Shocker: 'Dollhouse' Reportedly Renewed

Eliza Dushku Looking Hot

UPDATE: Both THR‘s James Hibberd and Nikki Finke are reporting that Fox has, in fact, renewed Dollhouse for a second season of 13 episodes. Since Nikki got the Chuck, Law and Order renewal news wrong 10 days ago, we’ll remind you that nothing’s official until Fox says so. But things, for once, look good for Dollhouse.

The LA Times points out that a Dollhouse renewal means Fox will have given second seasons to all of its new dramas: Fringe, Lie to Me and Dollhouse. A great track record. Also, EW‘s Michael Ausiello says Joss Whedon had to agree to a drastically reduced budget.

EARLIER: Ratings, schmatings! Fox is leaning toward bringing back the ratings-challenged Dollhouse next fall, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter‘s James Hibberd.

We won’t know Fox’s official fall schedule until Monday, but a Dollhouse renewal would be shocking given its dire ratings. It finished the season with only a million viewers in the coveted 18-49 year-old demographic, and its season average was only 1.5 million. We, and others including creator Joss Whedon, had presumed the show was dead.

It has fairly good DVR numbers, and it’s widely streamed online, but the ratings experts at TV by the Numbers have explained that those factors weren’t enough to save it. (TVbtN hasn’t yet weighed in, but we’re curious to read what they think about this.) But Hibberd offers several other reasons why Dollhouse might not be foreclosed:

It’s a sci-fi show, which tend to bring in nice ancillary revenue such as DVD sales for sister-company studio 20th TV. And it’s said that Fox execs rather like the series, especially the latter half of the season. Besides, a show airing in the fall on Fox is a bit like running in midseason on most networks — it’s not their strongest part of the year…Maybe Fox executives are just sick of being vilified on Maybe Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who wisely renewed “The Office” at NBC after a disastrous first season, knows something we don’t.

Or maybe new Fox TV head, Peter Rice, who backed unconventional fare for years as the head of Fox Searchlight, is behind the decision.

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