So this weekend the chatter on the interwebs is all about the pickups of "bubble" series Castle, Dollhouse, and Chuck (among others). Now a few weeks ago I soapboxed it up with my mini-rant on the outdated process by which "ratings" are calculated, and finally it seems the networks are realizing this as well. Because let's face it most networks would have canceled these 3 shows, especially Dollhouse, based on ratings alone. Luckily someone higher up seems to be looking at the fanbase, potential DVD and online episode sales, merchandising, online viewing revenue (think Hulu.com), etc and not just the Neilsen Ratings.
And it's about Gorram time someone woke up and did just that. Now it's known that both Chuck & Dollhouse were brought back with the stipulation that their budgets would be cut, which makes sense in our economic times. But I'm confident the people behind the shows will find ways to keep the shows just as amazing with less money. In fact Dollhouse has already filmed an unaired 13th episode set in the future on a much smaller budget than they had for the aired episodes. (as for why it had something to do with Fox nixing the original pilot and opting to air just 12 episodes and the DVD commitment being 13 episodes) and by most accounts the episodes is phenominal.
Also most of the series have gotten a smaller episode commitment (thing 13 rather than a full 22) but hopefully some of these shows will do well enough to get a back-9 pickup.
So does this mean more networks will be looking to things other than ratings in the future? It's doubtful, but hopefully this next season can show what happens when you do just that. And hopefully it will work out well for all the series involved. And if it does work out, than maybe we can start putting the Neisen's behind us and find a new way to track just how many people are watching shows and catching those all important ads that fund our favorite series.