As fans of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse are painfully aware, the series has failed to attract a significant number of viewers each week.
Though the show has a devoted following and a solid cast (including Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz, and Tahmoh Penikett), Dollhouse is consistently one of Friday night’s worst performing shows. Even when you factor in the DVR numbers, viewership is still quite low.
The season two premiere tallied just 3.42 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo. The later episodes have done even worse and help keep the network in fourth place for the night.
Despite the poor numbers, FOX scheduling chief Preston Beckman tells THR that the network is committed to running all 13 episodes. Optimistically he added, “We’re not saying we’re happy with those numbers, or accept them, but we don’t have to overreact.”
That doesn’t mean however that the show won’t be put on hiatus, particularly during the sweeps period. Beckman noted, “During [November] sweeps we might have to jack up the numbers a little [with other programming], but we plan on completing the order for this show.”
Officially, the network won’t decide about ordering the “back nine” or season three until the current installments have finished airing. That’s not a good sign for a couple reasons. Production will have already shut down by then and, once a show is off the air, most viewers and networks tend to forget about it pretty quickly.
Considering the current numbers, any kind of Dollhouse renewal looks highly unlikely anyway. Last season, the show averaged just 4.63 million and a 1.6 rating and was barely renewed. This season of Dollhouse is doing worse.
Whedon has seen the writing on the wall and is writing the last episode of this season as a series ending. He says, “We’ll definitely have closure, but will leave some doors open.”
He’s thankful for the chance to finish the season and acknowledged the poor ratings. Whedon added, “When we got our first numbers, which were bad, the first thing [FOX president of entertainment] Kevin Reilly said was, ‘You’ll have all 13,’ which was great. They’re not going to pull the rug out from under us.”
What do you think? Are you glad Whedon will be able to write an ending or upset with FOX’s treatment of the show? Would you like to see it continue somehow?