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"So tell me.. which stage of grieving is this?"
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May 14 2009

Dollhouse renewal watch for Thursday. Variety says "Dollhouse is said to still be in play". The Hollywood Reporter says "negotiations continue on fan favorites Chuck and Dollhouse, with the shows facing cost-cutting requests from their respective networks... and their pickup odds seeming to shift from moment to moment". And End of Show says Dollhouse could be paired with Human Target.

That's an evil parenthetical right there. Good to hear some semi-positive news though.

Why does End of Show list the news as "Exclusive" when it was reported elsewhere yesterday?
Airlock Alpha had the HT/DH thing before it ever showed up on EoS. It got mentioned in a thread here, and didn't pop up on EoS until after that. (No idea if they knew it before it got mentioned here, but AA published first. I remember checking the times.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-05-14 08:12 ]
Yeah, I mostly noticed because you had made a comment to that effect on Twitter. I think the "exclusive" part might be that the pilot screening went over very well with Peter Rice? At any rate, it's a done deal.

If they put "The Fatchelor" on over Dollhouse... I don't know what I'll do!
When the competition is "The Fatchelor" then my hopes that Dollhouse might get renewed is that much higher. It's reality TV desperation like that or "Are You Stronger than a Dog" which makes me hope Fox really does want to appeal to young demographics with photogenic people in spawear.
The young demographics love stupid reality TV, it's just like YouTube but longer.

Exclusives are pretty anachronistic these days when you only have your exclusive for 5 seconds before someone else reposts it without attribution.
The Variety article isn't coming up for me. It says the "article not available."
It seems to have been erased, it was working when I first checked
"Fatchelor"? Do I even want to know?
Okay fine, but what the hell is Human Target?
The Variety article can now be accessed without a hitch.
Human Target is like Dollhouse, except instead of the lead being a different personality each week, they just take a different form each week.
Human Target is based on a DC Comics series. I think the character first appeared in the early seventies. I only read the latest series by Peter Milligan a few years ago and that was really good. The main character takes on different identities.
Sorta like Quantum Leap?
The Fatchelor? That part of the article reads like something from The Onion or a 30 Rock script. If I were a network exec who picked up The Fatchelor, I'd have trouble sleeping, knowing that I had unleashed that show upon the world.
I'm curious what form "cost cutting" would take at Dollhouse. As far as I can tell there aren't a ton of special effects, so is most of the money going into salaries? Would that mean reducing the cast?

I can see the papers: "Season 2 opener: Alpha goes crazy and butchers 30% of the Dollhouse Actives and employees! 'We'll have to get by with a smaller organization from this point out,' comments Adelle.'"
I don't think cost cutting would result in a reduced cast. Maybe fewer guest stars, but not fewer regular cast members. It is probably more likely to expect fewer writers and producers or reduced salaries.
But then Alpha will have to turn the knife on himself cos they won't be able to afford Alan Tudyk either

Still, I don't really care if the budget is slashed. I never minded the weak special effects and locations in Buffy. And when Angel had its budget cut for season 5 the writers created my favourite season of the show
It could mean less physical stunts (no more hand-to-hand), less location shoots, no more motorcycle chases. Which I'm OK with! Cutting cast members, not so much.

If every episode took place mostly in the beautiful Dollhouse staff and focused mostly on the interactions between the Dollhouse employees and the Dolls, I would be copacetic.
Most of the expenses are in the sets and special effects... I don't see all that many effects in play, but the ones in Topher's imprinting room are too awesome to cut out... IMO, the show would do better with MORE effects with a higher budget.
If we have to cut back on costs can we cut back on writers and have Joss and Tim write and direct all of the episodes?
Maybe Joss could write HAAALF the Season 2 scripts for FREEEE! Then Tim could write the other half at a reduced salary? 'Coz Dollhouse is their latest labor of love, right? Right??? And we get resulting bonus bang-up episodes each week? :P Ahh, wishful thinking for genius TV. :P

Back to reality. One in which I've been impressed by the entire batch of writers, so no slight intended. But yeah, there's some drastic cost-cutting measures for you.

Sorry to shout. (C'mon, it was only two words.) The dream of an entirely Joss/Tim season is worth a squeee or two.
On another note: I cannot believe that the show is still alive! After the ratings came in for the last few eps, I thought DH was completely gone. Amazing to think there's still hope.
It really is looking more and more like renewal is going to happen, isn't it? The past few days has seen a plethora of positive articles. It makes me wonder if we Whedonesquers are simply choosing NOT to post those stories that say there's not a hope in hell, or are they simply not out there?

Anyway, down hopes, down! But fingers and toes are crossed...and I've sacrificed a few goats. (Okay I ate a steak, but you get the drift!)
Well, most stories are not reporting that the chances are good, they are only reporting that talks are still going on which only means that the shows isn't dead right now. But that's still a neutral position regarding the future of the show.

TV by the numbers is an example of a site repeatedly claiming that Dollhouse is dead, because they are specialized in ratings and from that point of view it is indeed miraculous that talks are still going on. (As far as I remember those TVBTN-articles were never ignored and almost always posted and discussed here.)
Its seems highly logical to pair Dollhouse with Human Target. Things are actually looking pretty good. Maybe I can put away my voodoo dolls.
When you say voodoo dolls, you don't mean actives, right? Right?!
So, what's the ETA for the go/no-go decission again? Is it tomorrow?

This is one long wait (but daily renewal watches = great idea :)).
Monday, 18th May.
As television evolves or devolves these little dramas are interesting. Still don't see what's in it for Fox but that's why I do not work for a TV network. Wouldn't be surprised if there is a cast culling. I can see three salaries that could go away from the finale alone. Chuck's finale really set up a cast culling where at least 6 cast members could go away. These are hard times and even harder for network television. I feel for the jobs lost on these shows. Some nights of programming are going away entirely. The world is changing.
The world is changing


"Who now has the strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor? To stand against the might of Sauron and Saruman and the union of the two towers? Together, Lord Sauron, we shall rule this Middle-Earth. The old world will burn in the fires of industry. Forests will fall. A new order will rise. We will drive the machinery of war with the sword and the spear and the iron fist of the Orc. We have only to remove those who oppose us."

Is that too much geek for this early in the morning? ;)
Kind of worries me, this talk of cutting budget, since Whedon is famous for being tight on (and, I think, often under) budget.

Hard to cut bone.
Nah, it's late in the afternoon here, zeitgeist, so that works just fine, thanks :).

filops, the Angel team managed to cut budget in its fifth season and deliver what's in many ways my favorite season of that show, so budget cuts are not what's worrying me at all, really. If Joss agrees to it, he can make it work.

(Also: monday the 18th, check, couple of more days of this, then :))
Well, clearly cost is an issue as is revenue. Making those balance out in the right way is what it's all about for Fox.

Not to be whiny or demanding, but what does someone like Joss or Eliza make per episode? I mention them because they're the biggest names (maybe Olivia?) and because whenever the thought of moving to cable comes up people say that cable networks couldn't afford them. Are they making the typical amount for the show, or have they already cut back on their salaries, or what? Can they offer to lower their salaries, or take more of it as a cut of DVD sales or something? (I'm not suggesting that they should work for free or anything, but if there's a negotiation going on and we keep asking Fox to take a financial risk, why not ask them to as well?)

Other cost/revenue areas that could see some tweaking would be getting some product placement, production changes like shooting on video, fewer guest stars (are they a significant expense?), etc.. Finally, I wouldn't put it past them to be looking for some kind of "new media" compromise, getting some money from netflix or Microsoft or someone to release the episodes a day early through their streaming sevices or something (or something that makes more sense that I haven't thought of).
Constraints often reinforce creativity.
Constraints often reinforce creativity.

QFT
Quantum Field Theory?

(Ah, 'Quoted for Truth', had to look that up :))
I believe the 50 minute episodes of season one were filmed with the budget for standard length episodes. That was essentially a budget cut. So, depending on how much the budget would have to be cut to get a second season it might not even be noticeable for us. As long as the amount that needs to be cut is not unreasonable, I think Joss is experienced enough to make it work.
Quantum Field Theory?

That's what I thought. D:

God! This week is taking forever. And the fact that I got my wisdom teeth removed yesterday doesn't help!
budget thoughts/questions:

...I remember hearing that the Dollhouse set was a huge expense. Since it is already built, does that mean the per episode cost for the studio to produce more episodes is already lower than season one even before any other budget changes are considered?...

...I think it would be a shame to have to give up the current style and level of quality of the fight scenes...they have a brutal improvisational nature very appropriate to their context here. Worth remembering that Mike Massa is as much a part of the Whedon repertory co. as Alan or Eliza, and he has done well creating fights here that are different from those he did on Angel, where the fight style he used had to acknowledge both the supernatural status of the fighters and the more lenient policy on being quipy on Angel...
Miracle Laurie just tweeted this (in case anyone not on twitter should care to know):
decision on DH soon-make your voice heard 2day! contact:Peter Rice, Chrman of Ent @FOX Brdcstng. Leave a msg @310-369-3066 or askfox@fox.com

We are going to drive ourselves insane before Monday.
Somebody should link Miracle's tweet in the headline, methinks.
We are going to drive ourselves insane before Monday.

that's not a problem for me. I'm already insane :D
Just emailed Fox. Given that my email address ends in .au, I don't think it had a lot of clout...
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. In many ways, it may even have averse effects, if lots of international viewers chime in saying 'I love Dollhouse, keep it on' and they go "wait, how are you watching this show, exactly" ;).
I'm so hopeful I think my hope may explode from my chest. Kinda like Alien only less mortal wound-y.

I'm calling Rice when I go on my lunch break this afternoon. I've watched every episode as its been broadcast, then re-watched on DVR several times and on Hulu as well. Season 1 has been preordered and I keep tweeting and emailing on a semi-daily basis. It can't hurt.
Someone mentioned cast/crew budget above, I don't know how much clout this holds, but according to Forbes, Eliza was the 14th highest paid tv actor (per episode) of the tv season.

If that's not something to talk about, I can delete it.
...I remember hearing that the Dollhouse set was a huge expense. Since it is already built, does that mean the per episode cost for the studio to produce more episodes is already lower than season one even before any other budget changes are considered?...

I don't know how per episode costs are accounted for, doubtful guest. But wikipedia confirmed my suspicion that theoretically, at least, in general you're not supposed to consider sunk costs in a decision like this, just future utility. It's perfectly valid, though, to compare the fixed costs for a second season of Dollhouse with those of a new show you might substitute for it, I'd think.
Someone mentioned cast/crew budget above, I don't know how much clout this holds, but according to Forbes, Eliza was the 14th highest paid tv actor (per episode) of the tv season.


I think people like Eliza's individual salaries are inconsequental since they're based on contracts with the studio in general and not dependent on any one project: ie. Eliza gets paid the same amount by Fox regardless of what project she is currently working on.
I'd be surprised if that were, true, Brinderwalt. isn't her contract with Fox up this summer. Besides, as a producer, she could give money back to the studio, too, if they renew her project.
Is Peter Rice from the part of Fox that makes money on DVDs, iTunes, and any future syndications? I know there are 'two Foxes' (studio & broadcast) and I don't know which he represents.

Why? I'm wondering if telling him about the money we spend on iTunes etc. is something that HIS branch of Fox cares about.
GVH:

filops, the Angel team managed to cut budget in its fifth season and deliver what's in many ways my favorite season of that show, so budget cuts are not what's worrying me at all, really. If Joss agrees to it, he can make it work.


Really> I either didn't know that, or forgot it.

Yeah, I'm with you. Fifth was the best.
You have a point about her role as producer (I'd forgotten about that), but her studio talent contract regardless of when it expires still can't be counted as a direct expense of Dollhouse itself.
Somebody should link Miracle's tweet in the headline, methinks.


Or post a new entry about it *nods*.
You know, I've got the word "crazy" in my username, but all of this stuff is still driving me overwhelmingly batty.

Where's Printy when you need him?
my hypothesis, which is founded in no fact other than my guess, is that dollhouse's renewal is going to be based on the ratings of tomorrow night's episode of house. when we all heard the announcement, we were all sort of scratching our heads as to why they would show a rerun rather than 'epitaph one.'

so here's my hypothesis. dollhouse's highest ratings were a 2.1? and the lowest being 1.0. (i haven't found the dvr +3/+7s, just the day afters posted here) if house's rerun pulls anything higher than a 2.1, short of significant budget cuts, i think that fox will simply go "well, a rerun that costs us nothing other than royalties performed more strongly than an original show with a higher budget." if the rerun pulls anywhere between the high and low of dollhouse's ratings, fox may go "well ok, friday night is a low slot, maybe we could promote a little more or find a stronger opener." i think that should dollhouse return, of course there will be budget costs, but i think that given the fact that the set is already built, and perhaps people who love working on it being willing to take some pay cuts (as someone earlier mentioned curiousity about joss and eliza's pay) will make the show work again. besides, we all largely enjoyed the inner workings of the dollhouse rather than the 'echo goes on a new adventure this week,' (which costs more because of having to go on location and so on) so depending on cost and joss' pitch, if house's rerun underperforms, we'll get a second season, fingers crossed.
I just sent an email. I have never emailed a studio about a tv show before, weird. Here's hoping it helps!
House isn't airing tomorrow. It is a two hour season finale of Prison Break. I think the decision will be made tomorrow or today, long before Prison Break airs.

FYI, Joss and Eliza's producer shingles are just that. Shingles. The show's production is entirely paid for by 20th.
ah, thanks for the correction. prison break's low low ratings give me even a little more hope.
Never thought I'd care about the two-hour finale of a show that imho could have easily ended neatly after the first two seasons... but now I'm finding myself very concerned with how many people tune in to Prison Break, especially after its dismal ratings over the last few weeks.
I think House rerun is next week, although I haven't checked the sched recently. Tamara is - as is often the case - correct, I posted on Dollverse earlier to say I think the decision will be made today or tomorrow. Possibly announced, too.
In that case I shall be sitting right here then gossi :)
I emailed too, about my experience teaching Dollhouse and other Whedon shows, and how many students have ended up long-term fans: "Don't discount the professor vote! When we talk, young smart people are actually paying money to listen!" I also made the point that college students--well in the demo--are not really watching TV on Friday nights.
perhaps people who love working on it being willing to take some pay cuts (as someone earlier mentioned. . .)


I don't think we should hope or speculate that people currently working on the series will take pay cuts to keep it alive. It is unseemly to wish that the creators of something we care about will make financial sacrifices for our benefit.
Well, we keep hoping that Fox will take a financial risk.
Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are saying Fox is picking up "Past Life," a one-hour drama about reincarnation.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003653?categoryId=14&cs=1

I'm not sure what, if anything, this means for Dollhouse.

ETA: I think the four shows I've seen rumors Fox is picking up (Human Target, Sons of Tucson, Past Life and Brothers) all star men. Even Glee, which is about a glee club, for crying out loud. Harrumph.

[ edited by jkalderash on 2009-05-14 19:43 ]
rather than specific pay cuts, I'm hoping that Joss and co. are bringing their newfound knowledge about new ways to monetize in the wired world to the negotiations and adding value that way...

...if in a crueler mood (and if had an appropriate outlet), I would start a rumor that Kevin Reilly and Felicia Day had been seen together in an L.A. coffeehouse, where Felicia was seen to be drawing complicated diagrams and talking nonstop while Reilly listened with rapt attention...
Didn't someone figure out yesterday that FOX only had one unaccounted-for hour in their schedule? So if they picked up a new pilot... :\
I think that, according to our wildly unscientific analysis of the situation the other day, there's one hour left on the fall schedule. Emphasis on wildly unscientific. For all I know they could fill up the entire schedule with American Idol reruns.
I have to admit, the fact they picked up After Life is a complete surprise to me.
Can we take it as any sort of indication of Dollhouse's fate, d'you think?

Man. I hope this works out. I have such a crush on Joss.

...'s works.
The way I read it, the more new shows they pick up the less likely it is they are keeping the ones on the bubble.
Didn't someone figure out yesterday that FOX only had one unaccounted-for hour in their schedule? So if they picked up a new pilot... :\


Yeah, it was me. It's not necessarily a very accurate way to judge the situation, kind of like predicting weather, so make of it what you will.
Is DH Fox's only on-the-bubble show? I know some site claimed Bones was, but I think it's safe to assume that's coming back. And TSCC is all but dead right now. What else does FOX have whose fate is uncertain?
Yeah, I'm still crossing my pinkies. After the 'After Life' news somebody told me Dollhouse is still kickin'.

Right now I think Dollhouse is the only on-the-bubble show.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-05-14 23:46 ]
Right now I think Dollhouse is the only on-the-bubble show.


Yeah. Simple math would suggest to me that all Fox bubble shows besides Dollhouse have been eliminated by virtue of the new pickups announced. If announcements keep coming after this point well... I'll let you draw the conclusion yourself.
I think that's the last announcement. Well, I hope so. I know Ad-Fab is dead definitely. FOX have also passed on Maggie Hill within the last few hours. Eva Adams and the DIRE Two Dollar Beer are also dead.
gossi: "I have to admit, the fact they picked up After Life is a complete surprise to me... After the 'After Life' news somebody told me Dollhouse is still kickin'."

Dude! Afterlife is yer guys cancelled show. Past Life is our FOX-Just-Picked-Up-And-Therefore-Hasn't-Yet-Had-A-Chance-To-Cancel-Show.

I quite liked Lesley Sharp in Afterlife - but somehow the whole thing seemed to kinda go all floopy and collapse.
Woops. Afterlife is also the name of a Joss Whedon (unproduced) script where somebody goes all Alpha. Sorta.
Och, aye - and come to think of it, Joss' Afterlife is interesting to think about now in terms of Dollhouse and the hopping-into-other-bodies thingy. Huh.

Must now to a re-read.
It's an illegal underground (literally) facility, too.

Nikki Finke is saying Maggie Hill may get picked up for mid-season. As I see it, it could come down to Maggie Hill vs Dollhouse tomorrow.
So would that mean DH probably would come back as a mid-season if picked up?
So would that mean DH probably would come back as a mid-season if picked up?


What little I know about the TV biz I learned right here. That said, what Jobo suggests sounds like a reasonable business strategy. It's likely that at least one of the new shows will bomb. Most of the audience that was still watching DH at the end of this season will return to watch it as a mid season replacement. If it replaces a show on a night other than Friday, there's a chance it will do better than the show it replaces. And as others have observed, the set's already built.

The previously aired episodes don't preclude a story arc that fits a short season. A mid-week, mid-season Dollhouse might be a win.
Everyone is making this Joss Whedon Afterlife sound very interesting. Where can I find that script?

[edit: thanks, Joss fans!]

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2009-05-15 07:21 ]
I'm in the weird position here of hoping TSCC gets cancelled to make more room for Dollhouse, and knowing I'm going to feel really guilty about that later when I finally start watching the show.
Considering that the series itself ended on an artistic high note and the fact that Summer Glau told a german interviewer a couple of weeks ago that she has an as-yet unidentified movie deal in the works should her contract for TSCC end, I wouldn't feel too guilty if I were you. :)
If it's Maggie Hill v Dollhouse, I wouldn't be surprised to see half season orders for both and one being a midseason replacement for the other.
Everyone is making this Joss Whedon Afterlife sound very interesting. Where can I find that script?

[edit: thanks, Joss fans!]


Ooh, me too! I love reading Joss scripts of unreleased content. Someone email it to me? Danke.
FWIW, Nick C is saying:

DOLLHOUSE looks picked up. FOX said theyíd do it for a certain license fee, and FOX Studios would be stupid not to do it. So I figure that itís renewed. Why? Profit, not ratings. Also they may be hoping for good word of mouth over the summer. The last episodes didnít suck.


And:

Theyíre working out the details now. Itís crazy. I believe itís coming back with REMOTE FREE TV intact.


I guess we still have no idea how reliable he is.
I hope he's right of course. But I just don't understand how he could be real and still have a job in the industry. And he posts insider information about at least two networks - NBC and FOX - so what kind of position is he in, exactly, to get that info? I don't get it.
Clearly, he's a barber. People tell them everything.
Dr. Horrible tweets:

Keeping fingers crossed for Dollhouse.

Clearly, he's a barber. People tell them everything.

If this secret inside man gets my hopes up and then turns out to be entirely wrong, that barber's gonna be Sweeney Todded by mwah. And anyone else willing to join the Let's Destroy the Mean Liars Club.
My hopes went crazy up reading that Nick C post. Then I saw he said Remote Free tv would be back and I started doubting the validity of what he said. (But if it did come back that would be astonishing and amazing).
Yep, there's only Maggie Hill and Dollhouse left now.
Another 13-episode order, Brothers.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-05-15 19:18 ]
Brothers is a half hour comedy that has long been suspected to be picked up. It doesn't compete with Dollhouse for a slot.
Yep. No need to worry about (or watch?) Brothers.
Interesting that so many shows are getting shorter orders. Guess the economy combined with the changing tv landscape is taking its toll.

But 13 episodes of an amazing quality show like Dollhouse would be terrific.

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