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March 31 2009

Dollhouse continues with strong DVR numbers for "True Believer". The demo (again) jumps over the 2.1-mark, with total DVR viewership (again) being over 1.5 million.

Maybe it's naive for me to hope like this, but provided that Dollhouse general ratings don't drop any more and the DVR numbers continue to stay strong, isn't it possible to see a potential Dollhouse second season given that they could make some alterations to the way the show is presented? For example, they could add more commercials to make it more like a regular TV broadcast. If Fox is as committed to the success of the show as is reported, I'd say it still has a good chance.
This is ridiculous, because it clearly shows the 18-49 viewers are rebelling against the Friday night deathslot.
Renewal is a longshot. It would have to bounce back this friday for sure. If it bleeds any more viewers it's a goner.
It's up! It's down! It's the Dollhouse numbers game. Don't know about you guys, but this ride sure competes with anything at Six Flags!

You know, I just don't know WHAT to think anymore. I mean, I'll keep watching online but basically as an O/S viewer I basically count for diddly squat anyway, so guess I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride...
This really means nothing. See, the problem is, if you Tivo or DVR DH you are cutting out the commercials, which is what the show needs to have you see to make money. I think the message the suits will take from this is, we can make money from the DVD sales. Let's get this season done and then market the DVD sales.
I can't watch Dollhouse yet (UK viewer) but if the show is anyway as dramatic as the ratings then I'm in.

Can we have a DVD commentary track that talks about the ratings for each episode?

Whedonesque Commentator: "It was during this coming up commercial break that we lost 0.2 of the demographic, we think that was something to do with everyone playing a bit of XBOX in the commercial and then turning back on too late, because in 3 minutes they all come back in"
Fox Exec: "Yeah we didn really care about figures, it's all in a dice toss."
So we have for consecutive ratings total numbers for anyone who cares for them (Live+SD, DVR, Total, Live+SD 18-49, Total 18-49) rounded to the nearest 0.0x

Ep 1 - Ghost: 4.76m, 1.6m, 5.8m, 2.0, 2.6
Ep 2 - Target: 4.25m, 1.46m, 5.25m, 1.67, 2.21
Ep 3 - Stage Fright: 4.18m, 1.7m, 5.28m, 1.61, 2.19
Ep 4 - Gray Hour: 3.57m, 1.61m , 4.63m , 1.5, 2.11
Ep 5 - True Believer: 4.26m, 1.52m, 5.2m, 1.6, 2.14
Ep 6 - Man on the Street : 4.1m, xxxx,xxxx, 1.5, xx
Ep 7 - Echoes : 3.87m, xxxx, xxxx, 1.3, xx


live+SD = live viewing plus same day DVR viewing = overnights ratings
DVR = total number of DVR viewers within 7 days
Total = live viewers plus 7 days of DVR viewing

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2009-03-31 14:19 ]

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2009-03-31 14:28 ]
Fox Exec: "Yeah we didn really care about figures, it's all in a dice toss." ...

So the question is, can 'Dollhouse' roll the hard 6 ?

(and the answer's totally up in the air, no-matter how many figures we're given)

This really means nothing. See, the problem is, if you Tivo or DVR DH you are cutting out the commercials...

That is actually (surprisingly to me) not as true as you might think. The C3 numbers - which reflect the adverts actually watched - have apparently been quite good for 'Dollhouse' (or at least better than the standard "not much more than/the same as the Live+SD numbers").

Some seem to think it's because the "remote-free" advert breaks mean it's not worthwhile skipping (some data indicates that even when people fast-forward/skip they tend to watch the last commercial of a break so that they don't miss the segue back into the show and have to faff about jumping back - with only 2 commercials it's presumably less worth skipping).

So Dollhouse's DVR numbers while still not worth as much as Live numbers may be worth more than other shows' DVR numbers.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-31 14:16 ]
Ivalaine, where have you got the Total numbers from, and what do they mean? I would have thought that the total would just be the Live plus the DVR numbers, but they don't seem to add up.
Updated to reflect the nature of the numbers. Basically we have live plus same day DVR viewing lumped in together in the overnights ratings. then there is total DVR viewers, then total live +7 day viewing

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2009-03-31 14:23 ]

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2009-03-31 14:28 ]
So those totals are "Live+7" effectively (i.e. the end of week total including all measured DVR ratings) ?


ETA: Yep, as per Ivalaine's simultaneous edit ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-31 14:24 ]
I agree that these high DVR numbers show that the show would be doing much better on a different day.
Yeah but on another day the total would presumably need to be higher to satisfy Fox since another day wouldn't get the leeway the "Friday death slot" has and would presumably be up against stiffer competition.

so by my maths and the tv by the numbers figures. we are back to the total viewing now of the premiere for ep 5.

True, but the Live numbers (which surely carry more weight with the network, healthy C3 or not) have dropped significantly (or the SD numbers have). And Ep 6 was the episode that was "bigged up" by everyone, early ratings for "Echoes" suggest that a fair few people have watched MotS and thought "OK, if that's the great episode where it starts to work I think i'll stop watching now" (that's true even of some Whedon fans on here).
Thanks Ivalaine, that's clear now. That means that a large number (roughly a third) of people who DVR watch it the same day.
Agreed, Saje, that these kinds of numbers would be certain death on another night. I definitely wasn't suggesting that. But, I have to imagine that just being on a night when more people watch TV would improve the numbers, too. How much, is an open question. (There's always a counter-factual-assumptions quality to these discussions; being on a better night would give it better numbers, but how much better?)
Well, if Dollhouse is cancelled, at least I'll have learnt all about the Nielsen ratings system in the US.
Not sure of the best place to put this, but it's probably of interest to some folks here.

The DirectTV deal must be going well for Friday Night Lights -- it was just renewed, for two 13 episode seasons.
... being on a better night would give it better numbers, but how much better?

Yeah exactly Septimus, it may do better (and I think that's still arguable - giving people the choice of e.g. 'Supernanny' or 'Friday Night Lights' or 'Dollhouse' is very different to, for instance, giving people the choice of 'Dollhouse' or 'Grey's Anatomy' OR 'basketball' OR 'The Office/'30 Rock' OR 'Supernatural') but would it be better enough ?
Woah, FNL got renewed, for two seasons no less! That's awesome, and entirely unexpected.

Fox, unfortunately, is probably not as desperate as NBC...

But Saje, then it would ahve a better lead-in like American idol! (We can play the hypotheticals all day!)
True enough. Hey, it's been improving on its lead-in so far, put it at 9 on Thursdays and I reckon 25 million is virtually in the bag ;-).


ETA: And yep, NBC seem in trouble. I've pretty much already said goodbye to my beloved 'Life'.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-31 16:01 ]
Even with the American Idol lead-in on a Thursday I just can't see Dollhouse being able to compete wih the likes of Supernatural, Grey's, CSI and the like. I'll be honest, if I lived in the US and had that choice, I'd be watching Supernatural that night and I can't imagine that I'm the only Whedon fan that would be tempted away from Dollhouse with so much competition on offer. I'd say that Dollhouse would already be off the air if it had been given that slot to survive in.

Nope, the Friday night slot seems to be to be both the blessing and the curse that the show needed. Or not, in the case of the curse, I suppose. Whether it leads to a second season or not is anyone's guess, although I wouldn't like to be betting my house on that happening.

Saje, you won't be he only one sad to see 'Life' go. It's been NBC's best show this last two seasons. Although we could always hope that they decide to cut their losses with the truly awful mess that 'Heroes' has become and give 'Life' another season to prove itself. I know which of the two really deserves to continue.
I think 'Life' is a brilliant show. Although the numbers are far from being spectacular this season, I'm really hoping against hope that NBC will renew the show once more.

Good to see that the DVR numbers for Dollhouse are holding steady.
I wonder if this is the sort of pattern that catches the interest of network programmers (totally aside from whether it has an effect on Dollhouse's survival):

The top 4 DVR % increase shows in the demo this week -- all of which have been pretty consistantly in the the top 4 or 5 for weeks now -- are "genre" scifi/supernatural* shows that are somewhat arc-heavy: DH, TSCC, Heroes, Supernatural (with similarly scifi/arc-ish Chuck bopping one side or the other of that top 5 line week to week). These shows are on three different networks, have survived different numbers of seasons with different popularity/pop culture ups and downs of fortune, but on this chart, their similarity as genre arc shows pops out.

I would think programmers would look at this and say "hmmm, looks like there is a sorta-model of a type of show that does particularly well with DVR viewing (and, I suspect, by extension, equally well on Hulu or iTunes), surely there is a way to make money off of this as viewing habits change." Just as you would expect the 18-49 demo to be the leader in moving to alternative ways of watching TV (i.e. beyond standard DVR to Hulu,iTunes), it is reasonable to hypothesize that those with an interest in scifi/technology-based shows would be the earliest-adopters within the demo.

Programmers are obviously still, overall, scrambling to figure out how to (literally and figuratively) account for all these new ways of watching shows, as has been discussed ad infinitum, so it is clearly likely too early in the evolution of new viewing modes to have much effect on Dollhouse's fate....UNLESS some bright-eyed programmers who were trying to figure out how to make a profit off of this particular scifi/arc-ish niche pattern in DVR viewing were able to convince the PTB that it might make sense to use an existing show (a show created by a guy who is widely acknowledged for his talent, his fanbase, AND his recent success with an experiment in non-traditional show distribution with Dr. Horrible) as a guinea pig/loss leader/workbench to try to figure out how to profit off of this trend in viewing. Oh, well, can dream.

*endnote: I lump "Supernatural"'s brand of, um, the supernatural, in with the more sci-fi arc shows mostly because it seems to share more of a geneaology (via Buffy) with the X-files than with the supernatural of, say, Medium or the Ghost Whisperer, which, I guess descend more from the "touched by an angel" (via "charmed") school of melodrama. Of course, I suppose I could alternately trace the geneaology of Supernatural and Heroes from the boyfriends-of-Rory-on-Gilmore-Girls school of evolutionary thought, but I think there's been enough recent interest in the identity of mitochondrial Eve without getting poor Alexis Bledel involved.
That's interesting, comparing Supernatural and Dollhouse. I gave up on Supernatural somewhere in the first season - probably about where we are with Dollhouse right now. I understand that it has gotten better, but in terms of visible potential at the same point in their runs, I feel like Dollhouse wins hands down (though I'm probably giving it some credit in the "potential" department for being a Joss show).
I wonder how may people are like me? You can move a show wherever the heck you want... I'll never watch it live, because I don't have an antenna hooked up for OTA, and I don't have cable. I will only ever watch things on Hulu or iTunes, or for long cancelled shows, via NetFlix. I actually GOT limited cable just for the sake of BSG season 2, but cancelled it as soon as iTunes started showing the episodes.

Now that BSG is gone, I only watch House and Dollhouse, and both are Huluable for free. I don't mind being a week behind, even for things like the BSG finale.
what jclemens said, near verbatim applies to me.
I love Dollhouse and all, but if I had to choose between Dollhouse and Supernatural?

I can't say this is what I would do 100% but I'm like 80% sure that I'd go for Supernatural live and like watch Dollhouse later.

Just I very much heart SPN and I've been watching it forever and I just yeah. *Shrugs*

I'd say if anyone comes close Joss and his people it's Kripke and his people (Sera Gamble, Oh how I love her. And seriously Ben Edlund is there too, and he did Smile Time and was on Firefly, too. Plus he's had some of the best SPN ep's. :D)

[ edited by druzilla on 2009-03-31 17:45 ]
I really don't see the importance of the DVRs viewed as a %. Dollhouse increased it's demo rating by an impressive percentage but that has more to do with how poor the original demo was. I just don't get the rationale for looking at the data this way.
jclemens is my tv twin.
The % is used for marketing spin, as far as I can tell, helcat. The final number is important however.
Yeah, the % increase is irrelevant except for marketing. Several weeksa go when T:SCC was pullign it's lowest ratings, it's % increase was fairly large. But indeed that was only because it's starting point was so dismally small.
Ugh Supernatural. I gave up on that show in the third season, it just got really bad. So I would more then willingly follow Dollhouse to a Thursday night if they decided to move it.

I sort of hope this is a good sign, but I'm still thinking that Dollhouse will not be renewed for the next season, even though the DVR numbers are up.
I adore Supernatural and am so glad that it is coming back next year. Or did it get another two year pick up? Kring, Gamble, and Edlund know their audience and they deliver fabulously.
The finals are in for Dollhouse on Friday, it increased it's demo to 1.4 (from 1.3). However it got beat in overall viewers by Terminator.

Supernatural is silly fun boy porn.
"Supernatural is silly fun boy porn."

Please don't ever let it change! My Thursday is always better if I can watch those two very pretty boys fight monsters.
I remember doubleshiny saying you could be her sister. She's not wrong.
I adore Supernatural and am so glad that it is coming back next year. Or did it get another two year pick up? Kring, Gamble, and Edlund know their audience and they deliver fabulously.


Unfortunately, Mr. Kripke has stated that the show will end after its fifth season. And while I'm glad he's not planning on dragging out the show longer than it needs, I'll miss the boys for sure.

Does it seem like these days we spend more time discussing ratings and demographics than things like the show's themes and the meanings behind them? I wasn't around back when the other shows were still on (and thus can't say if this is normal behavior), but it feels like recently that we're so busy worrying that we can't discuss the major points the show is trying to make. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that way sometimes.
deepgirl187, it seems that people try to keep the ratings discussions in the ratings threads and the show discussions in the massively long show discussion threads. I'm a big fan of keeping them separate. :)
I know that there are separate threads for both subjects, TamaraC, I guess my point was that even when we're discussing the show itself, our worries about its continued existence still seem to predominate. I have to wonder, is talking about Dollhouse still fun, or are we too preoccupied with technical stuff?
Awesome news about FNL! Such a pleasant surprise. I did read about the possibility of a two(!) season renewal before on the .org, but I didn't really dare to get my hopes up.
Yeah, Friday Night Lights might be the best show on the air right now, so this is great news. It also means that I won't feel bad anymore if Dollhouse gets better ratings than FNL on the same night(and hopefully gets renewed as well).
I was just flipping through the channels the other day and I landed on The Biggest Loser or some other reality show where people have to lose weight to win prizes and gain self esteem. The show had old school advertisements right in the show. They would do a quick segue and all of a sudden, the teams leader was talking about how great a sandwich baggie from Ziploc worked. You can't skip a commercial if its buried in the middle of the show. I'm like some of the posters above, I rarely watch shows in realtime so I understand their motivation. Lame but acceptable.

Now for an official fanboy moment...How about Dollhouse and Veronic Mars combine to create a season 2 and season 4 of BOTH shows. How great would that be? Intertwine the storylines and you've potentially gained a huge viewership! And you know it turns out that Weevil is totally a Doll!!! Or even better, let them re-shoot the season finale and make one of the VM characters Alpha. Talk about never been done before...
Is there any way to change a user name on this site? I think I should change mine to "threadkiller."
I think discussion of any genre show today is going to focus a lot on ratings and the chances of survival for that show. It is the nature of the beast. I expect that we will placing odds on how long shows will last as soon as they are announced at May upfronts. I enjoy the speculation and find it all fascinating (even if it is also often heartbreaking). It doesn't take away from my enjoyment of TV or any particular show at all. I am very interested in the business side of television. And shows living and dying by the ratings and changing business models and revenue streams is a topic I, obviously, love discussing. YMMV

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