The Friday Night Death Slot: Sarah Connor Chronicles & Dollhouse

Published 6 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 3:07 pm,

tscc 24 group silver 1753 djrv1f The Friday Night Death Slot: Sarah Connor Chronicles & Dollhouse

After its season (series?) finale, The Sarah Connor Chronicles seems to be in a gray area. The ratings for the April 10th finale brought in only 3.6 million viewers. That’s a far cry from its premiere episode that attracted almost 19 million sets of eyeballs. After a lot of conjecture, mostly from watching the ratings drop over the last two years, most feel that the show is looking at its demise.

For reasons that are beyond our own logic, even though TSCC was bringing in an average of over 11 million viewers on Mondays, Fox pretty much set the fate of the show when they moved it to Friday nights. There, in its 2nd season it received an average of 4.7 million viewers.

The above numbers seem to reference all viewers and are from ABC Medianet.  When I look at specific numbers from overnight reports through last season, I saw the following interesting trend:


  • Monday nights: 5.4 million
  • Friday nights: 3.5 million

The show had potential. They were filling in blanks in the mythos that hadn’t been otherwise covered. Sure, many viewers didn’t wrap their minds around the idea of the young Thomas Dekker playing John Connor. It didn’t settle well with me either, but I tried to wrap my mind around it for the sake of the story. If you think about it, John Connor was a little boy at some point in time so I went with that. It worked for me for the most part – and over the course of the show Dekker/Connor DID evolve and grow.

But was the doom of the series that it went down the wrong path? Or was it the movie to Friday nights that doomed it?

As it stands, we have two sides to the developments of whether the show is coming back or not. USA Today says that both Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse have a “thumbs down” for renewal.

He Said, They Said

Though Fox is technically not declaring the show dead, Michael Ausiello from Entertainment Weekly is saying that his sources are telling him that the show is gone and will not be renewed.

TSCC writer Ashley Edward Miller is backing the possible return of Sarah Connor Chronicles by contesting Ausiello’s report. He’s reminding everyone from his Twitter account that Michael said similar things during season one and at one point Ausiello apparently had also reported that the sets were destroyed.

In an interview, Brian Austin Green had let out a bit of what they were looking at for a 3rd season if it does happen. He indicated that season 3 would deal with a bit of an alternate future, where John Connor never existed and Derek was alive. Additionally, Allison (the person Cameron is based on) is still alive.

This worried me. It feels like if they get a 3rd season, they’ve written themselves into a bit of a corner. An alternate time line of an existing franchise that has the momentum it presently does veers the show away from where the movie franchise is. If season 3 does happen, it might be interesting, but I’m thinking that premise WOULD be the end of it.

He also touched on the fact that his taking a role in another show’s pilot episode doesn’t spell doom for TSCC. But I think he’s just being a good company man and putting on a good front.

From what I’ve personally seen when the show runners talked about a season three at Wonder-Con, I didn’t see any energy there. When I add that to the statements I’ve been seeing in the media, I think the show is going down the drain with the Coriolis effect. I may be filling in between the lines here, but no one is saying “it looks good,” or “we are in talks,” or “Fox is changing up our outline.” Any of these would be good clues there’s a shot. But no, I don’t see that.

So I’m predicting that we’ve seen the last of TSCC… and that’s a bummer.


dollhouse 0418 00 The Friday Night Death Slot: Sarah Connor Chronicles & Dollhouse

Keeping with a theme I’ve noticed, it seems that whenever TSCC is mentioned, Dollhouse is dragged into the conversation as well. I can’t let everyone else have all the fun. Literally, if you look at the numbers, they’re in the same boat called Friday Nights on Fox.

The fate of Dollhouse looks similar to that of TSCC but for slightly different reasons.

TSCC started strong and faded hard. Dollhouse started with a mediocre squeak of just under 5 million viewers. It’s been treading water ever since with its odd premise of “actives” and “dolls.” I’m not sure this may be working with the average viewer. Yet Whedon fans are enjoying it mostly because it’s Whedon.

Last week Dollhouse brought in 3.4 million viewers. Is it a victim of Friday nights, subject matter, or having a poor lead-in show that’s already sinking, taking Dollhouse with it? I think it all adds up to a really bad set of circumstances.

Normally, having 3 to 4 million viewers is sub par, but having been relegated to Fridays to keep TSCC company in the dark zone of ratings wasn’t deemed that bad for a Friday night. There’s also the debate about how much Fox changed Dollhouse to make it what they wanted for the first few episodes. The debate goes back and forth.

The important issue is: With the ratings as they are, does Fox give Whedon a second season? Considering they moved them from a prime market night (Mondays) to Friday, I think they owe them that. They owe both shows that – to give them a fighting chance.

As Whedon put it recently:

“Obviously our numbers are pretty soft, and there it is, but we live in hope.”

Can Either Show Improve?

I have to wonder. When we previously reported that Dollhouse and TSCC had better time shifted ratings, it seemed like a hopeful glimmer of continuance. But is it really?

Ratings increased for the delayed viewings by over 30%. That’s a great increase in delayed viewing for a Friday night show. I have to seriously wonder if that is not an unofficial indicator that on any other night, the ratings would be better?

Adding a 30% increase to their latest numbers of viewers would have given TSCC almost 5 million viewers. How would Fox look at the show then if it was bringing in 5 million viewers a night? If we were to “hope” this idea into reality, both shows would jump up to around 60th in my weekly wrap up ratings section. They presently sit at 77th and 78th out of 90 shows. Not a massive improvement, but nonetheless, improvement.

Fox’s Plans (Or Agenda)

I have to wonder if Fox ever “strapped on a pair” and moved Dollhouse and/or The Sarah Connor Chronicles to another night, just how much better it might do?

Well whoever has it out for these two sci-fi based dramas over at Fox would never do that. Plain and simple – as evidenced with how they’ve handled these shows to date.

The bottom line is that Fox will be announcing their new schedule on May 18th and all will be made clear by then, if not earlier. Me, I’m hoping I “guilt” them into renewing both shows.

As if I have to ask, but I’d love to hear your conjectures on the issue of one or both of these shows? DO my ideas spark a different thought for you, or are you pretty sure things are what they are?

Sources: WikiPedia, EW, USA Today, io9, Sci-Fi Wire

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  1. Well 790, the Friday move wasn’t really intended to help, not THAT show at least, it was meant to help the other shows on monday.

    But yah, hopefully they make some comments about what would have come up in the next season. That would be nice. Sometimes even if I’m not 100% behind a show or movie I am still curious to know what was supposed to happen afterward. But the last few episodes of TSCC were pretty good to watch, but like I’ve said, it wasn’t sustainable. The only reason why it was cool for me was because of the shock value of them killing off one major character after the other. But at that rate, there wouldn’t be anyone left to kill off after a few episodes and the possibility of that same shock value would disappear…

    But that would be interesting, a future without John Connor. But wouldn’t that technically mean Skynet have won? They are always trying to get rid of John Connor, by him being taken out of the timeline by that T1000, it’s basically mission accomplished for Skynet?

  2. I’m a huge fan of both shows, and will be bummed if either or both are cancelled. I think Dollhouse has the best chance at renewal, since FOX owns it, and has Eliza Dushku under contract. Plus, if the programmers take note, Joss’ shows develop over time, and get better as they go (Seasons 6 & 7 of Buffy possibly excepted).

    On the hopeful side, nobody thought Sarah Connor would get a season 2, and it did. So maybe lightning will strike twice? And with a few Dollhouse episodes to go, maybe the positive reviews of recent episodes will give it a boost. Crossing fingers.

  3. As always it is about money, and DVR’s don’t mean squat because in many cases the commercials are screened out. Let’s face it beyond it’s core fanbase. The “TSCC” is a dog. Where we see potential a non fanbase viewer sees boredom. The reason X-Files worked was not because of Sci-Fi fans, the general public also enjoyed the show (at least until the last season.)

    I say gird up your loins boys and girls and prepare for the worst from Fox. But Chin up, we still have Caprica which is awesome and a new Stargate to roll the dice on. The criitcal success of “BSG” means that in the world of TV programing we have at least a couple of seasons of networks attempting to do science fiction. The reboot of the Trek franchise won’t hurt either.

  4. Not necessarily Ken, as I don’t think the T-1000 was trying to kill Connor. I’m not sure if it even it knew the entire Connor back story.
    As it was struggling to find out the truth about Connor when this all went down,,,(forward in time)

    I think the story works if Connor temporarily trusts the T-1000.
    It seemed that even if Connor wasn’t a brand name in the alternate future he transported to, he was at least met by people that were his family. You could see in there eyes that they somehow knew Connor.

    He could teach them the origins of Skynet, who knows they might not have any idea how the war started.

    The alternate story could easily go off on numerous angles and at the end of the season he could time travel back to when he left. No damage done to the present but somewhere an alternate Terminator reality could benefit from his time there,,,,

  5. What are you talking bout docktorwu, all 9 seasons of X-Files were quality tv!!!

    The 9th season was amazing and every episode wrapped up a X-Files story arc.

    Did you watch the show ???

  6. 790, I wasn’t saying it was the T1000′s intention to get “rid” of Connor, I’m saying that by her taking him to the future, isn’t a side-effect of that action in essence giving Skynet what they wanted to do all along?

  7. You know, the one thing that kept bugging me about TSCC was how they handled the whole only living tissue through the time portal rule. I assume the T1000 is able to go through because they can manipulate their outer surface to mimmick living tissue for the moment of time travel. Now, they only have to mimmick it, not LOOK like it, so why was the T1000 in this show “naked” when she went through? I understand why they did it in the original T2 movie, first of all, they didn’t want to give it away to the audience that he was different from the regular one, and it never “sampled” clothing yet at that point since they have to sample something to mimmick it. But she has already and her “clothes” are really just mimmicked, not real clothes so technically she could have emerged from the time travel with the same white outfit she was “wearing” before.

    Also, not to mention, in the very beginning of the series, how did cromarte’s skull travel through the time portal?? I never understood that…

  8. I’ve said it before, Fox seem to employ a bunch of total numbskulls when it comes to some of these great sci-fi shows which they start and then give up on. If they can’t get their heads around the genre and how to market it then why bother at all? I keep reading comments from people who say they won’t bother with shows of this type on Fox anymore because Fox keep cancelling them just as they get good.

    I know what they mean: I can’t tell you how annoyed I was about Firefly, and as much as I liked the movie Serenity I felt that Joss was trying to wrap up about four or five seasons worth of plotlines and mainly what that movie did for me was to prove to me once again that cancelling the show was a big, big mistake.

    As for TSCC, I can hardly praise it highly enough. For me it’s up there with Battlestar Galactica as one of the defining science-fiction TV shows which have finally put put Sci-Fi television, after all these years, on a par with Sci-Fi literature. It’s wonderful, intelligent, character-driven drama despite, amazingly, being based on a franchise which is essentially a series of chase movies.
    Not to detract from the Terminator franchise – I mean, how can anybody go wrong with the Terminator franchise? In the year of Terminator: Salvation it almost beggers belief that Fox cannot do anything with the Terminator TV series.

    As for Dollhouse, I have to confess I would give it up for a continuation of TSCC, and I still don’t like it as much as Firefly, but as the plot develops it just seems to get better and cleverer and I think it has the makings of a very good show. And it’s got Eliza, Dichen, Olivia (oh, my!) and Tahmoh too. (Now I am as straight as they come, but what’s not to like about Tahmoh? This show has eye-candy in droves. :) But enough of that, Dollhouse seems to be developing an interesting story-arc: seemingly to some peoples’ surprise, I know, but that seems to reflect a persistant kind of ignorance which affects some reviewers, but more notably a number of Fox exectutives, who don’t seem to realize that intelligent plotlines need time to play out.

    I don’t know about anoyone else but I am still hoping beyond all hope that somehow TSCC will come back for at least one more season, preferably two because I think it deserves at least as much time as BSG to polay out, and if it does not I will find myself rather ill-disposed towards Fox – even more so than I am already if that is possible.

    I don’t watch a lot of TV : mostly I have better things to do with my time, so it upsets me greatly to have the shows that I do like to watch destroyed by clueless, tasteless, network executives.


  9. Yeah things aren’t looking too good for these shows. But at least they gave these shows more of a chance than they did the show “Drive”. That had what, two episodes and was never to be seen again. They even said it was coming back with a few shows to end the story, but never did air it either.

  10. Well yeah true Ken, I didn’t understand him going ahead in time just to save a chip for a battle damaged Cameron.

    The show isn’t perfect by any means, but entertaining…

    I think the options for anything goes at this point is why so many want the show to continue…

  11. i think that fox killed terminator the sarah connor chronicles by putting it on fridays. its only fox fault. it will be there loss if there is no third season

  12. I believe the latest stats showed TSCC delayed viewing increased by as much as 48%, significantly more than Dollhouse. This Friday’s Prison Break debut got much lower ratings than average TSCC and Dollhouse episodes, so it definitely isn’t the shows that are causing low ratings. PB has had 2 seasons more than TSCC to establish a large fanbase and even they can’t make it on a Friday.

  13. I love watching both of these shows, however due to the inconvenient Friday night timeslot, my husband and I usually watch them on Hulu the following day. We watch most of our programming on Hulu (through PlayOn on our PS3). Does the Nielson system have any way of accounting for people who view programs online or through purchases on Amazon or iTunes? I know we are not the only people who don’t really watch traditional television anymore.

    And on a seperate note, I can’t believe that Joss went back to Fox after Firefly. It’s like an abused wife going back to her husband ’cause he promises this time things will be different!

  14. I haven’t watched Dollhouse yet, but I’m planning to. About T:TSCC – that’s a marvelous show and I’m so sorry to read all the articles about its poor ratings. Why they are so poor when the show is so good is beyond me.

    What I’d like to express loud cry about is the commercial I saw for Friday Sci-fi Night on Fox – a black and white commercial with a 50′s tune talking about sexy ladies of sci-fi. Am I the only one to think that commercial was THE LAMEST I’ve ever seen?!? A series about the future is advertised with the past?!?
    I think Fox are the ones to blaim for the poor raitings.

    Well, that, and the writers of course. They wasted a huge ammount of potential trying to make the story go much slower than it’s supposed to. If they just accelerated the pace a little, the show might gain back on audience. Well, they won’t have that chance now, would they?!
    I hope Fox grants them a couple of episodes to finish their story as properly as possible or gives the show a 3rd season with completely different writers and time slot.

  15. “And on a seperate note, I can’t believe that Joss went back to Fox after Firefly. It’s like an abused wife going back to her husband ’cause he promises this time things will be different!”

    @ Sarah
    That’s exactly what I’m saying.I’ve mentioned it before and I really don’t know why Whedon would give Fox the benefit of the doubt that they would treat him well,when they didn’t before.


  17. When I saw GUNSMITH as the latest commenter on this article I was like “OH NO’S HERE COMES THE SCREAMING CAPS LOCK OF DEATH!!!”

  18. The Sara Chronicle Files is the BEST show to launch in several years. We are “boomers” and love 24, and Dexter, and Sarah—-there IS a demographic there. . . .if you cancel this wonderful show, you are just MISSING IT. I am a professor at the University of Georgia, College of Journalism & Mass Communication, and a faculty judge of the Peabody Awards for 20 of my last 25 years here. Truly. And I LOVE this show, and I am NOT ALONE. Please reconsider cancelling it?

    Also, the final episode was never seen in much of the southeastern US (including my community) due to tornadic weather. We were all sick with disappointment! How can we,please, view the finale? Will you show it again? Can we purchase it? We really don’t want to miss it, and we were prevented from seeing it!!!!

    Okay—my name is Ruthann Lariscy, PhD, Full Professor, University of Georgia, Grady College of Mass Comm. Please–reconsider killing the SCC—it is one of 4 shows I will never miss!!!

  19. I’m pretty sure they are already axed it, which is a shame.

  20. Speaking of Dexter, when is season 3 coming out on DVD? I don’t have Showtime so I wait for the seasons to come out, I buy them and watch them in order, lol.

  21. Please renew Sarah Connor! There is a huge, “silent majority” audience out here–I promise. We share elements of X files, lots of sci fi—-PLEASE reconsider????? Thank you! Ruthann Lariscy

  22. Ken, no date has been set yet for Dexter DVD’s or Blu-rays.

  23. Just cause that guy said that the sets for tscc were struck doesn’t mean that it’s canceled…do they really need those set for the next season if it changes as radicaly and I think it will??? John Henery isn’t tied to the basement any more, connors have moved (in time and space) and I’m pritty sure the new future will have a command centre or something we haven’t seen yet…just thoughts

  24. We’ll see mad hatter. I wouldn’t mind seeing how the show will continue. I haven’t completely lost interest in it like I have others shows like Flashpoint or whatever…

  25. Didn’t expect for TXF to be brought up, but since it was, i gotta say that for the firs few seasons TXF was on fridays. By the second season the show’s audience grew much stronger and larger. But that’s likely for various reasons, there was nothing like it on tv, Fox decided to give it a chance, and it worked! Now wtf happened in between then and now that they’re not willing to let these shows breath? I think they’re so caught with themselves with the AI jagurnaut. 3 nights a week? are you kidding? They’re taking viable slots away from these shows.

    P.S. Wonderfalls was a hell of a show.

  26. I love TSCC. It’s interesting and it’s Sci-fi. I have no idea why people don’t get it. The story runs deep, it’s complex and it has a mass of great actors. I will be so disappointed if it’s canceled. And another thing I just don’t get. Why are all the series e.g. Greys anatomy- which in my personal opinion sucks- were everyone sleeps with everyone so successful? Why do people fall for a gooey mess like that?

  27. If T:TSCC dies on FOX this year, it will really be the beginning of the end for scripted TV. We’ll be getting more garbage like Idol and Dancing. Even Chuck is on the hook right now and that is a wonderful show. I think the networks are getting cheaper and cheaper because they realize that the reality shows are money makers and don’t cost them much to make. I bet if FOX put TTSCC on Sunday nights with The Simpsons and Family Guy the ratings would be huge. Make Friday nights a national sports night. Baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter. LOTS of people go out on Friday nights and usually in bars there are games on. But then, what do I know?

  28. What really sucks is I actually was a big supported of TSCC I was an avid watcher and constantly defended it by the last two episodes made me dislike it. I lost all interest and find my self actually partially wanting the show to be canceled. It ended with an epic fail.

  29. I started watching TSCC on Hulu a couple weeks ago and I gotta say…It blows! (with the exception of ‘Self Made Man’)
    I’ve watched every one.

    Except for Summer who could power a small city with just her looks, it’s bad for a number of reasons namely,

    1. What’s with always getting little boys who look like they belong on the cover of ‘Twink’ to play John Connor, the LEADER of the human resistance?! Are there no bad ass punks out there that don’t require lipstick and eyeliner to play the part?

    2. As beautiful as Lena Headey is why does she always walk around looking like she wants to tell you the worst news ever and then just bites her tongue at the last minute and walks away.

    3. Shirley Manson. Even in her 40′s now she’s amazing. I would have liked to seen more of her and less of Lena Headey. (who, incidentally can’t sing the pants right off of me!)

    docktorwu was right, the writers and producers killed this one.

    (Summer, if you read this, you look absolutely amazing on my cell phone!)