Angels on the Outs
Joss Whedon creator and executive producer of the WB's Buffy the Vampire
Slayer and Angel has a bone to pick with 20th Century Fox, the studio behind
Angel as well as the freshman smash Dark Angel. Fox's decision to pit
Dark's sci-fi siren Jessica Alba against vampire sire David Boreanaz on
Tuesday nights has resulted in a steep ratings decline for the Buffy spinoff, and
Whedon's out for blood.
"The fact that they put [Dark Angel] on opposite a show that they produce,
thereby hurting it, shows that they really don't care," Whedon tells TV Guide Online. "Their
big picture is clearly so big that whatever I think and whatever I am doing doesn't
matter, and I resent that. But I am not the 'Big Picture Guy.' I'm just making my shows."
Marc Berman, TV analyst for Mediaweek, feels Whedon's pain, calling Fox's
scheduling of Dark Angel "one of the less logical moves last fall." In fact, he believes
that both shows are suffering. "Although Dark Angel has carved a comfortable
niche for itself, had Angel not been in the competitive mix, Dark Angel's ratings
might even be stronger. By splitting the young adult audience, Angel is down and
Dark Angel is probably not the real hit it should be."
Despite his frustration, Whedon insists that he has not asked Fox to move Dark Angel
to another night next fall. "I don't deal with that," he says. "I have no control over
that. I am not someone that can say, 'Work your schedule.'
"Ultimately I am not going to ask them to do anything," he adds. "As long as I get to make
my shows, the people who want to watch them will."
Adding another wrinkle to the debate not to mention Whedon's forehead is Alba's
so-called alias. "I watch [Dark Angel], and her name is not 'Angel,' and she's not an
angel, so why the [expletive] would they call it that?" he seethes. A 20th Century rep was
unavailable for comment.
Female foes notwithstanding, Whedon points out that the "basic core [of Angel's
audience] has stayed there." But another menace looms: If 20th Century makes good on its threat
to relocate Buffy to another network (it's currently embroiled in heated renewal talks
with the WB), Angel could lose its cushy lead-in. Whedon isn't alarmed, though. Assures
the auteur: "I believe Angel's audience will [stick with us] wherever Buffy is."