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May 10 2009

Possible line-ups for Fox. The article has some talk about the fate of Dollhouse and what may stand in the way of a second season renewal.

My rose-tinted glasses read that as kinda positive. Not, you know, hugely. But a glimmer of hope, maybe.
I love to picnic.

Why is it that the descriptions for "Human Target" and "The Reincarnationist" read somewhat like potential premises for future Dollhouse episodes? Le sigh.
"a do-over of sorts that gives everyone involved a false sense of hope" - I like that.

In my fairy tale happy place, Human Target would make a great pairing for Dollhouse.
I find it odd that we have two sets of articles: One set looks at the ratings and (on the basis of historical trends and legitimate judgement) says it's done. The other set (many by people who routinely talk to sources at the networks) keeps listing it as a bubble show. It's very confusing.
Just a thought, but wouldn't Fringe and Dollhouse go together?
That was my thought, kmb99. Maybe they're worried DH will kill it.
I thought Bones was a fairly successful show. Why is it being mentioned for cancellation?
Ditto about Bones. I was surprised to read that, I always thought it did well in the ratings and had a solid fan base?
No kidding...Bones? I thought is was doing good. Sigh...I need my DB fix, please don't take it away, Fox!
Bones being mentioned for cancellation makes absolutely no sense and calls into question the entire article.
This is, of course, the same man that said "Cowboys in space? Preposterous!" about Firefly.

Never once heard that Bones was in trouble.

And an AbFab remake? Seriously?

*groans*
Bones is on the bubble? That's the stupidest thing I heard in a long time...
And an AbFab remake? Seriously?


Wasn't that Cybil?
The reporter of this article failed to do his homework. FOX moved "Bones" to Thursdays to improve FOX's numbers and thanks to "Bones" it has. "Bones" came in first in its timeslot consistently when it was on Wednesdays, now on Thursdays it comes in second behind "Survivor." FOX has already ordered scripts for season five. He failed to mention that "Bones" beats out "Lie to Me" in the FOX rankings each week. The reporter seemed to forget that "House" hasn't officially been renewed yet either. On one of the ratings sites it puts "Bones" in the "certain to be renewed" list and "Entertainment Weekly" has "Bones" in the "Sure Thing" list. It just proves you can't believe everything you read, and the reporter should check his facts.
But, it hasn't improved in ratings. Have you seen the ratings, lately? This was a show that had 9-10 million viewers with a 3.0 18-49 demo(on weds and thurs) and now stuck in 8 million-ish land with low 2.2-2.3 18-49 demos. Remember, demos are more important. Last week, Lie to Me beat Bones' highly publicized sweeps Family Guy crossover.

Yes, FOX ordered 6 scripts but that's not confirmation of a renewal. However, I'm sure Bones will be on the line up for Fall. You're pointing out you can't believe everything you read, yet you point out EW's Ausiello cheat list. I can easily say don't read too much into that b/c those are just his predictions. *shrugs*

That's all I'll say re Bones b/c the most important show we're worried about, here, imo is Dollhouse. I agree DH and Fringe make a good pair. That'll be a good idea if DH gets a second season. *crosses fingers*

[ edited by phillynikki on 2009-05-11 11:14 ]
Double post.

[ edited by phillynikki on 2009-05-11 11:15 ]
I post the ratings every week, so yes I do know the range of viewers and the demo numbers. I also know about the endless schedule changes that affected the change in numbers. As for "Lie to Me" if you check the weekly FOX rankings it comes in behind "Bones" plus of course "Bones" doesn't have "American Idol" paired with it. Also, "Lie to Me" has dropped from over 12 million with a 4.9/12 demo down to 7.75 million with a 2.3/7 demo. Sorry, I didn't realize "Dollhouse" was the only consideration here. I noticed the "Bones" comments, so I felt it was important to get some of the facts out there and not just from EW, but from TV by the Numbers and Mediaweek. I hope "Dollhouse" weathers the storm.
I'm aware of rankings. I follow ratings for a lot of shows. LtM did beat Bones, this past week, though. LtM demos were higher. Also, LtM doesn't have AI as a lead in, anymore but comes in #1 for FOX like Bones did on weds. Weds 8pm slot is not competitve, anyway. So, those were easy wins.

Like I said, I'm sure Bones will be in the Fall lineup. So, there's nothing to worry about re Bones. Wasn't Bones on the bubble list last year, too lol? Reporters like to rile up people, sometimes. DH, on the other hand, we have to worry about. *sighs* I'm hoping it weather's the storm, as well.
Just to be clear, I know LtM doesn't have AI as it's lead-in that's why I said paired with AI. I know LtM did well this week, but again if you check weekly rankings LtM usually comes in behind "Bones" and as you said on a less competitive night. No "Bones" was not on the bubble list last year, as a matter of fact it was in the top ten list for shows who's ratings went up for the season. "Bones" was one of the few shows that increased despite the writers' strike, most shows lost some of their audience last season. I'll let you get back to "Dollhouse" now.
If they are worried about Dollhouse killing the ratings for Fringe, why not make Fringe the lead on?
In all of the analysis, what caught my eye was the return of Chill Mitchell to acting. Did he not suffer a horrible illness that left him confined to a wheelchair? I still recall him fondly yelling at Julia Stiles as he was her teacher...

Slightly OT, I just read the following: "The CW is parting ways with Sunday-night programming. The network will hand over its 5-10PM slot to local affiliates beginning next season, reports Variety. In the meantime, the network plans to consolidate its lineup down to a Monday through Friday schedule. "

Makes you wonder what other networks will do, such as, say, put Leno on 5 days a week in prime time to save money.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-05-11 13:20 ]
BONES???? That got my heart pumping this morning, I can't do without my "Angel". Now if someone would just bring back Spike in a show.
I agree that "Dollhouse" and "Fringe" seem suited for each other. Both are sci-fi series. Both have a strong female lead with a mysterious past. Both took a few episodes to get really interesting - and when they did, they were fantastic. Both have Whedon brothers writing for them.
Yeah this got painfully long. sorry. SHORTFORM: Dollhouse brought me back to FOX, and I started watching OTHER SHOWS BECAUSE OF DOLLHOUSE. I will now STOP watching said shows. So if FOX thinks Dollhouse wasn't helping their ratings with other programming? They were WRONG. I doubt I'm the only one who left them back in 2003, and I won't be the only one leaving again.

I have moved the LONGFORM of this diatribe over here so as to not clutter up Whedonesque so much with my vociferousness. Terribly sowwy. =)

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2009-05-11 17:53 ]
Bones will come back, I haven't heard anybody suggest otherwise. The article also says: "the latter [Dollhouse] was a disappointment that showed signs of life late in the run." In terms of ratings - and we're talking renewal here - it actually went south late in the run. "The question for Fox is whether it can find a sci-fi styled match for 'Dollhouse' or not." I don't know how widely it's been reported yet, if at all, but FOX's sci-fi pilot 'Virtuality' isn't going to series. They've opted to burn the pilot off in July.
is the fact that fox is burning off Virtuality good news for dollhouse?

I mean, could Virtuality have potentially replaced dollhouse?

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-05-11 17:20 ]
I just read the Maureen Ryan piece where she discusses the fate of Virtuality in relation to Dollhouse, mortimer. Shame on Fox and shame for Virtuality as I thought that it was one of the most intriguing things on the TV horizon. I agree with Ryan that the two shows would be perfect companions, much better than pairing Dollhouse with Fringe. I suppose in theory Virtuality might have replaced Dollhouse, and perhaps the signs that Fox aren't going to pick it up might mean that there is a little more room for Dollhouse, but if anything it looks like a sign tha Fox aren't interested in that type of thought-provoking science fiction at all, which bodes just as badly for Dollhouse as it does for Virtuality.
mortimer, I think there are too many pilots to say that one of them getting rejected means good news. Fox has more than enough pilots to cancel Dollhouse and still fill up its schedule. If anything, as gossi and dzr said, it's a bad sign because that's one less show that would make a good pairing for Dollhouse.
Given that prior to this what FOX was doing was gutting Virtuality to remove all the controversial bits and make it more "mainstream", I'm kind of fine with them dropping it instead and showing us the pilot.
I believe the dumping of Virtuality is bad news for Dollhouse. There was talk of pairing it with Dollhouse. There was that option, or buying in a show to pair with DH (not happening apparently), moving DH to another night, or picking up two of the pilots to series to fill Friday. FOX want Friday night to have drama on it as it's seen as a window to fill.
Not sure why Friday drama is seen as a window to fill, considering the relative strength of Ghost Whisperer and Flashpoint; you'd think that Fox would try some sort of reality show there, as disturbing as that idea is to me aesthetically.

I am purely speculating, and haven't heard any of the buzz/rumors about Virtuality and its possible pairing with Dollhouse. But, given the low level of success with TSCC/DH, I wouldn't be surprised if Fox were not eager to repeat it with the roles reverse (DH/Virtuality). I can kind of see mortimer's point that Fox may have limited space in its projected line-up for thinky-fi-sci, so I can see why no Virtuality could be positive for Dollhouse's future.
Septimus, it's financially motivated. Drama sells much higher ad rates, ergo if you get a decent performing show it's much more profitable to have drama than reality. FOX are looking at at having a significant advertising revenue shortfall next week at the upfronts due to the economy, so it's a way to prop things up.
[Strange, Fragmented Double Post Deleted.]

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-05-11 20:32 ]
I just can't stop being vociferous on this thread. I tried. I suck. The heck w/it.

Why do we need something to pair Dollhouse with? I don't understand this false belief that leading in something that is so much like Dollhouse it 'complements' Dollhouse would be a good idea.

The way it should work is this: you take something that's got good ratings, and then you put a new series after it to encourage the first show's audience to stick around and try something new, but you don't give them something close to the same thing. That'd be like a chef making a three course meal of truffles, because the public liked the first course of truffles so well they'll surely go for more truffles. ..not!

When NBC paired Cheers up with Night Court oh so many years ago, it wasn't because Night Court was anything remotely like Cheers, except for funny. That worked because after a half hour of Cheers, Night Court was a great second course. You don't want more of the same on the plate after a whole plate of what you just had. Same with Frazier. Though based on Cheers, it wasn't Cheers. It had it's own flavor, and was later used to lead other shows after it, because it was a good meal in itself.

You'd want to pair Dollhouse up with another drama maybe. Not necessarily another scifi program, and certainly not something with pisspoor numbers like Terminator had. This is one of the MANY problems FOX has had - it doesn't know how to present its courses like a gourmet chef. It's thinking fast food when it should be thinking five star restaurant. I've witnessed this for twenty years now. It's painful to watch, which is why I stopped watching FOX.

"I'm not smiling! I'm wincing!" - Clyde Bruckman
gossi: "Septimus, it's financially motivated. Drama sells much higher ad rates, ergo if you get a decent performing show it's much more profitable to have drama than reality."

That's actually only part of the story.

Drama sells higher ad rates than reality tv, but that's not because it's necessarily more desired by advertisers. It's because drama costs more to produce than reality tv. The reason reality tv proliferates despite lackluster or sporadic ratings is because it costs a fraction of money to produce when compared to dramas or even some sitcoms.

So if a reality tv show doesn't pull in outrageous numbers, but pulls in numbers respectable enough to make some ad revenue, the production company and the network still comes out ahead in the wash.

In other words, dramas have to do better than any other competition in order to pay for itself. Reality tv only has to do better than say.. reruns of The Golden Girls.

Comparatively, dramas have to rake in major dough for the networks to even break even, because the producers of said dramas have such a high overhead to even get the project made. Joss Whedon don't come cheap; Mark Burnett does.

You think it was cheap of Joss Whedon's set designers to make that spaceship for Firefly? Or the pretty spa for Dollhouse? There's a reason why Alpha's lair looked like crap in the last episode of Dollhouse. It's not because Alpha's a bad interior decorator. He had thirty-eight people in his head. Surely one of them had feng shui. The truth is, the production company couldn't afford to put any more money into set design.

Eliza Dushku don't come cheap, but contestants volunteer to make fools of themselves. Some would pay the producers for that privilege. Don't believe me? Look at the Playboy centerfold bunny that Hugh Hefner weaseled into the Elvira Mistress of the Dark reality show back in 2007. I bet Cassandra Peterson quietly cashed a check over that.

If Dollhouse had been a reality show, the ratings it got would be more respectable, because it would have cost Mutant Enemy less to make than what FOX pulled in for ad revenue. In fact, "Dollhouse The Reality Show" where contestants pretend to be different people every week and go out trying to fool complete strangers for money and laughs would definitely be renewed for a second season if it got the same ratings on a Friday night that our real Dollhouse tv series got. In fact FOX would be downright giddy over it.

Don't believe me? I got two words for ya: Fear Factor.

Over half a BILLION dollars in ad revenue during its five year run, in return for fifty thousand dollars a week in prize money, some small investments in yellow and black paint, and occasional trips to exotic take out eateries. Low overhead. High profits. It was the first reality show to go into syndication which makes even more money. Frankly I'm shocked the series isn't still going. Not too shabby.
ZM, Reality TV may be cheaper to produce but has virtually no life beyond it's first airing.
Syndication? DVD sales? Reality just doesn't feature in these markets.
And as for overseas sales, very few reality shows sell overseas in big numbers. If it's going to air overseas it'll be the format that is sold, not the show. Each country will make (at it's own further expense) the show locally.

This is why Studios sell shows like Dollhouse to Networks at a loss, not even covering the cost of making an episode. They predict they will make money for years to come in repeats, syndication, DVD sales, overseas sales etc.
Reality may be cheaper to make, but the studios will charge full price, including a healthy profit margin, to the networks because they know that will be it.

If it cost $3m to make an episode of drama and $1m to make an hour of reality then the networks would pay $2m for drama and $1.5m for reality. (Figures made up to illustrate the point)

Plus of course the "Market Segment" that each will attract.
The general assumption is that "the brain dead clods that watch reality are poor working class with no money while drama is watched by educated, professional people with money to spare"
To advertisers a drama viewer is worth far more than a reality viewer.

[ edited by zz9 on 2009-05-11 19:44 ]
Chill Mitchell was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. Glad he's still around and acting.
Good points all, zz9. This is why we get both pseudo-reality shows and fictional dramas. There's enough to put in the plus and minus columns of both kinds of television.

Advertisers in question take into account what kind of audience they want to reach. Yes we are perhaps smarter than most reality viewers. However, that also means we don't easily fall prey to just any marketing campaign. The advertising agencies know that it has to appeal to us or it'll waste its money, if it's going to spend more money on drama commercial slots. Some advertisers prefer the lower common denominator of reality tv. They don't care about the quality of the audience, just the number of wallets that'll open to them.

Ultimately it's a numbers game. And I just recently counted with little difficulty well over twenty shows FOX has prematurely canceled in the past decade or so that I liked. Obviously wherever I fall in their little demographics? I don't matter. They don't want me. Nor do I suspect do they want you. ...US. The ones smart enough to see the maze and the cheese, and would just assume not be treated like labrats.
Zach I get why you're annoyed with FOX but I don't think whether a person watches sci-fi drama or reality dating has anything to do with how smart they are. I know a lot very smart people who watch the reality and fluffier stuff almost exclusively. They do real science all day, and the last thing they want to do when they unwind is watch science in fiction. It's over-generalizing and frankly, kind of insulting to assume that people who watch certain kinds of tv are less smart or more easily manipulated or the lowest common denominator. I don't like those shows much myself, so I can appreciate the resentment at their share of airtime, but it's a different thing altogether to insult people for watching them.
I second Sunfire's sentiment.
"That'd be like a chef making a three course meal of truffles, because the public liked the first course of truffles so well they'll surely go for more truffles. ..not!"

Yea, except that does not relate at all to the idea of pair bonding, which is what every network does to secure their time slots so people will not flip over to a competitor when their 1 show is done. People like having similar things grouped together and don't take kindly to rapid gear changes.

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