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May 23 2009

Dollhouse Season 2 (Or Why Fox Did It) (Or NickC's take on it). The mysterious NickC, who has built somewhat of a reputation as a knowledgeable commenter on TvByTheNumbers.com, provides his view on how Fox were able to renew Dollhouse despite its dire ratings, on his brand new eponymously named blog.

He provides some background information for his readers - who might not all be up to date with the show's history - and writes:

"Pete 1.0 was fired and replaced by Pete 2.0. Pete 2.0 liked what he saw in DOLLHOUSE but didnít like what he saw in the C3 ratings. Whedon had provided much better product, but the ratings were horrible. The DOLLHOUSE brand was tarnished. Pete 2.0 wanted to keep working with Whedon. So they invited him to pitch season 2. They loved the pitch. So the problem arose. How can they justify renewing a show nobody was watching and the media had labeled a failure?"


He adds Fox should keep their fingers out of the pie and that it's now up to them "to polish the Brand."

I am sort of worried about the budget cuts, though I'm sure that Joss will still offer entertaining storylines. It's just...with less money it becomes more difficult to tell his visions, even for someone like Joss who knows how to use the budget in a way that works with the show...

Anyway, why not praise us? Dollhouse is the least-watched scripted drama to get renewed in 20 years. YAY US, I say.
Donnie, remember what was pointed out before: Angel season five was made under budget cuts. A large number of people in the recent thread where that was pointed out remarked that they had no idea. That would tend to bode well for the idea of cutting budgets without anyone really noticing.

ETA that of course "remember" presumes you saw that in the first place, which is a silly presumption.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-05-23 20:52 ]
Especially since the Dollhouse set is big, beautiful, and built. So the more time spent there, the better. Maybe.
The parts of the Dollhouse that look beautiful have already been built. Places in the Dollhouse that don't look beautiful (like, say, the attic?) shouldn't be too expensive to build, especially given the right (lack of) lighting. Hell, look at the first coupla seasons of the X-Files: lots of tight dark spaces and the right directing made it fantastic. Combine this with what we know Joss can do given tiny amounts of money, and I'm sure Dollhouse will be fine. Maybe even better!
Meanwhile, @WhedonNews on Twitter is now incorrectly tweeting Nick C's link as saying that someone was fired for renewing Dollhouse. I'm beginning to support reading comprehension tests for access to the Internet.
RE the cost cuts: I think this will be a good thing - more time inside the Dollhouse and less engagements.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-05-23 21:01 ]
b!X, the article does pretty clearly state that, unless "technically fired" means something different from "fired."
No. No one was fired to renewing Dollhouse. It says someone was technically fired for not doing what should have been done to make the show successful. (The basic timeline bears that out, unless you somehow believe that Peter 1.0 was fired for somehow renewing Dollhouse after he left FOX.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-05-23 21:08 ]
(All of which is a separate issue from whether or not Peter 1.0 was fired specifically for Dollhouse issues. That would seem rather dramatic, but I don't think that's quite what Nick is saying either, hence the "technically".)
I think NickC is using the "Peter" thing for dramatic effect. It is ridiculous to think that Ligouri's leaving Fox had anything to do with Dollhouse except for how it fit into a much much much larger framework.
Which is why I think he uses "technically". If (and I say if becaue I have no earthly idea) Peter 1.0 was fired for not doing things the way they would have preferred him to, then "technically" that could include Dollhouse. As you say, merely part of a much larger context.
The point is, no-one was fired FOR renewing Dollhouse. But someone involved with the original incarnation of Dollhouse was (sorta).
Re: saving money with season two: I know "Dr. Horrible" found a guy whose basement was already decorated as a mad scientist's lab and used it as Dr. Horrible's lair. So obviously, we need to step up and help Joss save money on Dollhouse Season 2 with similarly frugal solutions. Be sure to let Joss know if you just happen to have:

--a spare pass key lying around from your old job at the NSA so Joss and co can sneak in and film on the weekend.

--your attic outfitted as a high tech dungeon, sorta gitmo-meets-yoga-studio vibe. Bonus points if it's already filled with, um, "extras."

--a secret private island, complete with helipad, shark tank, and pristine beaches...I'm sure Joss can come up with a use for it for a season two big bad. (And if you need anyone to help monitor the sun-to-shade ratio on that beach in the meantime, I'm sure I can open up my schedule for the right price).
QFE: "If they ever teach a class on how not to nurture a drama, the primary example will likely be Joss Whedonís FIREFLY. There was a show that was well written, well acted, and extremely entertaining. It had Studio fingers in the pie, but the final baked product still impressed. So FOX gets worried about what people want to see, so they decide to air the episodes of a semi-serial program out of order. In fact the last episode aired was the 1st episode! A secondary example would likely be DOLLHOUSE."
I have to agree with Septimus. For whatever reason, NickC seems to justify his previous statement, "If FOX renews DOLLHOUSE now, everyone should be fired that had anything to do with the decision" by implying that Ligouri got fired over this decision which I doubt is true. The timeline doesn't fit either. It'd make sure sense if NickC originally said Ligouri got fired over meddling in Dollhouse's initial plans (among other things) but that's not the case at all as far as what he claims. There's no point justifying an ignorant statement; he should have just pretended he never said it (if he can't admit he's just plain wrong).
A large number of people in the recent thread where that was pointed out remarked that they had no idea. That would tend to bode well for the idea of cutting budgets without anyone really noticing


It was noticeable on a couple of occasions. First when Gunn said in 'Destiny' the White Room was gone and that there was a howling abyss. In previous seasons, this would have been shown. The second was in THIQ where the Italian Wolfram and Hart office was exactly the same as the LA branch. A telling joke by Joss and co.

Also every single episode did seem to be set in the Wolfram and Hart office.
Except the submarine one.

I like NickC! His posts about Dollhouse ep 13 airing in the summer (wrong), being presented at the upfronts (wrong), saying Reilly should be sacked if Dollhouse was renewed (wrong) are all highly entertaining.

Plus Nick isn't his name.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-05-23 22:48 ]
The "how to" page doesn't explain how to cancel your membership to this forum. Erasing the information in your profile doesn't work, I tried earlier. No need to advise if you can just click me gone.
gossi, I think you should stick to worrying about yourself. I never said it was airing in the summer. I said "it may," which doesn't mean "it will." I know multiple people who were shown EPITAPH ONE at the upfront. So that too was true. Nick isn't what people refer to me as? I'm wrong in thinking that people should be fired if they renew a show they screwed up badly in the first place? Sorry. That's my opinion and I can 100% stick to it and can't possibly be wrong for my opinion.
I'm wrong in thinking that people should be fired if they renew a show they screwed up badly in the first place?


No you're wrong in implying Peter Ligouri was fired because they renewed Dollhouse. I have no problem with the general firing statement though I do think it's a little odd that you say this but at the same time applaud Dollhouse's renewal.
No you're wrong in implying Peter Ligouri was fired because they renewed Dollhouse.

He didn't imply that.
All taken care of, dreamlogic.
spiralout9, I implied Peter was fired for how he did things in relation to DOLLHOUSE and other shows. Peter Rice was brought in for his ability to work with people like Joss specifically. Rice was at FOX SEARCHLIGHT the indie brand of films so to speak over at FOX. He has a good history of working with "artists," and Joss is an artist. Ligouri wasn't good working with artists. I believe the drop in quality of PRISON BREAK, TSCC, and others all played a part. They all happened while Ligouri oversaw their productions.
Am I the only one who doesn't know who Nick C is? Isn't he one of the Backstreet Boys?
doubleshiny - Read the post; it is explained at the top of this page.
Wait, what? Was dreamlogic somehow so pissed off by this thread that s/he quit Whedonesque?
Didn't know who he was either, doubleshiny. Still technically don't beyond his various recent posts here. And funnily enough I'm okay with that.

That's not me having a go at NickC, by the way. Really can't say if the guy is right or wrong or who might truly be the injured party in all this, although I suspect it's not going to be FOX. All I really know is that a few days back everyone was in a happy place with Dollhouse being renewed and somehow as a result of a poorly timed and badly worded e-mail to a fansite the happy seems to have left the room. Pity.
I have a question, I like to read peoples thoughts: It seems like according to this article if I'm reading it correctly that Fox wants better promotion for Dollhouse. So my question is Why are they keeping DH on Friday night?
NickC has nothing to do with FOX, and the happy hasn't - in my mind at least - left the room. He's a random anonymous dude who offers his opinion online.
dreamlogic, you shall be missed :(
"and the happy hasn't - in my mind at least - left the room."

Glad to hear that, gossi. Really do hope that all this nonsense doesn't get in the way of you enjoying what you do. That really would be a pity.
gossi, I have nothing to do with FOX? You have no idea what I have anything to do with. I do business with FOX, 20th Century Fox, and others. Don't assume things about me.
Does this thread really need to become The Gossi And Nick C Spat?
Apparently... hey, maybe you two should go get your gangs and do a musical dance fight!
Now, see? At least that's getting back to some form of entertainment. Not necessarily good entertainment but still...
Oh, and to avoid any confusion on anything I happen to say in any of these threads, I have nothing to do with FOX. Although I have greatly enjoyed The X-Files, 24, Fringe and Dollhouse over the years.
I remember this one guy talking about "stone cold foxes"...wonder what ever happened to him...hey, look at that cool vase of flowers over there!
back to my question, lol
So my question is Why are they keeping DH on Friday night?

What day it's on has nothing to do with whether or not the show will be better promoted. To speculate: While the season two ratings need to be better than the season one ratings, it's still the case that Friday night ratings expectations are different. Read: Lower. Perhaps they're simply thinking, "Let's do this again, but do it right this time."
dreamlogic: "The 'how to' page doesn't explain how to cancel your membership to this forum. Erasing the information in your profile doesn't work, I tried earlier. No need to advise if you can just click me gone."

zeitgeist: "All taken care of, dreamlogic."




... but can you wipe away a soul?

:' -{

I think I'd actually enjoy watching that, zeitgeist ;).

Other than that: this article gave me new insight. I had never actually realised that the decission to fire Peter 1.0 had an impact on Dollhouse's renewal and that Peter 2.0 works better with artists like Joss and the other showrunners on FOX. I quite like these little peeks in what make networks tick. Anyway: between Peter 2.0 and Reilly, it seems like FOX is starting to become a much better environment for good television. Which is something we can only be happy about in this fandom.

As for the lessons in how not to PR a show: it continues untill today. I'm still happy about renewal, but the atmosphere on the black has certainly been fun-er than it is right now, which seems all kinds of wrong. But then again, that'll most assuredly pass. Hopefully when people get back from an energized, happy Comic Con and get their first issues of the S1 DVDs. I'm just sorry to see all this happening so close to one of the best days in recent Whedon fandom (i.e.: miraculous renewal). Then again: there's really never a dull moment, here. Which is also somewhat fun ;)
Thank you One True.
Wait, this is very upsetting to me: isn't dreamlogic the organizer of the pizza for Jane Espenson and others during the Writers' Strike? What could make her leave Whedonesque? I think we should fix whatever has made her leave! Seriously.
I was one of "those" people that came down on FOX for the way they treated "Firefly". It was completely inexcuable and it still makes my blood broil when I think about it. (Takes deep breath). But that's in the past and what's done is done.

Yes, you can color me a bit surprised when FOX renewed "Dollhouse". Hey, maybe a leopard can change its spots. Here's hoping so!

...but can you wipe away a soul?

Oh, QuoterGal, I think that's the question :)
Dreamlogic seemed to get pissed in the other thread about the Dollverse/FOX PR situation. Her last post over there was "fuck this." Don't know what made her mad but it's sad to see her go.
Expectations for Friday are much lower and we now have a barometer in that people mentioned they were happy with where DOLLHOUSE was before the hiatus. At that point it was pulling 1.5s in finals (of the 18-49 demo) and 1.7s in C3s. Now obviously with the loss of REMOTE FREE TV the show won't be pulling 1.7s in C3s if it's pulling 1.5s in the final overnights. I think not only can DOLLHOUSE easily reach that number I think it can surpass it if Joss brings his A game, and I think he has a feel for it all now.

Fans should be hopeful and do their part in broadening the viewerbase. Get friends DVDs, etc.
Season five is my favorite season of Angel and I, like many others apparently, had no idea about the budget cuts until recently. Also Dr Horrible is probably my favorite of the works of Whedon and it was made with a tiny budget. So I'm not worried about Dollhouse season two. I have complete faith in Joss and I can't wait to see where he goes with it.
Nick C, though I'm still not quite sure if I believe you have connections to anyone at FOX (sorry!), I'll ask this question as if I do: If Dollhouse's ratings improve significantly is there much chance that its budget could go back up?
Same here. I know there's a play between "Whiskey" and Adella. What, I don't know.

Joss, you and your storytelling!
If Dollhouse's ratings improve significantly is there much chance that its budget could go back up?

Network logic would probably say "If cutting the budget results in higher ratings then lets cut the budget some more!"
Short answer is probably no. The budget will go back up as the actors ask for more money which will prevent them from adding things back that they're probably cutting now. The actor's guild essentially will force the show's budget go up. So even if it's a long lived series, I think the budget crunch will be something Dollhouse is stuck with after Season 1 unless its numbers growth can outpace its cost by a noticeable margin.
Getting more money right now from a Network is like pulling a tooth with just a string and a door knob. Sure, it's possible but it may be painful. Salaries will probably go up (thus raising budget) but budget increases for locations, sets, kraft services, etc. is going to be more difficult.
Thanks for the insight, nickc, I've been amazed myself at Fox's decision to bring back Dollhouse. (I'd all but given up the series as dead - and I loved the show). I also wish your Firefly idea would happen, but that would require Fox to admit they made a mistake. Well if it can happen for Family Guy...

Although I am wondering, with talk about how Fox is being more friendly now to quality shows and creators - why the decision to drop Virtuality, without even giving it a trial run to see the ratings? (Dumping the pilot on July 4 instead).
AnotherFireflyFan I too am very disappointed about Virtuality, the premise of which sounded fantastic to me. It would have made a perfect pairing with Dollhouse too. However, several posters here have said that Fox were interfering heavily with it, stripping out all that sounded interesting and challenging, so maybe it is a mercy that they decided to drop it altogether.
I need some help with Dollhouse.
I obviously don't have a Nielsen box in my house, but you all still want eyeballs on the show, and (even though you have already been picked up) I do want to help.

But I'm stuck

I watched ep 6 months ago.
Then I watched ep 7 and realized I was going to have to watch ep 6 again.

Now, howevermany months later, I'm trying - but I'm a little lost. I'm not stupid. Just a little lost.

Remember when MarsInvestigations.Net was created to let potential fans know what they should know by a certain time in the series (they had a cool feature that hid things you shouldn't know yet based on which episode you watched last)
I found it, thankfully - cause after 6 months, the Previouslies made my head spin, and a simple ep recap was no help whatsoever.
What I really needed was a Things We Learn In this Episode. And that's what that site had.

Does Dollhouse have anything similar? (Sepinwall keeps referring to the characters by the actors' names and I have to stop and look them up - I can barely keep track of the *characters* names)

If not a website, I could, at least, use a tutor.
I have a feeling that even ep 6 isn't far enough back to go, to try watching again...
actually, I made it thru 6, 7 & 8 this time
I feel as if I just stumbled into an Entourage parallel universe blog. ;)

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