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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A reprieve for Dollhouse


"Dollhouse" fans can breathe easier: Fox will air all 13 episodes.

On the heels of impressive DVR data for the "Dollhouse" premiere, network execs said they will run each produced hour of the show's current order despite the Friday drama's modest overall ratings.

Fox more or less killed the show in advance by showing it on Fridays with a poor lead-in and by forcing Joss Whedon to write six horrific initial episodes that didn't advance the central plotline. But at least the Murdoch-owned network has proven that it's not like NBC; this expensive, scripted show will still have its admittedly remote shot at finding an audience.

"We're going to run all the episodes," Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman said. "We're not saying we're happy with those numbers, or accept them, but we don't have to overreact."

Premiere-week DVR data released Monday showed that the second-season "Dollhouse" debut climbed 50% from its very modest base of a 1.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. Beckman said DVR results have played a role in the show's fate, though he wasn't surprised by the new numbers.

"It's one of the reasons that we brought 'Dollhouse' back; we knew it was DVR-friendly," Beckman said. "Hopefully we'll see the overnight ratings increase from week to week. With some shows, you have to look at the bigger picture."

And you know what you are, Hulu viewers? You're time-shifters, that's what you are.

"All viewing matters," John Rash, senior vp at media agency Campbell Mithun, said of the gains. "The numbers particularly matter for relatively low-rated shows like 'Dollhouse' and 'Smallville,' which have an established fan base -- albeit one that time-shifts -- which may give a show longer life if this data wasn't accounted for."

But you're not time haters. Those are few and far between.