Dollhouse: Joss Whedon Writing Last Episode, Planning for Cancellation

Dollhouse TV showAs 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.”

Should Dollhouse be cancelled?

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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?

Canceled and renewed TV show

22 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. KirrhiYanada says

    I wish they’d keep it. It was doing so good. How are we going to fill the gap between now and Epitaph? Plus, something has to be after Epitaph to give the “closure”…

    I’ve never really been a Joss fan but I love love love Dollhouse

  2. S/A says

    Networks are going to have to figure out new ways to determine what people are watching especially with shows that attract younger audiences. I am 26. Very few people I know my age watch TV. This is not to say that we don’t watch television shows. We do. We just don’t watch them on televisions (except when we buy the DVD sets later or have televisions hooked up to our computers). I am perfectly willing to contribute for content. Show me a way to pay the network directly, or give me a way to indicate to sponsors that I will preferentially purchase their products as sponsors of content I desire. But I am unwilling (and technically unable given that I work 2nd shift) to watch television at a prescribed time and place (televisions aren’t terribly portable) or to sit through commercials. Axing shows like Dollhouse for not ranking in the way you are currently measuring viewership is just ignoring the way a generation chooses to view content. Continuing to operate in this way will leave you with no content appealing to younger audiences left and the void will be filled by creators putting their content online. Within a couple generations you’ll find your television networks obsolete.

  3. Ze says

    Everyone is allowed to have their opinion… If Skysoldier173 says that Joss Whedon writes crap, we should respect him. He’s clearly not the only one thinking that.


  4. Kat says

    Hey Skysoldier173, Joss Whedon writes crap and Obama isn’t the coolest Prez since Clinton? You must be living in the alternate reality featured on Fringe.

  5. Skysoldier173 says

    Well from what we’ve seen here Joss wheddon still has a knack for writting garbage.Dollhouse was the latest in terms of crappy show by Mr. Wheddon along with Firefly,Angel, and let’s not forget Buffy the Vampire Slayer his first piece of garbage.Hopefully,Joss will take the hint and not create anymore crappy shows (we got enough dead air since Obama became president.)

  6. Clay says

    I want to see Firefly back on. Fox brought Family Guy back, they can do the same with Firefly. I believe everyone except Morena and Nathan are available and their shows will tank soon enough.

  7. Matt says

    Personally, I think this show was doomed the minute ratings for season 2 started coming in, but FOX may have learned their lesson after the outcry these last few years about their reputation as a “hanging judge” for shows that don’t take off right out of the gate. After all the “Firefly” campaigns, the angry reactions to shows that were cancelled after two or three episodes (“Drive”, anyone?), and their over-reliance on “American Idol” and “House”, FOX desperately needs to soften their image and at least make it appear that they’ll give shows a chance, and pleasing the man with the most rabid fans in the industry is the way to do it.

  8. Steve says

    Dollhouse is good, but it certainly isn’t Whedon’s best.
    I’m a fan of the show but I think after season 2 it might be best to wrap things up and let those involved moved on to other “new” shows. I applaud Fox for doing the right thing here and letting all the episodes air, as over the last few years a number of my favourite shows have been cut short and not been given the chance to finish up on the air.

  9. Browncoats says

    How about they put Firefly back on the air and then we can talk about pulling the rug out from under Joss…

  10. Jason Hoover says

    Yeah I agree. But I also think that too much is decieded on those stupid ratings but it leaves the devote show watcher in the cold because they do not get the raiting that the channel expects to get. Friday is a bad night for it how about try Wed at 9 that should help it out once more people has a chance to watch the show.

  11. says

    To paraphrase a wonderful quote, “News of Dollhouse’s death has been greatly exaggerated”. Fox has made it clear that it will in fact consider more episodes of Dollhouse (and possibly a third season) if the show’s ratings increase. A large portion of the audience has taken this to heart and is offering the network valuable aid in promoting the series virally online and in the press. Currently a video promo is available at inciting viewers to tune in live this Friday at 9/8C for Dollhouse’s best episode yet.

  12. Roy says

    DollHouse is good I dont blame the show or Jos Whedon. I blame Fox for putting it on Fridays. Listen Fox and listen good stop wasting the viewers time by putting a show you know is good out to pasture to die on fridays. Why don’t you put House and Lie to Me on Fridays Since they are good shows, or just show movies every Friday.

  13. says

    FWIW, when Joss says of the 13th “we’ll definitely have closure, but will leave some doors open”, he’s simply reflecting what he’s always done with his season finales. It’s not actually new, or news, in that respect. It’s his standard operating procedure.

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