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An Echo Doesn't Last a Great Deal Longer: FOX to Shrink "Dollhouse" to Twelve Episodes

It looks like FOX won't be airing all thirteen episodes of Dollhouse, after all. (Sort of, anyway.)

In a press release issued by the network yesterday, it was stated that Joss Whedon's drama Dollhouse, which stars Eliza Dushku, would end its run on May 8th with the series' twelfth episode, entitled "Omega," rather than run for the full thirteen-episode order.

No reason was given for the reduction in Dollhouse's episodes, although it should be noted that FOX will wrap up Prison Break's run with a two-hour episode the following week from 8-10 pm ET/PT. Nor has FOX made any announcement that the series has been cancelled.

An email to FOX publicity seeking clarification yesterday went unanswered.

Actress Felicia Day, who guest starred in the already filmed thirteenth episode of Dollhouse (entitled "Epitaph One"), confirmed that Dollhouse will end its run after the twelfth episode and stated that the thirteenth episode would only appear on Dollhouse's DVD rather than on air.

"Man, day getting worse and worse," said Day via Twitter earlier this morning. "Found out my Dollhouse ep, #13 isn't gonna air. Only on DVD. Such a great part too. Thx Fox."

Likewise, the news was confirmed by Jed Whedon via the Dr. Horrible Twitter account: "It's true. Dollhouse ep 13 isn't going to air. This makes @feliciaday sad. How do you feel? Why don't share those feelings with FOX?"

While FOX hasn't yet publicly commented on the episode reduction, it doesn't bode well for Dollhouse's chances of renewal. Personally, I'm not sure why the network would continue airing episodes of Dollhouse only to cut it off before its intended season finale, especially given the amount of publicity and promotion the network has given the series following its much-hyped "Man on the Street" episode, written by Joss Whedon.

One thought is that the episode in question, "Omega," seems--from the title, anyway--to offer some sort of finality. Is it possible that it does wrap up the season's storylines in some fashion while the thirteenth episode "Epitaph One," functions as a sort of epilogue? Or is that just wishful thinking on the part of the series' fans?

UPDATE: Just received word from an insider close to the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity and told me exclusively: "'Omega' is a finale in everything but name and should provide more than enough closure for people watching on FOX. All lingering questions from 'Omega' won't be resolved until Season Two anyway."

Not that FOX has ordered a second season of Dollhouse yet. But the above does explain the decision to end the season run after the twelfth episode, if it does provide closure for the series' viewers. Hmm...

UPDATE #2: According to Alan Sepinwall, "Day's episode, called 'Epitaph One,' was apparently filmed by the studio independent of the agreement -- or, at least, independent of what Fox network considers to be in the agreement -- and does not seem to be tied in to the story in 'Omega.' In other words, if there's a cliffhanger in 'Omega' (and I don't know if there is), it's not going to be resolved in 'Epitaph One.'"

(See above about that.)

UPDATE #3: Dollhouse executive producer Tim Minear posted a comment over on Whedonesque to further clarify the current situation:

"So maybe I can help clarify this somewhat. Because we scrapped the original pilot -- and in fact cannibalized some of its parts for other eps -- we really ended up with 12 episodes. But the studio makes DVD and other deals based on the original 13 number. So we created a standalone kind of coda episode. Which is the mythical new episode 13. The network had already paid for 13 episodes, and this included the one they agreed to let us scrap for parts. It does not include the one we made to bring the number back up to 13 for the studio side and its obligations. We always knew it would be for the DVD for sure, but we also think Fox should air it because it’s awesome."

Stay tuned.

Comments

Art Picked Me said…
I'm hoping it means Dollhouse is getting a Round Two and they made #13 as a sort of series finale just in case.
Anonymous said…
I'm thinking this means it's canceled. Oh well. It was just getting good.
Krizia said…
I'd love it if that were true, but with their track record in mind I'm having trouble hoping for the best. I truly think this whole issue is disgusting on Fox's part. They either need better communication with their communications department when it comes to putting out press releases before they can issue an official announcement about episodes not being aired, or if all of this is a big misunderstanding (read: I'm not fooling myself into thinking that) then they need to clear it up real quick. What I find funny is that they want to air a two-hour season finale of the "nearly canceled" Prison Break in place of a one-hour season finale of the "nearly canceled" Dollhouse? How did they determine priority? As I said earlier, disgusting.
Ally said…
that's lame. they really can't just air one more ep? Ridiculous.
joy said…
Awww, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was just a some sort of miscommunication in their group on timing of the release. However, I still think that until something's been released, employees (or actors or whomever) should have some sort of moratorium on the news before they can just shoot their mouths off on Twitters and other SNS outlets.

As far as the show/programming decisions? Even with (in spite of?) massive amounts of "just hang in there" messaging being hammered home on every front, once I finally saw the pilot, I figured the show for a goner. It never felt like a true Joss show.
P.T. Hill said…
This just makes me really sad. I like this show a lot. It's got a tough time slot though. Remember when it was going up against BSG?
Eric said…
WTF?!?!?!? Why would Fox do something as stupid as this. Even if they aren't obligated to air the ep, why haven't they made an announcement to clarify this? And why would the studio shoot an ep without having the network on board???????
Mazza said…
I understand where Fox is coming from. They're not on the line for the extra ep and think that the original pilot counted towards the 13 eps. But if there is an extra episode, couldn't they show it anyway? Maybe it will turn up on Hulu or Fox.com or DVD?
Anonymous said…
Why would Fox put Dollhouse in the Friday night slot? That's just asking for it to be canceled.
Anonymous said…
I'm confused. Fox ordered 12 episodes and the pilot, but then scrapped the pilot. But needed 13 episodes for the DVD. So they never ordered the 13th episode, but it was sort of understood that they needed it, so the crew went ahead and shot it, for which Fox presumably paid the production but not for the writing or distribution?

I mean, that can't possibly be right... can it?
-Rachel
Jo said…
@Anon

That's the whole point: Fox didn't pay for the production of that ep or any of it. The studio did. Fox is the network. 20th Century Fox TV is studio. They paid to produce the ep for their DVD, not Fox.
Unknown said…
Yup, that reads "canceled" in my book. Why bother watching now?
Mrs. James Ford said…
This explains Tamhoh booking that Sci Fi backdoor pilot...
Anonymous said…
Jo:

Thank you, that makes sense. Since FinSyn, I have a lot of trouble keeping those straight.
-Rachel
Ben said…
Seriously, Joss should move to HBO.
I don't get his deep seated need to have the approval of FOX. HBO know how to make great TV, or at least recognise it, and keep the hell out of it's way creatively. FOX know how to kill shows.

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