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"Dollhouse" Tv Series - Fox Leaning Toward ’Dollhouse’ Renewal

Monday 6 April 2009, by Webmaster

But news not so good for ’Sarah Connor’

The Fox network is just a step away from shaking up its Friday lineup for the 2009-10 season, canning one show and considering a move to a new night for a second.

Let’s hit the good news first. Airlock Alpha has learned that Fox is looking to give its struggling "Dollhouse" a second season, to see if it can grow some legs on a new night. Fox had originally intended "Dollhouse" to air Mondays with "24," but Fox instead decided to move "House" to that spot to replace "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," and to create sort of a genre theme night on Fridays.

The audience for "Dollhouse" are not exactly where Fox had hoped they would be, however, critical reaction to later episodes following its February premiere has grown more positive toward the series as it has had the chance to flesh itself out. Showrunner Joss Whedon had said ahead of its premiere that he had gone back to retool certain aspects of the show, including using a new premiere episode than what was originally planned, eventually canning what would have been the premiere.

The move seems to be an easy one for Fox. While the audience hasn’t been as large as expected, it has instead remained stable. It’s not a number that Fox uses, but "Dollhouse" carries a BlipNetwork Stability Index Rating of 92.0, better than every other network genre show currently on television outside of "Reaper" on The CW, which has a 94.7. A Stability Index Rating is the comparison of the show’s highest overnight rating and its average overnight rating to see how much of its overall audience a show has retained.

Other factors in favor of the show continuing is that it’s not as expensive as other Fox shows. Much of its upfront costs, including the construction of the elaborate set that is the dollhouse itself, were covered by funds that normally would’ve paid for a pilot (no pilot was made for "Dollhouse"). Also, while Whedon’s Mutant Enemy Productions and star Eliza Dushku’s Boston Diva Productions are tied to the series, 20th Century Fox Television is still the primary production company involved, which means its licensing fee is not as steep as it would be if the show was produced by another studio.

That, along with ratings, is one of the aspects killing "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." That show is set to end its second season April 10 after a 22-episode run, but its sophomore season has been nothing but a complete struggle.

After a so-so debut on Mondays and never finding its grip after that with audiences, Fox teetered on canceling the show until surprisingly deciding to give it a full-season pickup and moving it to Fridays as a lead-in to "Dollhouse." Rumors were that Warner Bros. Television, which produces the show, slashed its licensing fee to prompt a pickup as a way to help it promote its upcoming "Terminator: Salvation," which premieres May 21.

Once "Salvation" premieres, it seems Warner Bros. will have little use to keep "Sarah Connor" on the air, and likely will not continue to provide a licensing fee discount for a third season. That almost assuredly will allow Fox to make the move it normally would’ve done before New Year’s, and that’s cancel the show.

Last year, "Sarah Connor" had the worst Stability Index Rating of all network genre shows, mostly from its inflated series premiere following the National Football League playoffs. This year, it’s Stability Index Rating is stronger, but out of 14 network genre show tracked by Airlock Alpha this season, "Sarah Connor" is ranked 13th. Only "Life On Mars" had a worse Stability Index Rating, mostly from its freefall following its move from Thursdays against "Eleventh Hour" to Wednesdays following "Lost."

Of course, none of this has been confirmed by Fox, so it should be treated as any rumor would, meaning information can change, or could even be wrong.

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. "Dollhouse" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.