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?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

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?

Canceled and renewed TV show

22 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Maria says

    Everyone who didnt like this show should just stick to desperate housewives or family guy(whackest show everrr) or any other show lacking creativity and imagination…..IM SO HAPPY Dollhouse is getting another shot , im convinced it only did so bad cuz it was doomed to the friday night spot….who watches TV on friday????? I think this show can go far….Cmon how did Buffy ever make it so far???…..maybe times change….maybe if the Buffy series had started 10 years later then it had it wouldnt have done so well….to much “reality TV” is ruining everything and is kinda defeating the purpose of TV… escape from reality hellllloooooo isnt that what the news is for????

  2. not impressed says

    this isn’t a very good show they shouldve axed this show. Sure we all wanted to say sorry to Joss for firefly but this show is crap

  3. Shawnell says

    Thank you for looking beyond the Neilson ratings and looking at the DVR recordings because that is how I am able to watch all of the T.V. shows ,because I am a mother of four and I love this show if it wasn’t for the DVR I would not be able to watch them.

  4. Jenn says

    Just wanted to chime in that I remember seeing the previews for this show and thinking that it might be fun to watch… but, unfortunately, my Friday nights are already full and that led to me forgetting that it was even going to be on. I think this show might do better if it was moved to a different night, but be warned that if it is moved….. Wednesday nights would be just as bad as Friday nights for those of us that are hooked on Lost and Ghost Hunters!! Might I suggest moving it to Monday or Thursdays?? Just a thought.

  5. fritanga says

    This show is definitely the nadir of Whedon’s career – a series about amnesiac prostitutes? Yeah, that’s hot, edgy and “feminist.” I have no idea why Fox renewed this show, other than they don’t have anything comparable (ie, “MILF Island”) on their roster for next season. This proves that Whedon has scraped the bottom of his creative barrel, something totally depressing when it comes from the creator of Buffy.

  6. Happy as Hell!!!!!!! says

    Love Dollhouse! I am so ******* happy that they have kept it on! God I probably won’t stop smiling all day today! Okay but FOX made a stupid move putting it on a Friday and the shows that were supposed to help with ratings did not help at all. Actually the ratings got higher when Dollhouse went on then it did when Prison Break was on.

  7. missdirected says

    I’m so glad this got renewed! I do, however, believe that putting ANY show aimed at people between the ages of 17 and 40 on in a Friday night time slot is a recipe for cancellation. I’m happy Fox considered DVR numbers in the decision, but I do think this show would fair better on another night, when more people might catch it and get hooked in.

  8. Marie says

    If only ABC had felt this way about Pushing Daisies or Eli Stone….both had huge followings not represented by the rickety old Nielsens. Glad that DH will get one more season…..honestly, if you go back and look at it, Buffy Season One is pretty lame compared to what followed. Shows need time to get their sea legs.

  9. renee says

    i love this show, i love joss, and i love eliza. what could be better. and with all the other non-reality shows being cancelled there is not much left to watch. in the last year we have lost: moonlight, life, new amsterdam, bionic women, my own worst enemy, journeyman, maybe prison break and reaper. and these are just the shows i watch……im am suprised and happy that dollhouse has stuck around. And personally i dont care what night its on…..thats what makes DVR, and VCRs for that matter, awesome. i record all my shows and watch them whenever i want.

  10. malteser says

    Just getting into Dollhouse and I love it. At first I felt that it was a bit ‘Joe 90′ if you remember that, but now with the politics and Alpha and the unfolding of the story I’m really getting into it. It would be a shame to lose it so early in my view.

    Other than the Joe 90 reference, it’s actually an unusual subject which has been treated pretty well. I’d love to see it develop.

  11. JossFan says

    Granted I haven’t watched Dollhouse, but for me if they wanted to keep a good exciting television show without starting from scratch they should drop Dollhouse and bring back Firefly.

  12. Jennifer says

    This is my favorite show!!! I love it! I am so happy it will be on again.
    Joss Whedon is great. All of his shows are unique.


  13. Jeffrey says

    Joss Whedon, great a writer as he may be, has only further solidified himself as a one-trick pony with Dollhouse. The doe-eyed, superhero waif character has been the focal point of every single project he’s ever put together, and tying it onto the overused amnesia plot device only made for the most predictable hour of television programming that I’ve seen in a great long while. Terminator gave us shocks, but choosing to renew Dollhouse just makes me say, “shucks.” I’m thoroughly disappointed.

  14. jethro says

    I like the show, my wife likes the show, and we don’t watch tv shows/movies on TV. Glad to see that FOX is looking beyond the Neilson ratings. Online media consumption is huge — maybe not for this show, but in general. Hopefully, more broadcasting companies will start taking the numbers behind online viewing more seriously.

  15. undisappointed says

    Happy this got renewed. Not as good as TSCC (which got canceled), but a good show, one of few on T.V. today.

Leave a Comment

Your comment may need approval from a moderator before it appears. We review comments to weed out spam, duplicate postings and personal attacks. We welcome constructive discussion.