Despite naysayers who fear FOX has dumped Joss Whedon’s latest series into a show-killing Friday night timeslot, this TV Addict believes the move may be the best thing to have happened to DOLLHOUSE since star Eliza Dushku’s parents procreated.
Crazy? Perhaps. But hear me out.
Now granted, Fridays on FOX don’t historically have the best track-record (see: FIREFLY, DARK ANGEL, VANISHED… ). But a lot has changed since the ill-fated launch of FIREFLY, Whedon’s space saga, in the fall of 2002, including what network execs expect of a new show. Thanks to television’s increasingly-fragmented audience, the rise of numerous cable channels, increased awareness of non-conventional viewers (who watch via DVR or even outlets such as Hulu.com), networks have been forced to accept that numbers which may have put a show on death row only a few short years ago are now greeted with lively cheers.
Just ask GOSSIP GIRL, whose deafening buzz hasn’t exactly translated into big numbers. Or Josh Freidman, creator of TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, whose show has avoided being axed despite the fact that the heroine shoots more bullets in an average episode than the series has viewers.
It also helps that, contrary to popular opinion, FOX executives aren’t stupid, as evidenced when scheduling guru Preston Beckman told TVWeek’s Josef Adalian that while DOLLHOUSE and TERMINATOR don’t have an easy road ahead of them, “We can afford to let these shows run their course. We can give them 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience.”
Perhaps finally having learned from history that shows which began with small numbers can turn into hits both modest (ONE TREE HILL) or mega (CHEERS, SEINFELD, DALLAS), the networks seem to be showing a bit more patience than in seasons past, as evidenced by the full-season pickups of KATH & KIM or LIFE. This is, obviously, in part a response to an undeniable economic reality: It’s more cost-effective to try and turn and morph an existing show into a hit than to start from scratch with a new program.
It’s also worth noting that while Friday’s are now the equivalent of a dead zone, it wasn’t all that long ago that CBS ruled the airwaves by programming DALLAS and FALCON CREST while FOX gave nerds everywhere a viable excuse to stay home on Friday nights with the X-FILES.
Which is why, this TV Addict is about to make a very bold and some might say fool-hearted prediction: Not only will TERMINATOR and DOLLHOUSE thrive on Friday nights, but each will be around when the 2009 fall season is rolled out.
But, um, just in case… it wouldn’t hurt to go out and buy weebles to send FOX executives should a Save Our Show campaign prove necessary.
Credit: Kurt Iswarienko/FOX