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Joss Whedon's 'Dollhouse' dumped onto Friday nights

November 6, 2008 |  5:37 pm

When Fox President of Entertainment Kevin Reilly first heard Joss Whedon's pitch for "Dollhouse," his new show, he was so taken that he later described it to an L.A. Times reporter this way:

"He had me at 'hello,' " Reilly said. "I was kinda drunk with the surprise of it all. He laid out the whole concept but I think it was one of those things where I heard every other word of it."

Reilly no longer appears to be in a love-drunk daze about the much-anticipated project, because Fox announced that "Dollhouse" will premiere in one of the worst time slots in all of television--Fridays at 9 p.m., beginning Feb. 13.

The news was posted immediately on Whedoneque, a Joss Whedon fan site, and prompted an outcry. "It's 'Firefly' all over again!" posted one worried fanboy or fangirl. (Whedon's "Firefly" was also given a Friday night graveyard shift in Fall 2002.)

Behind the scenes, "Dollhouse" has had its share of ups and downs in its short life. Whedon shut down production in September for 2 1/2 weeks to rewrite scripts and wound up shooting the pilot again. But Whedon recently mused on his website about how happy he was with the results and that he and the network were finally in a good place about what they both want from the series.

On Thursday, it became obvious that the problems persist. Production on the seventh episode, which is supposed to begin Monday, is being delayed at least a day because the script was in such bad shape, according to a source who requested anonymity. The script for the sixth episode also had big problems, causing production delays that left the cast and crew very frustrated, the source said.

Whedon, who directed the first episode, is hardly seen on set these days, focusing all of his attention to writing. The show stars Eliza Dushku and centers on a group of people who are imprinted with the personalities and abilities they need to carry out specific missions. After they carry out their duties, their memories are wiped clean and they live together like children in Dollhouse, a futuristic dormatory and lab.

"We have yet to gain any momentum," the inside source said. "The network wants to tone things, and Joss is trying to figure out how to give them that and still do the show he wants to do."

Sounds like deja vu for Whedon. The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" creator vowed to never work with Fox again after experiencing creative issues with Fox over "Firefly," his canceled TV show that led to "Serenity," the movie, after success on DVD.

--Maria Elena Fernandez

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this post said that Joss Whedon himself posted the timeslot/premiere news on Whedonesque.

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