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Dollhouse to midseason... and other network news

by Brett Love, posted May 12th 2008 11:03AM

Eliza DushkuOk, it is after midnight here in the Jet City, and as I sit down to bang this post out on my beloved Model M it would appear that my tasty glass of juice is half empty. Maybe I'm just not in the right frame of mind to spin this news in a positive direction that will lead to a 2009 full of Dollhouse win.

Tucked away in a report on various network goings on over at Hollywood Reporter is a little line that says "Dollhouse is expected to launch mid-season." This is me shaking my fist in the general direction of Fox and screaming "Khaaaaan!" Just, because. Doesn't this seem like a road that has been traveled before? It's one that usually leads to a pretty disappointing destination. We haven't seen the finished fall schedule yet, but I would wager that most of us could easily find three or four hours where the network would be better served by inserting Dollhouse. Highlights of what the networks have planned are available after the jump.

Fox: Orders are reportedly in for J.J. Abrams' Fringe, the Jason Bateman directed The Inn, and the animated comedy Sit Down, Shut Up from Mitchell Hurwitz. As reported earlier, 'Til Death will be back for another go, while it's the end of the line for Back To You, New Amsterdam, and Canterbury's Law.

ABC: It looks like a deal will be made that will bring Boston Legal back for another season this fall. That deal could also bring about another David E. Kelley production, the remake of U.K. hit Life On Mars. Other additions to the schedule include the relocated Scrubs, and another Ashton Kutcher reality show, called Good Lord You Just Don't Care Opportunity Knocks. Interestingly, it looks as if Wednesday nights could return unchanged with the Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money lineup. Miss/Guided is questionable, but positive, and it looks like things are over for Women's Murder Club.

CW: As has been widely reported, the big story is the new 90210. The network also is set to renew The Game. There is also an all reality night in the works, pairing Next Top Model with the new Stylista. Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Smallville, and Supernatural all return, but the fate of Reaper remains unknown. Come on CW. What do you have that's better than Reaper? Aliens in America, will not return.

CBS: Eleventh Hour and The Mentalist are expected to be picked up. Mythological Ex, Can Openers, and Harper's Island appear likely. Two comedies, Worst Week and My Best Friends Girl are still up in the air. In returning series news, things are looking up for The Unit, and down for Shark.

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Pissed about "New Amsterdam"

Still holding my breath about "The Unit"

May 12 2008 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wasn't Sarah Connor Chronicles a midseason replacement? It looks like Fox hasn't axed that yet, and as another commenter pointed out, Dollhouse could benefit from Prison Break and 24 viewership (depending on the schedules).

May 12 2008 at 7:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, I agree with others here -- I don't mind Dollhouse premiering in mid-season. FOX usually loads up on too many specials and sports events in the Fall, thus effing up the weekly schedules of their scripted series.

And Dollhouse will have a more cult appeal. I think 6 or 13 episodes for its first season is perfectly fine. To be honest, lately I've been thinking that most scripted shows should only have 13 episodes at most per season, like the way it works usually on the cable networks. Most scripted series concepts, no matter how cool, tend to have problems stretching out storylines and episodes across 22+ episodes.

May 12 2008 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really really bummed about New Amsterdam. thanks fox!

What about Eli Stone on ABC?

May 12 2008 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stjohnob's comment
Brett Love

Reports say that Eli Stone has been given a 13 episode order for the new season.

May 12 2008 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here is why this is both expected, and why its not so bad. The reason a lot of Fox shows were doing pooringly during the Fall, is because Fox tends to air lots of specials during that time that pre-empt thier schedule. None more pre-empting then the Baseball season. This is what did in "Firefly" because thier premire got premepted by a baseball game. Everyone who first heard about "Dollhouse heard the new that they got a seven episode pick up? Seven episodes?! Well, starting mid-season will most likely raise that to the more traditional intial 13 episodes. If those thirteen episodes do well, then it will be picked up for a second seasn in the fall. And we are more likely to at least end up with thirteen episodes either way, and not four episodes and then an unceremonious cancellation.

May 12 2008 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Um, guys?

Buffy premiered midseason. Different network, of course, but just because a show's premiering midseason doesn't mean the network hates it. And with American Idol, Fox shows get a lot more exposure midseason.

It's interesting that CBS is trying dark genre with Eleventh Hour (they've utterly failed at it before). And look at the studio attached to most of the pickups -- Warner Bros. That doesn't necessarily bode well for healthy budgets with these shows.

May 12 2008 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I may be in the minority here, but I think Dollhouse will benefit more from being a mid-season replacement. I doubt if Dollhouse will have mainstream appeal. Whedon's shows were/are successful "cult" series, not "hits". Although Dollhouse already sounds like it's Whedon's best series yet, it could easily get lost in the shuffle if it debuted in the fall and had to compete with other new series.

There's another thing to keep in mind: the Screen Actors Guild likely will go out on strike at the end of June. The networks are facing a wipe-out of the fall tv season. Even if Dollhouse had got a spot on Fox's fall schedule, we probably wouldn't have seen it this fall anyway.

I also think that Fox, for the first time in it's almost 25-year history, is having problems with not enough space to put their shows and have the diverse schedule they want. Look at next fall: two weeknights will be filled up with House, Bones, Prison Break, and Sarah Connor Chonicles. Their weekends are set for crime and animation. Fringe (which I think has more of a shot to become a mainstream hit than Dollhouse and Fox knows it) will occupy another hour. Fox wants to have some sitcoms/comedies in the mix, of course, plus they have Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, which has performed fairly well. Then they have the World Series to air. And a football game or two outside of Sundays. So their slate is pretty full.

May 12 2008 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was looking forward to no other new shows in the fall, so that should make my TV viewing a bit easier.

Dollhouse will appear midseason, when everyone is already all invested in the middle of some other calamitous reality series, no one will want to miss the oh-so-exciting results and it will be canceled with only 6 eps of 13 aired. Again, I will be left sadly disappointed at another Fox series attempt.

Eliza warrants much better treatment than that.

May 12 2008 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know about Whedon, but I'm pretty sure Elisha Dushku has a deal with Fox.

And she was the one who went to him to see if they could work together again, and he then came up with the idea for Dollhouse. So, obviously, it had to be on Fox...

May 12 2008 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That sucks about New Amsterdam. I really liked that show.

Back to You may not have been great, but it was better than 'Til Death.

May 12 2008 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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