One 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.”
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?
Image courtesy FOX.