To their credit, the FOX network has been having one of their most successful fall seasons in its history. One of the problem spots on their current schedule is Friday nights, which offers sitcoms Brothers and ‘Til Death and Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.
Not surprisingly, the programmers have decided to pull the low-rated series from the schedule for November sweeps. They’re being replaced by repeats of House and Bones which, sad to say, will no doubt perform much better.
While one of the pulled series isn’t really leaving and the other is already slated to return in December, this certainly doesn’t help their chances for the future. Interrupting a regular schedule typically results in fewer people watching when a show returns from a hiatus. In truth though, the shows’ ratings have been killing them long before FOX made this schedule change.
Dollhouse, which stars Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz, Tahmoh Penikett, Enver Gjokaj, Dichen Lachman, and Olivia Williams, is the most high-profile among the three. Though the show’s ratings didn’t really justify it, FOX renewed the series for a second season last spring. The network seems to want to stay in business with Whedon and is doing what they can, within reason, to keep him happy.
Based on the ratings, Dollhouse would have been dumped long ago if it was most any other series. Thankfully for the fans, FOX has committed to airing all of its episodes. That doesn’t mean however that they’ll be ordering any more or renewing it for a third season.
Dollhouse will return in December when the network will run double episodes on December 4th, 11th and 18th. People aren’t paying attention to television as much during the holidays and since Dollhouse’s ratings are already low and heavy on DVR viewing anyway, the network doesn’t have much to lose.
This will leave three original episodes and they’re expected to begin running on January 8th, likely paired with repeats of another hour-long drama. While there are some rumors that FOX may still order a few more episodes of Dollhouse, the show is likely finished. Whedon has said that he plans to give closure by the end of the current run.
The outlook is even worse for Brothers, which stars Michael Strahan, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, Carl Weathers, and CCH Pounder. The sitcom has been performing terribly for the network and is unlikely to be seen in 2010.
Brothers has been pulled from Fridays but will continue to run on Sunday nights at 7pm. The network added the Sunday airings earlier this month as a venue to try to pick up more viewers. It hasn’t happened. FOX hasn’t ordered any additional installments and is expected to burn through the present 13 episode order by the end of the year.
‘Til Death, the sitcom that continues to survive in part because of a special syndication deal, stars Brad Garrett, Joely Fisher, Timm Sharp, and Lindsey Broad. It’s being pulled as well but there’s no plan for it to return, save for a four episode mini-marathon on Christmas night. Some episodes may fill time during the NFL games but they’ll be repeats.
The network reportedly will have 15 original episodes of ‘Til Death left after Christmas night. They’re likely to see the light of day at some point to fill in holes in the schedule. Since the network typically gets much better ratings from repeats of its dramas, ‘Til Death is hardly high on the priority list.
What do you think? Are Dollhouse and Brothers finished? Is ‘Til Death better or worse than Brothers?