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Surprise: Fox RENEWS 'Dollhouse'

Another factor was the show's unaired 13th episode, which Whedon shot on a shoestring budget.. Whedon presented it to the network as an example of how "Dollhouse" can achieve a high-quality production with a lesser budget.

The renewal also means Fox is bringing back all three of its freshman dramas for a second season -- "Fringe," "Lie to Me" and "Dollhouse" -- which is a nice boast in challenging year for broadcasters. 

Along with NBC renewing low-rated "Friday Night Lights," and strongly considering modestly performing "Chuck," and the CW stations considering bringing back very weakly rated "Reaper," there's seeming trend this spring toward networks looking beyond live-viewing ratings when contemplating the fate of shows with passionate fanbases that they can monetize in non-traditional ways.

Last year, in the wake of CBS canceling fan favorites "Jericho" and "Moonlight," the sense was that vocal minorities could no longer sway the suits.

This year, cult TV shows have been like creatures in a George Romero movie; you can never trust that they're dead.


Boots! Props! Horses! It's The Dollhouse Canceled Memorial Slideshow The Dollhouse Renewal Celebration Slideshow. A look back at Eliza Dushku’s hilariously diverse personalities/outfits.