In the News: FOX pre-cancels Whedon’s Dollhouse

Joss Whedon. Photo courtesy of RavenU on Flickr.Hot on the heels of news that Joss Whedon is re-shooting the pilot for his upcoming sci-fi/thriller series, Dollhouse, executives at FOX announced that the show has been pre-canceled.

“We don’t anticipate that the show will appeal to a broad audience,” remarked a FOX spokesperson. “It’s just way too…’out there’ to bring in the ratings share we’ll need to compete in early 2009, so we’re pulling the plug. We’ll air three episodes out of order in January in a timeslot usually reserved for Billy Mays and Kevin Trudeau, a fourth episode will air on FSN Tennessee during the Super Bowl, and then we’ll replace it with an as-yet-untitled sitcom starring Dane Cook.”

“[The pilot] Joss is re-shooting probably won’t even air,” the spokesperson added.

Potential fans of the doomed series began a “Save Dollhouse” letter-writing campaign in November 2007, shortly after production was announced. FOX receives hundreds of impassioned pleas to keep the series on the air every day.

“The response has been great,” Whedon said in a recent interview on Entertainment Insider. “I’ve been blessed with some very loyal fans.”

When asked about rumors that most of the letters are written by one fan, Derrick Stroyer, who also continues to write similar letters pleading for the return of Firefly, another failed Whedon vehicle, the writer/director/producer/caterer replied, “Yes. Okay. A very loyal fan.”

In the same interview, Whedon announced that he will definitely not be working on a sequel to the movie based on Dollhouse. The movie, tentatively titled Echo, will continue the storyline where the series inevitably leaves off. Echo will be in theaters on August 19, 2011. Derrick Stroyer is already in line for tickets.


Disclaimer: I am not an entertainment news reporter. I am no more informed about the wheelings and dealings of the entertainment industry than anyone else with access to the Internet. Also, this story is a lie.

20 thoughts on “In the News: FOX pre-cancels Whedon’s Dollhouse”

  1. @Scott — Thanks. It was a labor of love. And mockery. Mostly mockery. I mean, I liked Firefly and all, but I never quite understood the rabid fan response. On an amusing note, I’m pretty sure the bit about the “Save Dollhouse” campaign already underway is true.

  2. Funny. Some of us are a bit like Reavers so be prepared for a swarm to arrive soon. Luckily for you, the rest of us have a sense of humor. ;) Can’t wait for the non-release of the non-movie!

  3. I don’t think we Browncoats are like zombies in the least–brains! Brains! Must eat yer brains now! Grrrrrrrrr!

    I see you hiding in that shed, bub.

    The “there-is-only-one-very-vocal-Whedon fan” joke is funny, but I must say a couple of things:

    1) The “Save Dollhouse” campaign is actually a) quite small and b) practically moribund
    2) Most Whedon-fans have had their shots and are thus of the non-rabid, un-hydrophobic sort.

  4. Well, most Whedon fans have a sense of humor–and are not rabid. Totally unlike the public perception.

    That said, do take care not to be bitten by one of them. The virus travels in the blood, you see.

  5. @QuoterGal — Hi there! Thanks for the comment. I’m glad to hear you’re not rabid, and I should point out that I do count myself a Whedon fan. I appreciate what he did with Firefly and Serenity (and more recently the fantastically funny Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog). So, despite my poking fun at Joss, I’m looking forward to Dollhouse and wish the series nothing but success.

    As for the “Save Dollhouse” campaign, the mere fact that such a thing exists (regardless of size) before the first episode has even aired is just funny in and of itself.

  6. Yeah, the fact that a “Save Dollhouse” campaign already exists *is* pretty darn funny. But after the heartbreak of Firefly (and Drive, New Amsterdam, Arrested Development, Reunion, The Inside, Point Pleasant, Tru Calling, Wonderfalls, Futurama, John Doe, Dark Angel, Greg The Bunny, Freakylinks, Murder In Small Town X, Harsh Realm, Space Above and Beyond, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Brimstone, Millennium, and Werewolf) it’s also sort of understandable. Fox has, literally, been canceling genre shows before their time since its very first season on the air. Small wonder, then, if fans start to take cancellation as a foregone conclusion. :)

  7. @Grailwolf — Well, if FOX didn’t have that long and storied history of canceling genre shows (when did “genre” become the default term for stuff with a sci-fi/spec-fic element?) this bit of faux news wouldn’t be at all amusing.

    Of course, there are probably those who would argue that this bit of faux news isn’t at all amusing, but thus far the response from good-humored Whedon fans (and I consider myself to be one of them) has been very positive.

  8. I about had a heart attack when I read this. I was getting pretty worked up about it and then I read the comments. I guess that I, just like the “save dollhouse” people, expect good show to get cancelled, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to think this show would. Hot on the heels of the cancellation of Pushing Daisies, this news was going to push me into writing various networks with complaints!

    1. @Stephanie — First, thank you for the comment. Second, I’m glad you didn’t suffer any manner of coronary irregularity as a direct result of reading my blog; that would certainly be a first, but not one of which I’d be especially proud.

      I haven’t watched a single episode of Dollhouse, so I don’t know whether it’s a good show or not; I hear differing opinions from various and sordid corners of these here Interwebs, but I’ve always been a post-cancellation Whedon fan, not bothering with his shows until months or even years after they’ve run their course. On the bright side, I never have to worry about whether they’ll be cancelled once I start watching them; I know exactly when they’re going to end. On the not-so-bright side, if Dollhouse runs for ten years, it’ll probably be eleven years before I start watching it.

      There were some rumors floating around as recently as yesterday that the FOX had pulled the plug (and I was ready to add the inevitable DVD release to my Netflix queue), but it turns out they’ve just decided not to air an episode featuring Felicia Day and Alan Tudyk. Where do these cancellation rumors get started? Honestly, people are so quick to jump to conclusions.

      Speaking of conclusions, I should probably wrap this up so I can make sure my DVR catches the second half of the first (and probably only) season of Kings on NBC. Seems the suits have moved the show to Saturday, which is apparently tantamount to having the Grim Reaper himself following you around all day. Thanks again for the comment!

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