Staging a much-anticipated comeback to television hasn’t been that easy for

TV producer Joss Whedon, creator of longtime cult fave Buffy the Vampire

Slayer. First came the disconcerting news in July that he’ll be creating an

entirely new ­pilot for Dollhouse, his midseason drama for Fox about a

creepy ­organization that strips employees of their personalities and

assigns them new ones. (“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” he told fans at

­Comic-Con in July. “I did some things that weren’t right for the

­network.”) Then, Whedon halted production on Dollhouse last week so he can

write the script for its fourth episode ― one of seven that he’s contractually

obligated to deliver. The shutdown comes amid press reports that Fox isn’t

happy with the drama’s creative direction, which likely demands a lot from

lead actress Eliza Dushku (also a Buffy alum). And after the bow of Fringe

(9.1 million viewers), there’s a growing fear that shows with dense

mythologies may have a hard time succeeding. (Bear in mind that very few of

Fox’s sci-fi ­series from the past decade have lasted beyond one full


­According to multiple sources, Fox remains committed to airing Whedon’s

high-concept series and believes the work stoppage will allow the already-busy producer (he’s working on a horror movie with Buffy alum Drew Goddard) to

fully flesh out his characters. “With months before our broadcast premiere,

we have the rare luxury of extra time,” says a 20th Century Fox TV spokesman

of the show’s planned January debut. “We believe in this show and want to

give it every opportunity to succeed.”


Joss Whedon and the stars of ‘Dollhouse’ at their Comic-Con 2008 panel

Eliza Dushku guest-blogs from last winter’s Sundance