Dollhouse: Why Was the Low-Rated Eliza Dushku Series Saved?

DollhouseOne of the biggest surprises of this upfront season was the renewal of FOX’s under-performing Dollhouse. While the show creator Joss Whedon have a cult following, that hasn’t translated to big ratings. In fact, the Eliza Dushku and company are frequently thrashed by shows like Flashpoint, Dateline, and Supernanny. Why is FOX sticking with it?

When asked about the Dollhouse decision, FOX’s President of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly, said the network is actively looking at numbers beyond the traditional Neilson ratings.

He said, “First, it’s a bet on creatively, and that’s something that has never changed. And I’m happy to say we’re doing that. You know how inspired Joss Whedon is. It’s a bet on Joss. The DVR numbers are a marker for us, so it is a factor, and we did see an uptick in the ratings from a 1.5 to a 2. That was a pattern for us that we liked, betting on Joss, and I think you’re going to see it grow next season.”

Reilly also maintains that he was more comfortable trying to grow Dollhouse’s audience, rather than start from scratch. “Bet on something that has a core that you believe can work,” he said. He also joked, “Not to mention if we’d canceled Joss’ show I’d probably have 110 million e-mails this morning from the fans.”

Should FOX move Dollhouse to another night?

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While Dollhouse has survived to see year two, fans shouldn’t count on a third season if viewership doesn’t improve.

Peter Rice, FOX’s Chairman of Entertainment, noted, “We think that we can grow the show… The show became much stronger creatively during the course of the season. Joss feels very energized about it. And we believe in him as a creator. We’ve had a lot of success in the past, and we feel that he can build the show, and it can grow in the new season… and that Friday is a good place for it to do that.”

Do you agree with FOX’s strategy, to keep Dollhouse on Friday nights? Or, was that the show’s biggest challenge this season? Is this series being set up to be cancelled?

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22 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Pablo says

    Dollhouse is GENIUS! It has intricate plots and such a creative cast… This is a WONDERFUL show.. They should have DEF NOT put it on Friday night bc NO ONE is home on FRIDAY NIGHTS!!! And brilliant intellectual well-written show and now it’s gonna be cut? FOX is def. going down hill.. BETTER MARKET would help.. BUFFY & ANGEL & FIREFLY were brilliant shows.. Buffy EVEN helped save a NETWORK! FOX should def. put more trust in JOss’ work and really help him out. He’s MADE NEW ORIGINAL SHOWS!!! 4!! That is MORE than ANY WRITER can ever HOPE to IMAGINE to create & get picked up!! FOUR!!! ORIGINAL!! Not some lame “Gossip Girl, OC, 90210, Reality TV CRAP” But actual creativity.

  2. Scott says

    Dollhouse his fantastic, other than that other bullshit Fox has (Family Guy’s not funny any more for like the past 3 seasons, and now the cleveland show,new simpsons,etc)… Dollhouse is the only show fox did right, and if they **** up and cancel it like firefly >_<

  3. Andrea says

    I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! It is one of the most creative shows EVER! It would be great if it gets moved to some other day.

  4. Andrew says

    Interesting…all the comments made here; both positive and negative. While I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, I tried to view Dollhouse with an objective eye. The premise is wild if not dark. Women and men being pimped out for whatever “the client” wishes or needs. I went out on a limb and purchased the first season on DVD, having never seen an episode on television, and discovered that it was pretty damned good. Which doesn’t mean it didn’t fall flat at times. I strongly believe, however, that the show deserves another season to hit its stride. Of course, for those folks glued to the couch for Cops, Fox News, or something similar…then Dollhouse might just be to a tad to deep.

  5. says

    I am happy they renewed the show. It has potential for sure. I hope Fox counts online views as well as dvr. I watch all my tv online on hulu, including dollhouse. With online they time or day they show the show no longer matters as much.

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