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Fox pulls "Dollhouse"; Whedon philosophical

Just 10 days after Joss Whedon fans began to drink heavily from the Happy Cup upon learning Fox had promised to air all 13 episodes of his low-rated drama "Dollhouse," those fans had drained that Happy Cup -- and found a dead mouse at the bottom.

Fox will yank the show off the schedule after this Friday's episode and keep it off for the rest of the November sweep ratings derby. Now, the network promises, it will bring back the show in December -- otherwise known in the TV industry as The Holiday Rerun Season of Low TV Ratings.

"Howzabout that schedule?" Whedon commented Thursday afternoon on the Whedon fan Web site whedonesque.

"I'm not as depressed as everyone else. We weren't about to rock sweeps anyway," he said, philosopically, adding "and though there's a chilly November, December is CRAZY. It's like an Advent calendar of episodes!

"We get November to try to spread the word (which I'll be leaning on Fox to do)" he concluded.

Fox did not pull "Dollhouse" because it is suddenly doing worse in the ratings on Friday nights than it had been. Fox pulled "Dollhouse" because the network -- which is usually a ratings also-ran in the fall -- is actually very competitive this fall and may be in a position to thumb its nose at some of its competitors at the end of the November sweep. That is, if the network dumped its Friday Night of Low Expectations, and slapped reruns of its highly rated Monday and Thursday dramas, "House" and "Bones," respectively, into that Friday lineup.

So it did.

Dollhouse" is the highest-profile resident of Fox's Friday Night of Low Expectations.

In case you are among the many who have not watched "Dollhouse," Eliza Dushku plays a super hot "doll" who made the interesting career choice of turning herself over to a nefarious organization with the understanding they would scrub her brain clean and give her the insipid name "Echo." Every week, Echo is re-programmed to become exactly the right candidate the group needs to pull off some risky, illegal stunt, or some romantic encounter, in order to help some super-rich person solve his super-nasty problem for a super-lot of money.

Where I come from, that's called a "hooker."

In return for her services, Echo gets to sleep in a little coffin in the Dollhouse floor, and receives a lifetime supply of tight tank tops and yoga pants.

Fox now promises it will bring original episodes of "Dollhouse" back once the sweeps period is over, in December and January, when other networks will be airing repeat programming. Fox may even run two episodes back-to-back some weeks which, Whedon noted Thursday, would be giving the second episode of his show on those nights "an absurdly appropriate lead-in."

Where I come from, that's called "Burn-Off Theatre."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  October 22, 2009; 6:52 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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WHY didn't Whedon learn the first time around not to deal with Fox? Aaargh!

Posted by: falltillfly | October 23, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

The show is finally starting to hit its stride. Aaargh is right. Fingers crossed for a full-length feature down the road.

Posted by: ocassiuso | October 23, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the snide program description Lisa. For a TV reviewer, I wonder how many eps you have seen this season.

Posted by: pezdrake | October 24, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes, very snide comments. Lisa's characterization of this show demonstrates that she really hasn't watched episodes beyond the first three of last season. Try getting to season 1, episode 6 and the shows deep, complex delving into the nature of humanity begins. Thanks to Fox for giving us at least 26 episodes of this great show.

Posted by: vabeach_voter | October 29, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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