FOX: Dollhouse Has 13 Episodes to Find It’s Audience

by admin on November 10, 2008 · 9 comments

That’s according to the Fox Network’s scheduling guru, Preston Beckman, who also suggests that giving “Dollhouse” the ‘Friday death slot’, is actually less about smothering the fledgling show with a pillow, and more about giving it the best chance for success in the long-run.

A contradiction? Perhaps not – read on:

Having all but abandoned scripted programming on Friday nights of late, Fox is jumping back onto the night in a very big (and expensive) way. Starting in February, the network will pair Joss Whedon’s lush new drama “Dollhouse” with the network’s big-budget action hour “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

While “Dollhouse” has been plagued by production shutdowns and rumors that Fox executives are uncertain about its commercial appeal, Mr. Beckman said scheduling the show on Friday is simply a byproduct of trying to design the strongest possible schedule for the network.

Mr. Beckman doesn’t pretend that “Dollhouse” and “Terminator” have an easy path ahead of them. But, particularly in the case of “Dollhouse,” Mr. Beckman thinks the less competitive Friday night will give the show a better chance to build an audience than a more high-profile night.

“If we put it on Monday and it didn’t do well, we might have to yank it,” he said. But because Fox’s winter lineup should be solid on Saturday through Thursday nights, “We can afford to let these shows run their course. We can give them 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience.” – TV Week (further reading)

Sounds good to me. Giving a show 12-13 episodes to find an audience may sound harsh, but it’s about right in today’s market. Whilst putting the show on a Friday night has never really worried me, TiVo is a wonderful friend, and with the economy in the state that it is, many folks might not have the money to go out partying as it is! Whilst I’m sure that’s not the fragile strategy FOX are banking on, it’s not that big a deal for me, I’ll watch Dollhouse on a Saturday morning or at somepoint over the weekend. It really depends on how good the show is.

As I’ve always said, I don’t know whether I’ll actually ‘like’ Dollhouse. I love the idea and want to see it come to fruition in the way that I hope it will, but if Dollhouse sucks (and there’s a good chance it will), then by all means, Fox, smother it to death (and take out Prison Break whilst you’re at it – RIP season 1).

Most of my opinions on this blog are about the (Dollhouse) premise, which I have and will continue to champion. But if the actual show sucks and doesn’t captivate me, then I won’t lie to myself, blog or no blog. I don’t think I’m being negative here, I’m just making a distinction between the premise and the reality – which is currently unknown. Perhaps I’m also trying to lower my own expectation?

That said, I’m not a hardcore Whedonite. So for those who 100% believe in him and follow his work no matter what, well, I can respect that, because it’s clearly about the appreciation for the man behind the curtain, in that case. But I’m yet to be won over, that’s one of the quirks of this blog, for me at least.

Nevermore November 11, 2008 at 1:42 am

If they actually care about Fridays then it might not be so bad, but they’re going to have to put a lot of stock in DVR numbers and not as much in the live figures. Odds are they’ll stick it there and then forget about it. When was the last time you saw ads for a Friday show on network TV? The series has plenty of buzz going, and the fans will find it no matter what time they show it, but casual viewers are rarely going to stumble across a Friday night show. If FOX puts as much effort into their Friday lineup as they do their Monday-Thursday ones… well, Monday-Wednesday (what comes on on Thursdays? I have no idea), then maybe shows can actually find success on Fridays.

Roco November 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm

That’s fair – the only problem I personally have with the Friday slot is the amount of promotion and publicity it will (or wont) receive. I’m assuming they will spend less promoting Dollhouse than they did (and still do) with Fringe? That could be a problem, as you say, when it comes to luring the casual folk.

If Fox give the show a decent promotional lift with some viral, perhaps, then I think things will be fine (as long as the show is of a good standard).

Hobart February 14, 2009 at 11:38 am

The concept and characters are uninteresting. It was like watching paint dry. Kill it.

djk February 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Dollhouse was possibly the worst primetime show on any network on any night of the week. The acting was terrible, the plot is terrible, it makes no sense. This show should be off the air next week, but I give Fox 5 before they figure out their mistake.

Slim February 14, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Dollhouse is very bad. Even though Eliza is smoking hot, it cant make up for a bad show.

Ripper February 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Weak supporting cast, but Eliza is a babe indeed !

slayme February 23, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Hrmm… maybe I’m not watching the same show as yall. I never expected this to be Buffy or Firefly, in fact I didn’t have very high expectations for Dollhouse at all – but I’m happy to say it has more than exceeded my expectations. I’ve watched the first ep Ghost multiple times now and picked up on quite a few things I missed first time around. I can see where Joss is going with show and I truly believe it has great potential. For those of you so called “fans” who are willing to abandon the show after only 2 episodes – or ONE in the case of “djk” and “hobart” (come on, yall work for FOX don’t you – cause that sounds like how they treat Joss’s shows) I find that to be very short sighted and narrow-minded. Many shows take a few episodes to establish the story and characters. Buffy didn’t even really start getting good until season 1 ep 07 – Angel. So I guess my whole point of this is GIVE THE SHOW A CHANCE before you decide to trash it. I am greatly looking forward to the rest of the season.

Roco February 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Yeah, like you, I’m not willing to abandon the show yet, but at the same time I can’t say that I’m a “fan” either. “Dollhouse”, the show, has done very little to earn any fans, imo. I can certainly say that I’m a fan of the original premise, but equally I can see why so many people are yet to be won over.

But like you say, there’s time yet – at least another 11 episodes to produce the goods.

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