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May 14 2009

FOX abandons Remote Free TV. The move means, if Dollhouse returns, the show will return to the usual 40-something minute length. The article incorrectly states the WSJ say the show is returning. The WSJ don't actually say that, however.

Saw that comin'.
I like it but I don't. I do get why the network doesn't care for it. Bonus though, I learned how to get snacks super fast!
The JJ Abrams-created sci-fi series 'Fringe' and Joss Whedon's 'Dollhouse' were the first programmes in which the 'Remote Free TV' approach was tested, but these will return to a normal amount of ad breaks next season, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.


So, they both will return? Hmm.
I did not spot that. Investigating.
Yeah this was pretty much a given, but it's a little disappointing to hear... one of my favourite things about Dollhouse was getting really into an episode, losing track of time, thinking it had to be nearing the peak and then discovering it wasn't even at the halfway point yet.

That said, if they had decided to continue with Remote Free TV then Dollhouse would have had even less of a chance, what with the whole concept relying on retaining viewers...
Investigated. WSJ don't even mention Dollhouse.
Yeah, I remember that comment, Simon. I just wanted to quote Jayne. :P
So, just sloppy journalism.
See what is says under the picture?

"Dollhouse: returning to normal ad breaks"

Probably doesn't mean anything, though.

[ edited by snakebyte on 2009-05-14 15:40 ]
Talk about forest for the trees... I didn't even notice that. Hope it means something.
Is this only a brief glimpse into the whole article? Would be interesting to see what the rest says.
I've edited the WSJ article into the subject before we all read too much into the Brand Republic one.

Also, this means Dollhouse's cost per episode is instantly reduced. Producing 42 minutes is cheaper than producing 50 minutes.
Intriguing. Not surprising, but intriguing.

So, does that mean that the relatively high DVR viewership for Dollhosue is not as much of a factor anymore? Or, does it just mean that even with remote-free-Tv, people still skipped the ads (as I did)?

all in all, this leads me to think that a decision of some sort has been made about Dollhouse. Not for sure, but if the remote-free model is off the table, that's one less thing to negotiate about.
Also, this means Dollhouse's cost per episode is instantly reduced. Producing 42 minutes is cheaper than producing 50 minutes.

I'm not sure about that since I got the understanding that Dollhouse was shot at the same budget a 42-minute was shot, because most 42-minute shows shoot over 50 minutes of material and that RFTV only meant less editing work. But I'm not sure where I got that impression from, so maybe it's utter nonsense and budget will indeed be lower when they return to non-RFTV.
I don't think we ever had any indication that a high proportion of DVR viewers was much of a factor. We've all been hoping, of course.
Well, all I meant about the high proportion of DVR viewers was that Remote-Free-TV was aimed at DVR viewers (trying to get them to watch ads). So, presumably, if it worked, it would work best on shows with high numbers of DVR viewers.
Also, this means Dollhouse's cost per episode is instantly reduced. Producing 42 minutes is cheaper than producing 50 minutes.

I'm not sure about that since I got the understanding that Dollhouse was shot at the same budget a 42-minute was shot, because most 42-minute shows shoot over 50 minutes of material and that RFTV only meant less editing work. But I'm not sure where I got that impression from, so maybe it's utter nonsense and budget will indeed be lower when they return to non-RFTV.


There was an interview with Joss a while back where he discussed the ramifications of producing 50" episodes with the same budget as a typical 42" episode, and about how it was more difficult since you do end up spending additional time and resources on filming/editing material to fill those extra minutes.
Can anyone with a subscription to WSJ online say whether or not the rest of the article even mentions Dollhouse? The short snippet there only seems to talk about Fringe.
The WSJ article does not mention Dollhouse at all, just Fringe.
That's too bad. I really liked RFTV. I watch on DVR, and except for the last break, I rarely bothered to fast forward. Watching 2 or three ads isn't that much hassle, and if you fast forward you usually end up having to back up again because you go too far. It also provides a brief break to discuss what just happened on the show with the other people watching with you.

I also liked that we were getting longer episodes. ;-)

I guess the advertisers just didn't like the idea of paying more, despite the fact it means people are much more likely to pay attention to their ad (or watch it at all). I was hoping RFTV would trend us back towards reasonable numbers of ads, but now it doesn't look like that will happen.
Not surprised at all.

Also, did FOX actually advertise Remote-Free TV? Like, as a incentive to tune in. I noticed a number of people asking about the show being longer, without knowing the reason.
As I recall they did, pretty extensively infact, although I've never found that moniker as making any sense (there are other things you use a remote for besides skipping commercials).
Turn down the volume because the commercials are screaming at you for example.
Too bad, as a viewer I enjoyed RFTV. Had a brief heart-sinking moment though when the front page loaded and my eye glimpsed "Fox abandons..." I then continued reading and was able to fish said heart out of stomach. And wilder, we too learned how to get snacks super fast.:) We looked ridiculous no doubt, running full speed toward kitchen screaming 'go, go, go!' - but we eventually perfected the process.
Assuming a second season of Dollhouse, could this translate into a four act break structure replacing the six breaks used in season one?


I think the show would benefit from a slower and deeper rhythm.
More likely five acts. I think that's pretty much the standard at this point (although for a lot of shows, act five is basically a new term for the old-fashioned "tag" which wraps up the emotional story, while the end of act four wraps up the plot itself).
The volume going up (sometimes way up) for the commercials should be illegal. I love my DVR/PVR (someone settle on the correct abbreviation, heh). Or DVDs, those are even better.

Loving the fast turnaround time for a lot of shows this season (it's happened in the past as well--Season 1 of Brotherhood came out a week or two after that show's season finale, with extras and all). 24's 7th season is out a week after it concludes (if I knew that back in January, I might have just waited for the DVDs, though it's been a very strong season for 24 and a lot of fun to watch from week to week with a buddy). Dollhouse only a couple months later...they should prepare for all DVD releases of TV shows like this.
Good. It really hampered the early episodes, which wound up being far too long and could have done with being a lot punchier.
Yet somehow crucial scenes had to get cut out of Omega. If that one had to fit into a 10 minute shorter slot, I wonder if they just would have been better served making it longer and a 2-parter.
I'm going to miss the extra minutes of Dollhouse goodness. (Still hoping it's renewed.)
If they're going to have longer commercial breaks, I'm inclined to stop even watching it on DVR, and switch exclusively to Hulu, which is what I use most of the time right now, anyway. I wonder if they've thought of the competing market of internet TV yet.
I'm actually trying a grand cable-free experiment for next year. I'm moving out on my own and decided to not bother to pay an extra $40~ a month and not get cable tv (just internet). I'm going to see if I can just stream my shows from Hulu on my TV using my PS3. I've heard that works. :-) And I'll netflix older shows, or use netflix streaming.
Loving the fast turnaround time for a lot of shows this season (it's happened in the past as well--Season 1 of Brotherhood came out a week or two after that show's season finale, with extras and all). 24's 7th season is out a week after it concludes (if I knew that back in January, I might have just waited for the DVDs, though it's been a very strong season for 24 and a lot of fun to watch from week to week with a buddy). Dollhouse only a couple months later...they should prepare for all DVD releases of TV shows like this.


Why don't they always do this? Most of the time the DVDs are released a week before the new season launches, which doesn't give a newer viewer a lot of time to catch up. I'd think giving the DVDs more time on the store shelves could collect more viewers and make them more money in the long run.
Why don't they always do this? Most of the time the DVDs are released a week before the new season launches, which doesn't give a newer viewer a lot of time to catch up.

I think that releasing the dvd so late, combined with being off the air so long due to the writers strike and barely any promotion, is what killed one of my favorite recent shows Pushing Daisies. :-(
The week before rule isn't a coincidence. It's 'cos the TV show returning to air = interviews = press = free publicity, which drives the sales.
What gossi said.
Ok, but if the DVDs are already out a few weeks earlier how does that hurt sales? I don't understand the importance (aside from movies) of first week sales. A sale is a sale, and they'll get the same publicity boost since the dvd will still be on shelves by the time the new season publicity is out.

And then people will have a chance to watch the whole season before the new one starts. Shouldn't that be the goal? Let the DVD sell the next season on tv.
The DVD divisions usually operate separately and want the hoopla and advertisement of the new season of the show to sell the DVD. It is all a matter of perspective.
What I am wondering is why is it so important that the release of the dvd coincide with all the marketing? Will stores really stop stocking it so quickly by the time the advertisements for the new season begin?
It just gives it the biggest possible launch, AFF. In terms of 'is this best for the show?', the answer is probably not, but it's what works best for the DVD division, which is what they care about.
AFF, It is helpful if people know about the show, are interested in the show, and know that the DVD is out on the shelves. Thus the advertising synergy with the new season starting to air. Stores will not stock the next season on DVD if the current season on DVD doesn't sell well.
Thanks, gossi and TamaraC, I'll go with that answer. I personally agree with Kris that it would be nice if more shows got their dvds out close to the seasons end. (Hey, there is a lot of promotion often for season finales, too, the dvd announcement can piggyback on that I would think.) I understand the dvd division has their reasons for when they release the dvds. (Hopefully some of the time those reasons are "so we can create more special features / record commentaries").

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2009-05-14 23:55 ]
Some DVDs do come out right after finales. Next week, 24 season 7 comes out the day after the season finale. That isn't always possible due to the production of shows coming down to the wire for broadcasting. If you wait too long after the show is off the air, all momentum may be gone.
I figured it would have to go for Dollhouse at least for it to have a chance of coming back. I would have liked to see it stick around for the next season of Fringe though, as I felt like that show and its characters really benefited from the extra breathing room in each episode.
The volume going up (sometimes way up) for the commercials should be illegal
Kris | May 14, 18:20 CET


Amen to that. I'm pretty sure there was a time, before deregulation of virtually everything, that it was illegal.

Am I the only one who totally mutes commercials, if I'm watching as the show's airing?
I forget the mute button exists. I just turn the volume down.
The week before rule isn't a coincidence. It's 'cos the TV show returning to air = interviews = press = free publicity, which drives the sales.


Oh, I was aware of the marketing strategy. From the standpoint of a viewer, it's pretty inconvenient. I think they should find a way to push advertising for the DVDs along with the season finale as well as the next season premiere. It's not that easy to watch a whole season in a week. Well, for *me* it is, but most people have lives.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2009-05-15 09:35 ]
I learned how to get snacks super fast!

LOL same here! As for "Remote Free", my aunt still felt the need to flip channels. It's like "woman, its only sixty seconds, calm down." :)

I preferred the longer episodes compared to 40-something episodes. Hopefully cutting down on fight scene time will give us the little bits of drama that would otherwise be removed from newer episodes compared to those of the first season.

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