Monday, May 18, 2009

Thursday Traffic Jam and Dollhouse Pickup

Fellow TV Junkies, this is the week when the networks present their "upfronts," outlining their schedules for advertisers. While the schedules often change (FOX is notorious for saying something will be in one slot, only to change it later), it's notable for what shows are actually picked up and which shows aren't.

Geeks (like me) got a lot of great news this weekend, what with Chuck and Dollhouse both picked up for 13 episodes (albeit with reduced budgets). Better Off Ted, a very funny and underrated sitcom, also got a pick up. The sad news is that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, has been terminated.

The Dollhouse pick up, while rewarding, was a bit perplexing, given ratings as skimpy as Eliza Dushku's costumes. From what I've read, the primary reasons seem to be:
  • "Bet on creativity with Joss," according to FOX president Kevin Reilly.
  • DH is produced by Fox Studios, a sister company of the broadcast network. Therefore, all ancillary revenues (such as DVD purchases, like yours truly already pre-ordered) stay "in the family."
  • Whedon fans are incredibly motivated, and did their job with tweets, DVD purchases, phone calls, emails and their usual support.
  • DH had very strong "outside the Nielsen" numbers (DVR, Hulu, Online, iTunes, etc.), and networks are increasingly taking these into consideration (though they're still decidedly "soft" metrics at this stage of an evolving landscape).
  • Financial concessions from Joss and the production studio on the budget.
Will the raw viewing numbers increase next year? Time will tell. DH will be back on Fridays at night, with a sketchy leadin of two sitcoms.

Also, as the "official" schedule has been released (check out a grid here), it looks like the ultra competitive Thursday night has gotten even worse. On Thursdays at 9 PM EST, I watch:
  1. Supernatural
  2. CSI: Original Recipe
  3. The Office / 30 Rock
  4. Fringe (now moved here)
Damn. For some reason, I've wound up with 2 west coast feeds on DirecTV (ABC and CBS), so I usually timeshift CSI to a later airing. Even with dual tuners, that still forces a Sophie's Choice at 9. I'll probably move the NBC comedies to the bedroom TV, as both Supernatural and Fringe deserve the "big TV" treatment. (That's not even counting potential overlap with Burn Notice, which might have part of the season stretch into the network time. At least USA shows multiple repeats).

More TV fun to come this week, I'm sure.

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