Is it possible that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles could be cancelled before the season even ends? Sure, it’s possible, but it doesn’t seem likely, despite continued deteriorating ratings. But, what FOX does or doesn’t do with the 8pm slot on Fridays may say more to how it feels about Dollhouse, than how it feels about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
We already know how FOX feels about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Sucky. The question is, does it feel just plain awful about it? My guess is no. Even with the latest ratings decline which included getting beat by an hour of Howie Do It (one original episode, one repeat), I’m thinking FOX lets it finish out its run.
That thinking is predicated on speculation which I merely think is true, rather than anything I know for certain is true. But I speculate that Warner Brother a.) made the show available to FOX very cheaply and b.) that when Terminator: Salvation comes out there will be a HUGE marketing spend promoting the movie, and that FOX will get a preferential share of the television advertising dollars allocated to promote the movie.
Speaking of the movie, now even James Hibberd likely motivated by crazed Terminator fanboys on the Internet throws out (and simultaneously, smacks down) the notion of well what if the movie is a hit in the summer and rubs off on the TV show. That’s not happening!
Commitment to a two hour, big screen, action packed movie is very different than a television show. But moreover, even if it’s the blockbuster hit of the summer (and I’ll certainly go see it!), and even if it does create a Terminator frenzy that causes more people to check out the TV show, they’ll check it out and think, “That’s not anything like the movie, see ya!”
If it was one hour of pure Sarah and Cameron being badass chicks with stuff constantly blowing up? It would do better, for sure. But that approach would do better regardless of there being a movie. That isn’t the show they are making. They’ve moved further and further away from that sort of thing (although it looks like they might be moving back towards more action) and it’s not clear to me that Josh Friedman wants to make that kind of show.
It seems, Friedman is much more interested in exploring how people react and adapt to what’s going on around them. I find that aspect similar to Battlestar Galactica, but that’s easier to get away with on cable and it’s not like BSG’s ratings are catching fire, although with only 3 episodes left now, that doesn’t matter.
But Battlestar Galactica doesn’t have anybody whining about how its lead-in is tanking BSG’s ratings which is semi-remarkable as its current lead-in is Moonlight. SciFi Friday nights right now has Moonlight sandwiched in-between reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica.
But TSCC is facing pressure, at least from fans of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Dollhouse fans are starting to get exasperated over the TSCC lead-in and wondering if FOX could do anything else. I’m not sure there’s anything FOX could put on at 8pm that would measurably change how it’s going for Dollhouse, but it seems a slam dunk that FOX could improve the night’s performance overall at least a bit, simply by replacing TSCC with House reruns.
There’s absolutely no way Dollhouse doesn’t get to air all 13 episodes (they’ve already been shot!), and I don’t see FOX pulling the plug on TSCC. But if it does, that to me says much more about how FOX feels about Dollhouse. If it improved Dollhouse’s lead-in that would suggest that FOX cares more about Dollhouse than whatever deal it has with Warner Brothers that has kept TSCC on the air as long as it already has. I don’t see that happening, but if it did I’d view it as a sign that FOX isn’t completely in the space of “once all 13 episodes have aired, it’s done.”
Despite all the sales chatter, that’s pretty much the conclusion we came to as soon as it was announced that Dollhouse and TSCC were going to be on Friday nights, where shows go to die. We speculated then, as now, that these shows were being sent there to die! But we figured they’d get to air all their episodes. I still do figure that. I haven’t talked to Bill since Friday night’s numbers came out, but I imagine he’s in the same place. I don’t see them pulling the plug on TSCC to benefit Dollhouse mostly because I don’t think it winds up being any real benefit to Dollhouse.
But if FOX does pull the plug on TSCC, I will definitely adjust my mindset to think that perhaps all the sales chatter wasn’t just, sales chatter.