House Of Love" might be the explanation for the awkwardness between Dom and Adelle at the end of "Echoes." At the time, it seemed out of proportion, since their respective silly behavior had not been seen by the other. But what they couldn't know for sure until they faced each other and felt the situation out, was if their behavior had revealed any details that, when passed back to HQ would allow Dom and/or Adelle to figure out each other's biggest secrets (NSA spy, Miss Lonleyhearts). The awkwardness lasted as long as it took for each of them to realize the other one did not appear to be holding a new trump card.

-oh, and for them what cares, here's an analysis of Prison Break's abysmal return.
doubtful guest, I've been waiting weeks for someone to notice that first point, and (speculation) I'd expect those inside Fox who would like to renew it are including that argument.
I attributed the awkwardness at the end of "Echoes" to Adelle having seen security footage of Freemont and hearing his confession towards Echo. Her hunch that has been around since "True Believer" was confirmed.

And b!X, why wait weeks for someone to notice something you can pretty easy point out in a second? :)
And b!X, why wait weeks for someone to notice something you can pretty easy point out in a second? :)

I don't say everything that comes to mind.
Aw, please do. I think it's a pretty good point, actually. :)
Well, to be fair, I was hoping that whoever inside Fox wanted to find a way to renew it would have managed to use that argument (amongst the others) to get a reneweal announcement before the season ends.

I kept thinking that it would boost viewership of the final episodes of the season. But with most people seeming to say that there won't be an announcement until the mid-May upfronts, that would put it after the season ends.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-04-20 20:22 ]
Leaf said:
I had a dream the other night that I came onto Whedonesque and there was an article saying Dollhouse had been renewed (it had 55 comments!)

So you're saying that Dollhouse should be renewed in a 5/5 thread?

My wishes make me see what I want ;)
Ay, there are tons of these threads (but this one is 50% hopeful!). And they've been creeping in on my non-let's-obsess-about-Dollhouse parts of the day (slim, I know. but now...)

It is a bit frustrating trying to figure out how to contribute when you're not a Nelson. Would they ever consider counting mostly everyone though their cable box and get rid of these special ones?? (One could only wish...)

It's so awesome that we have an exec on the inside. Tee hee.
Hey, a 50-50 shot? Even if that's just a wild estimate, those odds are a lot better than I expected. Maybe FOX is realizing American Idol will eventually run its course (I pray) and it won't soon be the network burdened with five hours of Jay Leno in prime time. (Which likely already has ensured the cancellation of the pretty-awesome show Life.)

(Oh yeah... would anyone have noticed if Leno had just retired? Didn't think so.)

Rick Gershman
Rick Gershman vs. Bunnies blog
I tried making an intro video of sorts by compiling all the news segments from MotS, with some tinkering, into a single 3:45 video, but YouTube killed it immediately upon upload as a FOX copyright violation. Heh. Fair enough, as far as it goes, of course. But mainly frustrating because FOX itself isn't doing anything of the kind.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-04-21 01:37 ]
Hrmmm... try Vimeo?
You guys are funny.
Ok, I've solved (for now anyway), my problem trying to get this moving as a sort of newbie intro to the premise/themes of Dollhouse. Just go to Not The Official Website Of Mutant Enemy, Inc. and if you (or said newbie) clicks the obvious image, the MotS news segments will play as a single 3:43 piece.

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