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November 04 2009

Sidereel warns fans about Dollhouse on the edge of cancellation buzz. It is a call to action for fans to keep Dollhouse on the air, including sending dolls to Fox.

Excuse my sarcastic rage but... What?! I had no clue this show was on the verge of being cancelled probably maybe. I mean I thought it was the most ratings successful show ever.

Actually after that fit I do feel that was an interesting little break down for all sorts of shows, but to coin a popular Sunnydale phrase, "duh."
Please no one send dolls.
Somebody should tell them that Buffy wasn't cancelled, since it's among "Cancelled Favorites".
yes.. don't send dolls. just buy another copy of the season 1 dvd.
Yeah the Buffy was cancelled bit always bothers me too. Last season I sent fox a letter saying I would understand if they cancelled Dollhouse because it was a business strategy but if they tried again they should advertise it more or give Joss a time frame of X episodes period so he could wrap it up and they could get great DVD residuals. I got no response about the ideas other then a thank you for sending us an email for a few months, then right before it was renewed I got an email hat said thanks for being a loyal fan and having a calm response to our reservations, or something along the lines of, hey thanks for not being a nutter hehe.

I still believe that if they want to cancel it, give Joss 6 episodes, period, end of story and let him wrap it up or something if he wants. Just a thought but we aren't thinking about cancel town yet we still have more Joss YAY.

And in all seriousness I am so happy we got 2 seasons of a Joss show. My firefly Buffy Angel Serenity and Toy Story discs were getting a bit worn out. Some of those are their 2nd sets too. 2 Firefly DVD sets and one Firefly BD set. Same with Serenity, and then both box sets for Chosen and Angel boxee thing hehe, also 4 DVD's of Serenity, one HD DVD and one BD. I don't know how it all happened...
Where is it warning fans about the buzz on the site? And also where is the bit about the dolls on the site?

ETA: Nevermind, found the proper page on the site and changed the link accordingly.

I have to say sending dolls to Fox is not the best idea of all time.
Yeh, for the love of Whedon don't send dolls.

Instead: tell everyone you know about Dollhouse, go buy some of those awesome t-shirts over at whyiwatch.com to help pay for fan advertising, put up posters advertising Dollhouse's December 4th return around your town, put up banners on your website or blog, and start Christmas shopping early and buy all your relatives Dollhouse DVDs. THAT's what you can do to help.
Sending dolls is not a good idea. Because it's NOT ENOUGH ! Instead we should:

- send real people who have been affected by culture e.g. teenagers
- send full-size furniture labelled "Scale 100:1"
- send brains from before and after watching 'Dollhouse'
- send a house. WITH DOLLS INSIDE IT !
Yeah, I'm not sure where that was. Honestly, that site was kind of an upper for me- the show was listed in the On the Edge of Cancellation section, not the Unofficially Canceled like everyone always says! Yay!
So do we send the crazy BDSM dolls or the Natural Born Killers dolls? Cause either could work :). Or y'know blind cult follower, it takes all kinds...
Save Dollhouse by watching it.
Am I the only one who thinks sending dolls to save Dollhouse would be massively creepy if you actually ever watched the show? Sort of like sending bloody knives to save Dexter?

[ edited by beergood on 2009-11-04 11:35 ]
Well, how about sending sex-trade workers? That would surely garner some attention.
Yeah, Hollywood executive seen with prostitute - stop the presses ;).

Sort of like sending bloody knives to save Dexter?

Or lots of black bin bags each filled with something ... squishy.
I'm gonna send peanuts! Oh, wait, wrong show...and that worked out SO well...
Yeah I had not heard that plan of sending dolls in before. Seems super creepy and ultimately ineffective. I mean, ok so a fan sends in one doll, whoopie. It couldn't have same effect of the Jericho (i think that was the show, right?) people sending in nuts cuz one fan could send in a lot of nuts.
It has been mentioned as a "please do not do" before here. Informed and better organized and more effective means are available and said in some above comments.
Well, I've commented on the SideReel article suggesting that people check out www.activatedollhouse.com and www.whyiwatch.com for better and more effective ways than signing petitions and sending in dolls. It might help to deter some of the doll-senders? Either way, I figured it couldn't hurt.
buy a five dollar foot long! Wait, wrong show again. IMO no one should deter people, just divert their efforts to maybe a more productive source. JenskiJen, suggesting those sites there sounds like a good idea to me. Thank you! I couldn't stay there long enough to comment... ;)
I'm gonna send peanuts! Oh, wait, wrong show...and that worked out SO well...


Worked well enough to bring Jericho back for another seven episodes and give the fans some closure. TPTB told the fans that unless they got more eyeballs in front of the sets, that was all they were getting. The fans did not deliver. But make no mistake about it, the peanuts thing did work.
When reruns of House beat new Dollhouse by 50%, the handwriting is on the wall. Send in your dolls, don't send them in. It will not matter either way.
Tinktanker it's not that i don't agree that it doesn't look good, but I don't think there's a lot of crossover audience wise between "Dollhouse" and "House". The "Dollhouse" audience small as it might be is much more attractive to advertisers than that of "House".
When reruns of House beat new Dollhouse by 50%, the handwriting is on the wall.


Wait, did that happen? Last I'd read, House and Dollhouse were pretty much neck-and-neck in live viewing, and Dollhouse actually came out ahead when factoring in DVR and live+7 and other things I don't utilize or understand. I thought that low Dollhouse ratings were therefore a referendum on the extent to which Friday is the death slot, rather than on the show's competitiveness as such.

Either that, or gossi's tweets have lied to me! I can't face that; they... they're all I have left.
tinktanker: I think, IMHO, that what folks are trying to do here is cut out that middle step. Get "more eyeballs in front of the sets." The fans can deliver before Dollhouse gets the axe. And also IMHO the Chuck campaign worked better because it targeted the advertiser. Direct link between keeping said show on and money to advertiser and subsequently network. Chuck has 19 eps greenlit for next season. Jericho has a comic run coming out (which hubby has pre-ordered!)
took too long writing that, obviously! Can we just all rent dolls instead? ;)
From (unreliable ;) memory Mercenary, the 'House' repeat was .3 higher in the 18-49 demo and had about a million more total viewers (Live+SD). With 'Dollhouse's traditional big upswing on DVR (and the assumption that repeats aren't DVRed at all) then they could come out about equal. But DVR viewers don't watch as many adverts so as far as Fox is concerned they still wouldn't be. And obviously a 'House' repeat (though not cost free) is much cheaper than an original episode of 'Dollhouse' (or anything else).

But make no mistake about it, the peanuts thing did work.

'Jericho' was on the bubble though i.e. it was a marginal decision since it had 7-8 million viewers and so the nuts campaign made a 50/50 decision more like 55/45 for renewal. At that time executives weren't savvy to the idea that a "noisy" fan campaign doesn't translate into ratings - they are now, after 'Jericho' S2 premiered to substantially lower ratings than the S1 finale (i.e. people who were watching didn't come back, despite the "nuttiness") and kept dropping. If they had to do it over again i'm sure those same executives would leave 'Jericho' cancelled at the end of S1.

'Dollhouse' is, i'd speculate, more like a 75/25 decision against renewal so it'll take a lot more than a fan campaign to see renewal (i.e. it'll take a significant uptick in viewers - something whyiwatch.com is much more likely to achieve than is harassing already overworked mailroom employees).
---what Saje said more eloquently and more knowledgeably than I did.
The "Dollhouse" audience small as it might be is much more attractive to advertisers than that of "House".


I'd love to hear how so.
ETA: One possibility is that we tend to spend more on merchandise. Another is that Whedon products have a "longer tail" when it comes to DVD sales. Bit speculative though without any actual data to look at.

---what Saje said more eloquently and more knowledgeably than I did.

Now watch it get shot down by someone with more knowledge and/or more reliably remembered figures ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-11-04 14:12 ]
Well, that won't be me, Saje. :)

I'd just like to point out that those House stats are driving me crazy. First hour was less than 3.2 mil and still came in dead last! Not good! Apparently nothing Fox puts out there can stand up on Fridays... All of the shows that do well Friday nights first had decent runs on other nights of the week. When they move to Fridays, they carry a fanbase with them. Just sayin'...
Do not send Dolls, or emails directly to the execs as some of the fringe Dollhouse fans have been suggesting. They know we love the show. Sites like WhyIWatch and Activate Dollhouse pretty much tell you everything you need to know about how to help - watch, stream, buy the DVDs if you want 'em, tell your friends, make a song, write a blog, shoot Captain Hammer with a freeze ray etc.
Thanks for the vote of confidence toward gossi and me! I agree with the above posts regarding not sending dolls to Fox. At best, these dolls will make it to charity (and we can donate to worthy causes directly). At worst, it will contribute to the "rabid fan" label, which is detrimental to our cause.

Fox is a business. Whether we agree with how its stakeholders run it, they are nonetheless very profitable, and so we need to respect their strategies and negotiate in terms of helping them build revenue. The main factor to Dollhouse renewal is better Live+SD viewership. Second to that, a great increase in DVD sales over the holiday season will at least up our chances.

I believe that our best bet in achieving the above is a cohesive online advertising campaign with clear and powerful message, parallel to a stealth viral attack. (Would love to do traditional advertising as well, but unfortunately we don't have that kind of resources.) This, in conjunction with the music album competition, can hopefully build critical mass and get the press a-buzzin'.

Without giving too much away, everything I've mentioned above is happening. It will begin trickling in as soon as this Friday and only get louder from there. If you want to help, follow @whyiwatch and @gossi on Twitter and tell everyone that Dollhouse is NOT canceled and is returning for a double-episode TV event on Dec 4th.
All of the shows that do well Friday nights first had decent runs on other nights of the week. When they move to Fridays, they carry a fanbase with them. Just sayin'...


I'm not sure of the point you are trying to make. All that says to me is that House reruns still draws more viewers than Dollhouse does in original programming. If the object of the network is to use the numbers of people watching a particular timeslot to sell advertising, what does it matter where the viewers are coming from? As long as more people are tuning in for a particular show, isn't that what the network wants?
It's also not actually true (sorry GoldDust8912, and after you didn't shoot me down too - I may be evil ;) since 'Numb3rs' at least has, AFAIK, always aired on Fridays (and in fact used to draw even more viewers, ~11 million at its height) as has, again AFAIK, 'Ghost Whisperer' (with similar numbers).
I do think, and TVByTheNumbers (in a round about fashion) makes this point that there may be an issue with getting big sci-fi numbers in general on Friday simply because that's not the demographic that's home. SG:U is higher than Dollhouse, but lets still not pretend that Dollhouse and SG:U combined even sniff the numbers of Ghost Whisperer or Medium.
SGU is on Sci-Fi though which is cable right ? Comparing its numbers to Fox is apples to oranges (in fact, it beating ETA: Actually it may "only" be doing roughly the same as [/ETA]'Dollhouse' despite being on Sci-Fi shows just how badly Fox are doing on Friday nights).

As to the general point, I guess it depends on the extent to which the demos crossover (purely anecdotally I watch and enjoy 'Dollhouse' and have also watched and enjoyed 'Numb3rs' since it premiered) ?


ET jigger some pokery ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2009-11-04 17:56 ]
And here I thought November would be a month not to picnic, what with the show being off until December. How is it people are still busting out the paper plates and sandwiches when we're on hiatus?
November's a great time for a picnic - very few bees.
Sendig brains, knives and Natural Born Killers to th Fox execs... Are we very peaceful wright?

I don't think there's a lot of crossover audience wise between "Dollhouse" and "House"

Well, if the people stars to send the dolls we only have "House" as the leftover.
Make no mistake, the Dollhouse numbers are pretty terrible, but the problem with sending Dolls is this: nobody will do it. Well, 4 people will. And the network will look at the 4 dolls and go "That's the broadcast audience".

Trust me. I've seen it happen.

The only way to turn it around is to convince the network to invest properly in the property and advertise it, and for the fans to support it whilst it is on the air and available via other avenues. That isn't to say direct action is bad - I encouraged people to phone FOX when it came to the renewal decision for example - but right now during sweeps sending things to the network in small numbers and writing them emails ain't gonna create a good impression.
Wait... I love House and Dollhouse.

(btw, the Subway thing DID work in helping save Chuck because it was an advertiser... if Barbie actually advertised on Fox, maybe the doll thing would work). ;)
Come on, they're burning off the episodes. That means the show is gone. It's like body-language but for a network.

[ edited by will.bueche on 2009-11-05 01:06 ]
Ok, people need to stop comparing Dollhouse to Stargate Universe. Channels like SyFy woulf work MUCH better for DH. My favorite current show that isn't a comedy (Besides Dollhouse) is Breaking Bad, and I remember season two starting with 1.7 Million live, and all the media gushed about how much the show had shot up something like 25%. It's currently filming season three I think, and I'm pretty sure Dollhouse is kicking BB's ass in the ratings. cBreaking Bad's never been in any cancellation trouble. Dollhouse probably has a bigger budget, but it can't be huge, plus AMC would really advertise it and support it. Fox is very different.
Brrr, QuoterGal. I'm not ready to picnic! Here I am all cozy inside by the fire, flippin' through the channels.

While it's clear to me that "Dolls = bad, Promotion = good" is definitely the way to go, I just thought I'd add an aside on my thoughts:

WHY do "nutty" campaigns get more splash in PR than "useful" campaigns?

I may be off my mark, but it seems that work like WhyIWatch, ActivateDollhouse, & UnOfficialME spread the word in a more "enticing new viewers" way, but don't get noticed by a larger audience while messages like "send Dolls! save the world" will be talked about on blogs and eventually will get their lime-light with TV critics & network notice.

Not that that notice is a good thing, and as gossi points out, may only be 4 people who carry through on the campaign.

With sites like WIW, the work is done; all you got to do is copy & paste the link to many people. Why does that not entice the "nutty" fans? Are we allergic to working in a process? (I say "we" because although it's a pipe-dream idea, part of me (ID?) was like "oh! dolls are the key! why don't we have action figures yet so I can send real-looking actives to fox?"

Just curious. Is this observation just me?
Oh wow. I totally missed this article on Sidereel as I was too transfixed by the other article they had on Samantha Who? 's cancellation.
I guess what I'm saying is, I would suspect a far stronger demo connection between SG:U and Dollhouse than I would with Numb3rs. Not that they can't intersect, I just couldn't see it being AS large proportionally speaking. And it actually wasn't justifying Dollhouse's ratings so much as it was saying they're one of two shows trying to appeal to a much smaller demographic on that night.

Honestly, there's a very specific demo I'm interested in comparing, but I don't have access to the numbers so it will have to remain an unspecified theory of mine for now ;)
What i'm saying is, pointing at SGU's low numbers and saying "Look, sci-fi doesn't do well on Fridays" just isn't a valid inference because the Sci-Fi channel has nothing like the market penetration of Fox. In other words we have no idea how large SGU's ratings might be if they were on a channel with a potential 15 million viewers, rather than one with a potential 5 million (to pull a figure out of the air but I doubt it's too far off ;).

The same thing applies to comparing e.g. Buffy to 'Firefly' - a huge ratings hit for The WB would've been a complete disaster if shown on Fox (back then).


ETA: Not to say BTW, that you're necessarily wrong azzers, sci-fi may well struggle on Fridays for the exact reason you mention. I just don't think SGU's apparently low numbers (which are very healthy for the Sci-Fi channel BTW, even if it would probably mean instant cancellation on Fox) show that.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-11-05 08:29 ]

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