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May 09 2009

Dollhouse Season Finale Ratings. THR has the news on preliminary ratings figures for 'Omega'.

Thanks, The One True b!X for the heads up that this was posted.

Joss Whedon's series was seen by 2.8 million viewers and earned a 1.0 preliminary adults 18-49 rating. That rating could improve in the nationals as the show had a minute of Prison Break overrun, which pulled a slightly lower number -- 3 million viewers, 0.9 rating. But that would mean, at best, matching last week's season low of a 1.1.


The overnights tracker:

Episode 01 - 4.8 million, 2.0 in 18-49 demo.
Episode 02 - 4.3 million, 1.7 in 18-49 demo. 5% share.
Episode 03 - 4.2 million, 1.6 in 18-49 demo. 5% share.
Episode 04 - 3.5 million, 1.5 in 18-49 demo, 5% share.
Episode 05 - 4.3 million, 1.6 in 18-49 demo, 5% share.
Episode 06 - 4.1 million, 1.5 in 18-49 demo, 5% share.
Episode 07 - 3.9 million, 1.3 in 18-49 demo, 4% share. (In the finals it was 1.4 in 18-49 demo).
Episode 08 - 3.5 million, 1.4 in 18-49 demo, 5% share.
Episode 09 - 3.6 million, 1.4 in 18-49 demo, 4% share.
Episode 10 - 3.0 million, 1.2 in 18-49 demo, 4% share.
Episode 11 - 3.1 million, 1.1 in 18-49 demo, 4% share.
Episode 12 - 2.8 million, 1.0 in 18-49 demon (preliminary)

More to come...

So there can be no debate about whether T:SCC was a better intro.
[expletive deleted]
WOW. That's bad. At least Prison Break did worse...?

Honestly, I can't find a silver lining, really. Bleh. I hope FOX blames Prison Break (I'm not saying PB is necessarily responsible, but it's already canceled and it'd be nice if FOX gave DH another chance, even if for the wrong reasons).
[expletive undeleted, rolled around on the tongue for a bit, swallowed, spit back up, and deleted again]
So it's finished exactly 50% down on where it started. Bums.
This is my sad face.
Goodbye, Dollhouse. And poor optimistic Joss. =,(
Up against Star Trek, but whatever.

Only hope now, I think, is if Fox expects people to catch up on DVD as a result of any buzz there might be/have been the past weeks, and these people would then start watching from season 2. :-P
What Rhodey said...
Neilsen households SUCK! They wouldn't know good TV if it was standing next to them sodomizing their goldfish.

Damnit!
On the upside, while there will always be a vocal minority who blame Fox for everything, at least they let things run in the right order this time.

I'm sure there's no redeeming them for Firefly in some fans' eyes, but still: They could have handled things much worse.
If it's any consolation, the Sarah Connor Chronicles finished with around a quarter of its original audience (although it did start to trend upward during its final run).
It will surely get a second season. If Fox can make money out of something, it will make money out of something. What exactly are they going to make in its place?
"On the upside, while there will always be a vocal minority who blame Fox for everything, at least they let things run in the right order this time.

I'm sure there's no redeeming them for Firefly in some fans' eyes, but still: They could have handled things much worse."


Ehhh, whatever. They didn't have to stick it on Fridays after T:SCC which was already in a ratings death spiral. They could have put it after Fringe or even Bones. But no, they stuck it in the death slot. Fox can suck it.
Well, crap. I can't imagine that the final numbers won't come up to at least last week's level. How could anyone watch "Briar Rose" and not come back for "Omega"?

Yeah, some of them were out watching "Star Trek" and had to TiVo it, but still.
8pm on Friday is THE death slot, not 9.
NOW can we have the "mind-blowing screencap" from Epitaph One gossi? :P
Anyway we can find out how Dollhouse does on Hulu??
What exactly are they going to make in its place?

I don't think there's a shortage of "shovel-ready projects" in TV world, as far as I know. Dollhouse doesn't occupy a particularly valuable segment of their airwaves, but if they think something else is a better investment...

What I really don't get is the drastic decline since MotS. I suspect the Friday night effect gets worse as the weather outside improves, but losing a full third of the audience as the show is getting better and better? Ouch.
while there will always be a vocal minority who blame Fox for everything

The proof of the pudding is in the thread. Heads up, people; Friday night notwithstanding, it showed a steady decline over its run. Them's the breaks.
RavenU, it simply is not public information.
How so many people can watch ghost whisperer is a mystery. Move to cable...while there is still time!
The wrongness of this is so large. However, I'm still optimistic. I believe in this show and hope that somebody over at Fox does too.
I blame FOX, it's there fault that Dollhouse's rating never did any good. Poor Dollhouse never even had a chance even before it aired because they gave it the death slot straight away!
Still really want a second season tho :D
I've said it before, and I'll say it again until someone does something about if - FOX has no one to blame but themselves for this show not getting viewers because they didn't frakkin' advertise it.

It really comes down to that. Anyone just casually flipping channels and landing on FOX on any given night is bound to see an ad for Idol, Bones, House, Hell's Kitchen, Fringe or NASCAR, quite possibly one of those each time they flip through, but not once a Dollhouse ad.

If I'm wrong, I'd really like to be proven so.
Yes, Fox did this and that. But if (and what a big if that is) they renew it, they will deserve television sainthood or something. Those ratings are unfortunately awful. I will spend the next week in a happy fantasy land where my favorite tv shows never get canned but I'm pretty sure by May 18th I'll be cured of it because TtSCC and DH are both goners. *saddest face*
So, Echo is less popular than Rock of Love?
I'd think of a Chinese phrase loaded with expletives to say about all this. And so should we.
I also agree Fox took the "amnesia" style of promotion...just as ABC did with Pushing Daisies.
Good thing I am going to a beer tasting later today. I can cool off, and toast to the memory of Echo, Whiskey, Sierra, November, Topher, Paul and even Adelle
Thanks, Echo. May you develop your own imprint, and take over Rossom's job.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2009-05-09 19:41 ]
I'm just out of words. How the numbers can fall for a season finale -- especially after Omega -- is just beyond me.

Give me a miracle, FOX.
How so many people can watch ghost whisperer is a mystery. Move to cable...while there is still time!


I actually like that show :P

But I demand a second season of Dollhouse!
I was glued to my screen, now this is what you call a SEASON finale :D
I'm still waiting to see how Terminator: Salvation does. Then maybe we could have Terminator: The Beginning or Terminator: The John Connor Chronicles.

Dollhouse Season 2. If 20th Century Fox TV doesn't pay for it, can the UK whatever pay for it? Maybe Dollhouse will be a big enough hit in the UK. Some sort of cost sharing?

Also the CW wanted to work with Joss. Does the CW have enough to pay for 20th Century Fox studio to produce it? Little ironic payback to Fox TV for taking Buffy from the WB.
Little ironic payback to Fox TV for taking Buffy from the WB.

Huh?
I have several shows on the air that I enjoy watching, some I even love, but Dollhouse is the only one I feel like I really NEED to watch. Even my love for Lost has faded drastically compared to Dollhouse.
I want to be pessimistic, I really want to, but I can't. But we're so, so very screwed.
@Pretty_Hate_Machine - What? You meant to say "optimistic", right? Because that would make more sense. :)
I've said it before, and I'll say it again until someone does something about if - FOX has no one to blame but themselves for this show not getting viewers because they didn't frakkin' advertise it.

It really comes down to that. Anyone just casually flipping channels and landing on FOX on any given night is bound to see an ad for Idol, Bones, House, Hell's Kitchen, Fringe or NASCAR, quite possibly one of those each time they flip through, but not once a Dollhouse ad.

If I'm wrong, I'd really like to be proven so.


You're wrong, and proven so.
I remember randomly coming across adverts for Dollhouse more than once.
Sorry.
Nope, I guess I wasn't clear. I want to be pessimistic because we're screwed, but I can't because I just want a second season sooo bad right now.
Nah, I get what PHM says, even if he/she didn't mean to. Want to be pessimistic so I won't be disappointed. But some things do look "up" for the show's renewal chances, so I can't be. And yet. :-)
It's called non-inverse-pessimism.


Update: I think I may have just triggered a remote mind-wipe on myself.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2009-05-09 20:23 ]
I saw Star Trek at 12:15 PM so I could watch the Dollhouse finale at 9. Does that make me lame?
We need our own Whedon channel on cable. How can we make that happen? What about a bake sale?

I can knit some Jayne hats...

[ edited by mouse on 2009-05-09 20:53 ]
Grumph. I hope that in this odd new world of media consumption that we live in, that these ratings are tossed out the window when it comes to renewal. I'd like to think that the folks in charge realize that it's not just about the magic box on top of the... magic picture box that only a handful of viewers have.

Other than that, I got nothing. Very... disgruntled, to say the least.
I'd like to think that the folks in charge realize that it's not just about the magic box on top of the... magic picture box that only a handful of viewers have.

Except that it is. Flaws though the system might have, that handful isn't random, it's a statistical representation of television-viewing America.
I confess I saw Star Trek at 8pm last night. I'm not part of a Neilsen family anyways so I figured it'd be best if I streamed today on Hulu or Fox. I must say though, Star Trek was amazingly good! (In case anyone wanted to know).
I can give chair massage to all the volunteers raising money for the Whedon channel. Baking and hat knitting for long hours is hard on the muscles.
Eliza is now, via Twitter, suggesting calling/writing Peter Rice, new chairman of entertainment at FOX Broadcasting.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-05-09 21:14 ]
Etiquette query: In providing contact info for Rice, include, or don't include, the email address for him which is already all over the Internet anyway?
What's that quote TV Guide always uses? "The best show that you aren't watching." I think FOX foiled it once again by not allowing Joss to tell his show in the first five episodes. It just bewilders me.
She's very smart, as Pete is the guy who makes the final call. He's somebody who has a record of both nurturing quality movies and cutting down projects that suck to save money.

I have to say, saying it doesn't look promising is being nice about things. The ratings show a sustained drop off in audience, and part of that has to be down to the show. You'd need balls of steel and/or stupidity to renew the show from a business point of view.
ElizaPatricia [Dushku] tweets: DOLLHOUSE, dig it, get into it, call/write Mr.Rice @FOX.com

Yes I just mentioned that. ;)
b!X,

I thought Fox Broadcasting outbid WB for the rights to air Buffy then WB died. So I thought it would be ironical IF Fox Broadcasting doesn't want to pay for Dollhouse Season 2, the CW could buy the rights to air season 2 of Dollhouse thus working with Joss and hoping for a hit that Fox missed out on. 20th Century Fox studio happy cause they get the DVD money forever! Like Buffy! Like Firefly! Like Angel!

Does the CW have enough money to make a show like Dollhouse?
Buffy went from the WB to UPN. Where's FOX in that equation?
Really, I thought Buffy went to Fox in my area. And Fox got Firefly in the bargin with Joss.
Dollhouse Season 2. If 20th Century Fox TV doesn't pay for it, can the UK whatever pay for it? Maybe Dollhouse will be a big enough hit in the UK. Some sort of cost sharing?

Dollhouse got picked up by a tiny UK cable channel, I can't see them being able to put much money into the show even if it were their best rated show ever.
Random question...

Is the Miracle Laurie on Twitter real? I hope this isn't common knowledge...
@PHM - I see. Carry on. :)

@b!x - This is 2009. That "system" hasn't been a statistical representation of television-viewing America for quite some time now. It isn't just flawed, the damn thing is broken. Let's break it down in a fun and delicious fashion:

A long time ago, there were a few basic flavors of ice cream. Namely, there's Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry. The Nielsen box is like an ice cream vendor stuck in the past. "Those three flavors are all I like, and therefore are the only ones worth counting." Today, there exist shops brimming with at least 31 flavors, sometimes more!

For one, if Nielsen is supposed to represent the typical, TV-viewing America, how come I don't know ANYONE who is a member? Second, in order to qualify, you have to meet a ridiculous, specific and limiting type. You have to be a Husband and Wife family, with something like 2.5 children.

Have you any idea how restricting that is? It's like polling a stadium crowd, but only wanting to hear from the blue-eyed men in the audience who are wearing hats and have office jobs. There are literally millions of Americans who are single parents, or not parents at all. What about them? In the interest of fair democracy, shouldn't they have a say?

Genre television is especially boned in this equation. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that most of that particular fan base falls outside of Nielsen's idea of "typical" America. The work-heavy family with the 2.5 kids may gather around the set to watch Lost, but let's be honest: Lost was a fluke. An anomaly. America tuned in to watch a gripping drama about plane crash survivors stuck on an island, and they were gradually tricked into being hooked into a solid genre offering, full of monsters, ghosts, time-travel and all other manner of sci-fi fantasy.

I submit that if the Nielsen "system" is to continue in any worthwhile, valid fashion, it must be updated for the times we live in, not some out-dated ideal of the American public. Let's start by putting the little boxes in every single television manufactured from here on out, and provide external boxes for everyone else who already has a TV, so the numbers aren't skewed and therefore pointless. We're already there anyway, in that we must obtain a converter box for the switch to digital TV, in order to keep watching.

Additionally, can we please start taking online viewing seriously? There has got to be an accurate way in which to tabulate numbers for Hulu, network site streaming and the like, in the same way one counts hits on a website. I know this is somewhat a factor now, but it's only a small step in the right direction at this point.

In conclusion, the "system" is archaic, imbalanced and ultimately obsolete. While we're at it, how about we make it so that Women can't vote and are without any basic civil rights?

Or, maybe Joss and his like-minded writers and producers should just go over to cable. :)
Buffy went from the WB to UPN. Where's FOX in that equation?
The One True b!X | May 09, 21:39 CET


I have no idea, since UPN was owned by CBS. XD And WB by obviously Warner Bros.
Chrisham2- Well, she's followed by Eliza & Dichen, so I'm assuming she's real.
All three of them are real, yes.

But seriously, my etiquette query: Is it kosher to include the publicly-findable email address for Peter Rice?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-05-09 21:57 ]
Sigh. I'd like to chalk it up to Star Trek, but I know that isn't it. So very disappointing...
For one, if Nielsen is supposed to represent the typical, TV-viewing America, how come I don't know ANYONE who is a member? Second, in order to qualify, you have to meet a ridiculous, specific and limiting type. You have to be a Husband and Wife family, with something like 2.5 children.
That you don't know anyone who is a Nielsen family says nothing about the representative nature of the sample. Plus of course the people who take part are asked not to broadcast the fact so who knows perhaps you have met some but just didn't realise it. I also don't know where you get the notion that only married couples with 2.5 children are included. The sample is designed to create a representative sample of the US television watching public and thus is not limited in such a way.

Let's start by putting the little boxes in every single television manufactured from here on out, and provide external boxes for everyone else who already has a TV, so the numbers aren't skewed and therefore pointless.
I think you might face some privacy issues there. Plus to go beyond a simple measure of TVs tuned to a specific show you need input from the viewers so it can't just be passive monitoring.

can we please start taking online viewing seriously?
As soon as the networks figure out how to make as much money from it as they do from advertising on TV during programmes I'm sure it'll get taken very seriously.
b!X, is the e-mail-address easily found, if so I think it's probably okay. But the fact that you need to ask the question if it's okay or not, says you are unsure of it.
Sorry, I was wrong about that. Buffy went to UPN from WB.

So wouldn't it ironical IF Fox TV network decides not to pay for Dollhouse Season 2, the CW TV network does. Seems like the ratings would be good enough for CW.
I am unsure of it, that's why I was looking for a considered opinion from others. Heh. Since I need to wrap the entire set of contact info in a "be respectful!" admonishment, I don't want to then disrespect what's proper by including something I shouldn't, if I shouldn't.
Anonymous1, they do not have the money to pay for Joss, much less Eliza.
b!X- I don't think it would be inappropriate to post the email address... & I think that most of us are able to remain civilized & respectful. Browbeating a stranger seems like a very poor way to solicit a favor...
Yeah, I get that. I think it's probably okay to post it. Especially since you asked and no one is responding very strongly to it. But I do think that if it's easily found or not is kinda important here.
Because UPN didn't exist in a lot of areas (like where I was in Iowa) Fox did have subsidiary rights to broadcast a few (I think three) UPN shows after they had aired on UPN. In Iowa that meant that they picked up Enterprise, wrestling, and Buffy... and aired them two hours after they aired on UPN.
But regardless, I don't think CW couldn't afford Eliza or Joss, much less both together.

I did email Peter Rice at the catch-all Fox email : ask@fox.com, which was created for public usage.
Dunno how easy it is. I can't remember what search I used, and it's barely two pages of hits, and so seemingly not widly circulated even though findable.
SteppeMerc,

Thanks, that is what I was wondering. CW doesn't have the money. Little cable channel in UK doesn't have the money.

So does that leave out SciFi and every other cable channel too? What about Spike and FX?
lt's a damn that people choose 2 watch a boring ass cop show rather than a quality show that delivers Omega was a landmark finale alpha was one of most creative and ingenuous villains Joss has brought 2 the screen great cast great show keeping my fingers crossed
I saw Star Trek at 12:15 PM so I could watch the Dollhouse finale at 9. Does that make me lame?


No. that makes you like me, and both my legs work just fine!

I've seen Star Trek 3 times so far, and none of them interfered with my seeing "Dollhouse." Alas, though, I am not a Nielsen boxer, so what I do never counts anyway.
I don't think it'd be bad if you'd post the e-mail address. At worst it would be inappropriate, but I'm not well versed in the etiquette of this sort.
Peter Rice's e-mail is not hard to find -- I Googled exactly what I thought the address might be and I found it (probably because I was right). I'm not sure whether or not it should be posted, but it seems that it was circulated around hunting forums after some American Idol/Carrie Underwood incident recently that they weren't happy about.
Posting the email address would send alarm bells off in my head. TV execs aren't fond of their work details being plastered all over fansites and I speak from experience on this matter.
Clearly I was wrong then.
Nebula1400,

You can watch online at http://hulu.com or http://fox.com

and/or purchase episodes on iTunes or http://amazon.com

Let's see is it 2 million an episode? We just need around a million people.
Dear Mr. Rice,

I wanted to thank you and your company for offering the thought-provoking and entertaining "Dollhouse." I also wanted to urge and implore you to greenlight a second season. I'm fully aware that ratings have been disappointing, but I think the show could build an audience with a show of continued corporate support and off-season exposure to DVDs.

The last seven episodes were stunning, and I count them among my favorite archs of any television show to date. I really enjoy being challenged, morally and intellectually; and I feel that, with time, more people like me will find this show and commit themsleves to this extremely satisfying ride.

Thank you again.
Sincerely,
Chris L. Dolan

(I, too, found the address via google, but I'll leave it to more established members than myself to determine the appropriateness of posting it on this site.)

[ edited by QingTing on 2009-05-09 22:51 ]
I'd advise against circulating direct details for FOX execs for this simple reason; look at some of the comments you find on petitions and such. Those are the kind of things which will end up getting emails by a minority of people. I'm talking death threats, that kind of thing.

What people like Pete need to think about is if they can come up with a business case for making Dollhouse profitable again. (The last few episodes can't have been). I'd also be interested to know if they've asked Joss to pitch a 2nd season which takes the show in a different direction. Honestly? I think that first season was too confused. If the show was to come back, it needs a shift in focus. Or just focus.
ut I'll leave it to more established members than myself to determine the appropriateness of posting it on this site.)


If it gets posted here, it will get deleted. I suggest sending a letter to the contact address that Fox has on their site.
ow. i predicted last night on the discussion page that star trek opening was going to take a chunk out of the numbers, but i had no idea it was going to be so severe. unless fox genuinely believes that 1) the week off and 2) the poor lead in of both T:SCC and prison break were major causes of its poor performance, combined with above average dvd sales, i think we all know that we are going to be saying goodbye to the show. at least we got 12 good episodes, the back 6 of which were some of the best network television in several years.
A nicely (handwritten, preferably) snailmail letter will have far more impact that some piece of what could be considered spam. It shows you care enough to take the time to compose your thoughts and not just cut and paste from some fan site.
'Omega' is number three on iTunes' Top Television Episodes at the moment. It's shares the top 10 with some pretty big-numbers shows: House, Bones, Fringe, 24, and it's only beaten by Lost and Grey's Anatomy.

It would be great if we could get the episode to number 1 over the weekend.

I'm buying the episode through iTunes, and I'm sending a polite 'thank you' email to Fox. Probably won't help, but it will at least make me feel like I did something!
Aye, I think gossi's on it with that, yes, we here generally would take the respectful route but there's gonna be others who find & don't. And that sentence made about as much sense as a post-dental-surgery sentence should. :P

However, I think as a non-professionaly person that QingTing's letter's got perhaps the perfect approach: we realistically know what we're asking is a lot, but we also really do think the thing's gonna grow from the quality of the later episodes. Seems there's been some idea that's a thought behind the scenes, and backing that up might be the way to go, right?

Honestly, I like Dollhouse best so far if I look it actually just *as* one big pilot. I don't really want to discuss plot stuff in the ratings thread, but if I think of what could happen *now* as the real meat of the show, that becomes very interesting to me.
Okay, eveyone take a deep breath and followed by another.

There! The skies are blue and everything is royal. Don't get so worked up over this, we'll still waiting word.
Nebula1400,

You can watch online at http://hulu.com or http://fox.com

and/or purchase episodes on iTunes or http://amazon.com


Oh, I do all that, too. I also send a gift subscription to my son, and my daughter watches on Hulu along with her 8 roommates, because they don't own a TV (but they all have computers).

People should gift "Dollhouse" to your mom for Mothers' Day!

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2009-05-09 23:31 ]
Simon | May 09, 22:54 CET
I suggest sending a letter to the contact address that Fox has on their site.


You mean paper letter right? I sent a paper letter thanking ABC for producing Castle.

I'm going to send a Dollhouse thank you to this address

"FOX NETWORK SHOW MAILING ADDRESSES:

The address for requests of autographs, correspondence and other questions to the stars and producers of the FOX Show you asked about:

Paper Mail address only:

(NAME SHOW HERE)
P.O. Box 900
Attn: FOX BROADCASTING Publicity Dept.
Beverly Hills, CA 90213-0900 "

Composing my paper thank you letter now. Don't think I'll put "Thanks for the ride" in it.
I'm not very optimistic about seeing another season of Dollhouse, but if it happens (as was already touched on above) Fox really does deserve credit for it. It wouldn't redeem them for Firefly, but it would go a long way towards showing how much they've changed as a network since then.
As it currently looks, it's completely understandable from a business perspective if they think they can do better. I just can't wait to see Epitaph One, personally.

Thanks to everyone involved for the show. It was fun while it lasted.
Well I've written, but my tone was more like abject begging. I told him that I bought more than a dozen sets of Firefly DVDs as gifts for friends and family, and I am ready to do the same for Dollhouse. I told him all I'm begging for is one more 13 week renewal, but of course I'll be buying the first season's DVDs regardless.
Another really bad friday in general I see in the 18-49. Not that this in any way excuses DH's ratings, but the highest was only a 2.2 which is really bad. I guess Star Trek (was it a global release?) had an impact. I know that's where I was last night)
TV Guide is reporting that Prison Break got 3.03 rating, and Dollhouse 2.76. So PB did better in preliminary ratings than DH.
Star Trek this weekend, Wolverine last weekend...I don't see how they can blame the show itself. The audience it's meant for hasn't been home on Friday nights.
@helcat - Thinking back, I do know of only one person who is a Nielsen participant, but it's only through association. A friend of mine told me of the family specifics. His father is involved in the study, and they apparently use diaries now to document what they're watching.

The privacy issue is barely an issue in this day and age when we can use Google Earth to look into someone's back yard and no one seems to care. Plus, if everyone has a Nielsen box, then there is no one to be exclusive from. I stand by my statement that this is an archaic institution that needs to be remodeled to suit all of America, or just done away with entirely and become cable.

Granted, TV would no longer be free, but at least creative programming would have a longer and more rewarding lifespan. Look at premium channels such as HBO and Showtime. Every time a show like The Sopranos or Weeds or Dexter would be starting another season, subscriptions to these channels would go up immensely.
@ShanshuBugaboo - I think the audience is hardly ever home on Friday nights, and that's the problem. It has very little, if nothing at all to do with outside influences like two-hour movies every week (what, you can't go see Star Trek on Saturday or Sunday? You HAVE TO see it RIGHT AT 7pm on Friday? And what about the fact that it opened the day before?). The problem is simply that Friday night is the end of the work/school week, the beginning of the weekend, thus making people more likely to go out and be social.

I've heard it said that should Dollhouse get renewed, Fox wants to try a different night. I hope that happens. It would do wonders for the show to be paired up with Fringe, Bones or 24. Also, remember the record-breaking numbers for House when it was paired with American Idol?
Heck, I watch it -- I'm in my 30s. My parent-in-laws who are in their early 70s watch it and they LOVE Dollhouse, and I was surprised to find out they watched Buffy & Angel too. I KNEW I liked them :-)!!!
My point -- this is a show people in all different age groups enjoy, too bad TV Stations don't recognize a great show when they have it.
Still, given the decline in ratings, I am grateful we got a full season out of it. As much as I'd love love love a second season.
A friend of mine told me of the family specifics. His father is involved in the study, and they apparently use diaries now to document what they're watching.

Diaries are used for the local affiliates during sweeps, the fast nationals come from set top boxes these days which is why they are available so rapidly. All I can say to the idea that only married couples with kids are included in the Nielsen sample is that you have been misinformed.

The privacy issue is barely an issue in this day and age when we can use Google Earth to look into someone's back yard and no one seems to care. Plus, if everyone has a Nielsen box, then there is no one to be exclusive from.

I think you might be surprised, plenty of people don't want faceless organisations being able to tap into and know what they're watching and when they're watching it.

I don't think anyone would claim the Nielsen's are perfect and as television viewing continues to fragment there are concerns as to the ability of the system to capture minority interest shows but it's what the industry has to work with and thus it's what the shows have to work with.
or just done away with entirely and become cable.

The problem with having cable boxes reporting automatically what channel being watched is how does the cable box know who is watching?
93 year old grandma?
46 year old Dad?
21 year old Son?
Skip the Beagle?
Nobody?

I leave my cable box on 24/7. That doesn't mean I actually watch pro-celebrity soduku at 4 am.

And there are five thousand Nielsen households, with a wide mix of families, single people, young and old, everything. Nielsen spend a lot of time and effort to try to ensure their "Families" represent people across the US.
And five thousand in a country of 265 million? It may be a fair sized sample but you have better odds of winning a fair size lottery prize than picked to be a Nielsen viewer.

If vast numbers of people did go see Wolverine and Star Trek then that wil be reflected in the DVR and Hulu numbers.
We'll get to see the DVR figures, but not Hulu.
Nebula1400 has attended Star Trek 3 times without it interfering with Dollhouse viewings and I've seen it twice (Thursday and today--Saturday) while still watching Dollhouse on Friday when broadcast, though like Nebula I'm also not a Nielsen viewer. I guess I'm saying that people who have stuck with Dollhouse this long know enough to realize how important the final episode viewership was, and many of those viewers found a way to work around Friday events in order to see Dollhouse last night. So Star Trek can't necessarily be blamed. There may just not have been a lot of interested parties anymore... at least not ones with Nielsen boxes. =\ Sorry for doom and gloom...
Bought it at iTunes, where it's currently #4.

Also wrote Mr. Rice thanking him for the season, and expressing my wish that strong DVR numbers, iTunes sales, and the current high sales ranking of the unreleased DVD set will help in their decision for a second season.
FWIW:

Phone: 310-369-3066 (viewer comment line)
Email: askfox@fox.com (viewer comment address)
@zz9 - What if Skip is one of those Black Market Beagles? :)
Kungfubear, he'd be in his doghouse, downloading the torrent.
I wish there was a way that international markets could be taken into account when renewal decisions are made. I understand why we're a non-issue, but it's frustrating nevertheless.
I just sent an email to askfox@fox.com. Thanks for the address. Fingers crossed!
I sent an email to Peter Rice. I hope that's not considered rude.
It is shocking that so few people seem to understand the statistical basis of sampling frames.

BTW, 5000 out of 265 million is about one in 50,000, give or take- that is far better odds than winning the lottery. And the Pentagon really does care when google earth can show a military base. Finally, you have to consent to have a Nielsen box, and there is now way all Americans will ever do that, since by analogy we don't want people knowing what books we buy or take from the library.
The Nielson sample have to be flawed. Psychometrically, 'sampling' is a very tenuous method for assessing behavior to begin with. In the social sciences, 'sampling' is considered epistemically one of the poorest of methods, so why is so much riding on such a flawed method? BTW, interestingly, the US government is going to employ sampling technology to make population 'estimates' for the 2010 Census, rather than use actual numbers, which creates all sorts of scenarios for manipulation and other mischief.
How so many people can watch ghost whisperer is a mystery.


Fans say this sort of thing all the time. It's not true - indeed it's the diametric opposite of the truth, which we should all have realized by now. Though TV is coming out of its Golden Age, for the VAST majority of viewers the purpose of television is not aesthetic but narcotic. Life is terrible and complex, and TV is terrible and simple.

Easy choice, I'd say.

Dollhouse is [good/bad] and immensely complex. Morally complex work that doesn't joke its way out of complexity (cf. Deadwood, The Wire, most of the maddeningly self-serious and wildly inconsistent Galactica, etc.) has a hard time finding an audience. Genre-TV fans don't realize this because they wrongly perceive themselves as numerous and important. Merely complicated work has an easier time, because it can deliver trite lessons and neatly-tied little narrative bows (cf. Lost, soap operas, most 'reality' TV, etc.). Shows that advertise and deliver extreme sensation - ER, Fox News, American Idol - get blockbuster ratings because people wish for comfort, and their wish is granted.

People knock NYPD Blue for being a brutal authoritarian morally-one-sided show that made its Mean Protagonist too sympathetic. In fact it was a complex show that wore the clothes of simple procedurals. Joss didn't dress Dollhouse up as anything but what it was, after the initial one-off episodes. It (we can presume) failed commercially because it didn't offer any easy satisfaction at all. The only episodes that ever had a shot at widespread viewership were widely panned by critics and fans alike. Note that Lost has shed much of its audience as well, now that it's 150% about its own mythology...

Don't pretend there's anything complicated about the likely cancellation of Dollhouse. People want ease from their Friday night television. (And if anyone brings up the goddamn X-Files as a 'complex' or 'difficult' counterexample could they please go to the bathroom mirror and point at themselves while laughing hysterically for me? Thanks.)
Addendum/correction: My post pertains to why people didn't watch. The show's probably being cancelled because it's not making money. Which is even easier than 'Why don't people watch?' but is also easy to forget, because one doesn't want to be a money-obsessed asshole. Does one. No.
That doesn't mean I actually watch pro-celebrity soduku at 4 am.

What channel is that on? I bet my husband would watch it. He watches poker.

BTW, Flashpoint was excellent last night. I watched the west coast feed at midnight. As I said early on, if a show is popular, I doubt people will switch to a different show in the same slot. I guess that's part of the problem of mid-season shows starting their first season.
I wish they would just show the unaired pilot over the summer as a special and follow it by showing reruns of the series on a better night... maybe after SYTYCD.
One thing that Dollhouse may have going for it is Itunes. I don't know if anyone else was paying attention, but at mid-season Dollhouse wasn't really sniffing top anything on those lists. In fact, it was kind of hard to find unless you were looking for it so if Itunes is trending upwards, that may actually be a good sign.

I don't think the Nielson folks don't know what they're doing, but as many have pointed out, sampling is still an inexact science. You add to that the natural selection bias that comes from those who don't want the box or who aren't asked at all. For example, I have been asked to do a diary before but as I only watch one or two shows and have no time for anything else I declined. That doesn't mean I don't watch TV. The fact that I wasn't counted was a bias (although I caused it.) To be sure you can be smart in how you position your boxes to minimize it, but the sample size Nielson uses is still extremely small by proportion and therefore susceptible to a tremendous amount of error.

Services like Itunes or Hulu do not suffer from the same affliction. To be sure, there are more technically inclined people who use them (also a bias), but that is going to turn into the target demographic at some point if it isn't already. Fox can pull exact numbers from both places and so it will have a larger sample than just Nielson.

The Office for example took off on Itunes before its ratings became what they are. No, Dollhouse will never be The Office, but there may be some predictive value to "instant and complete" numbers rather than a possibly slow-to-change sample.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-05-10 04:13 ]
The networks make the majority of their money from TV advertising. Knowing a show is popular amongst the people who choose to download or watch on-line is of interest but as it doesn't seem to mirror TV watching in the general population it isn't really a useful metric to assess that.
helcat,

My point was it may be a leading indicator. As I said, The Office was popular on Itunes before it was popular on TV. It was also a bubble show. I'm also not holding that it is true for all things, but that Fox does have more sophisticated ways of figuring these things out than we do when we simply "scoreboard" Nielson ratings.

It's the quality of being a predictor I'm getting at, not arguing that Dollhouse's current numbers aren't abysmal.

It's like looking at a stock: the question is to hold or sell. If you have information that leads you to believe it's going to trend up and you don't have a better option then you keep it. The sunk cost or what you lost by holding it so far is irrelevant to the decision because you don't get that money back. The same situation is true for a television show.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-05-10 05:23 ]
By the way, does anyone know who directed episode 13? I have a vague memory of someone saying Joss directed it but I'm not sure. Anyone know?
Knowing a show is popular amongst the people who choose to download or watch on-line is of interest but as it doesn't seem to mirror TV watching in the general population it isn't really a useful metric to assess that.

Bearing in mind the figures for the growth of Hulu I posted a few days ago I think Fox will be looking at Hulu, and iTunes, far more importantly in their own right than they would have done even a year ago.
Online is still small compared to Network TV, but it wasn't that long ago that TV was small and insignificant compared to radio.
It might not be that long before the King is dead.

The problem is, the new king doesn't pay residuals to writers.
Dollhouse has continuously lost viewers, and sadly it's not been so good that it's deserved a second season. Much as it has improved, and much as it is superior to a lot of TV, it's been muddled and it's been inconsistent.
Yeah, Let Down. Written by Jed and Maurissa, directed by Joss.
i just watched the finale, and i gotta say- i really hope that Dollhouse is renewed!

weird fact: i spent some quality time with the song featured in the end of the episode, last night (def: "quality time"- mild melancholy and hitting repeat 10 times...)so it was quite strange to have it show up just now, ha.
I see a lot of people holding out hope for fairly insignificant alternative viewing methods such as Hulu or iTunes... These aren't big enough yet to change TPTB's decision on renewal but beyond that issue is the fact that the show kept sliding in the ratings. It would have been one thing if it held steady or slowly trended up at some point but it did not.
I think the Dollhouse finale was awesome. The entire season had such a highly stylized funky feel. It made you squirm. I really grew to love this show and it will be a shame if its not renewed.
I love Joss, he is briliant. But if they give Dollhouse a second season and Firefly only got one...something is VERY wrong!
NJBEAR, that's not the way to look at things.
*sob*

[insert string of foul curses and obscene hand gestures]

I'm gonna do my part when it airs in the UK. I've already asked friends who have Sci-Fi channel to leave it on, even if they aren't going to watch it! (yeah, I'm desperate)

When do we find out if it gets renewed or not?
I'm gonna do my part when it airs in the UK. I've already asked friends who have Sci-Fi channel to leave it on, even if they aren't going to watch it!
Unless they are a (British) Nielsen household that won't make any difference.
If Sci-Fi have online streaming like Hulu or if it's available on UK iTunes then get them to watch there instead. Then they will be counted.

I see a lot of people holding out hope for fairly insignificant alternative viewing methods such as Hulu or iTunes... These aren't big enough yet to change TPTB's decision on renewal but beyond that issue is the fact that the show kept sliding in the ratings.
Hulu and iTunes may be small now but they are growing at a staggering rate. Hulu has doubled it's viewing figures between January and March of this year, and January's figures were double that of September 08.
For an online business, where it took Amazon five years to make an operating profit, Hulu is amazing. Barely a year old it was already making a healthy operating profit by the end of 08 and is quite possibly making a "Real" profit now.
I'm sure sixty years ago there were people saying "TV is insignificant compared to radio, it doesn't matter".
Fox cannot wait and just "Hope" Hulu becomes a success, it needs Hulu to become THE dominant online portal NOW so that when it starts becoming significant compared to network TV they will be able to reap the rewards. For that it needs content now, and if lots of people watch Dollhouse on Hulu then that will matter to Fox, not just because of this years profit but for their future profit in years to come.

Also, lots of online viewers would suggest that a move to another night would improve ratings. It would be logical to assume that many people watch on Hulu because they are busy on Friday night.
More than two decades ago we were a Nielson TV family (journal, not box.) Just the two of us, no kids. We had a horrible time filling it out, because it seemed to think that we only had one tv and no vcr (we had several of both.) I finally typed up a schedule showing what we had watched and when it had been broadcast, attaching that to the form. We never heard back from them, whatever that means.

Haven't seen the season ender yet, been busy with goddaughter's wedding. She was beautiful, he was handsome, I hope they make it. So young ....
I just finished an intro to tv class this semester and it's pretty fun to see all the back and forth about how exactly ratings are measured and how much DVRs and hulu will be factoring into decision making, because hey I actually know this stuff.

That being said, wouldn't it be great if the decision to renew a show was just about whether or not a show is awesome? "Is Dollhouse awesome? Yes, it is. I head of fox will now renew it."
zz9, online viewing may be big one day in the future but it won't help DH get a season 2 today.

Also, your assumptions about viewing on Hulu because it airs on Friday are possible but not the only logical explanation. The fact that the show may appeal to a particularly small but online audience is another possibility.

Finally, the show may have received more viewers on another night but other slots have higher expectations. TSCC was getting 5 million viewers on Monday but that was a cancelation worthy figure for that slot, too.
I certainly don't think that the online DH audience is enough to support the show by itself at the moment. I would be surprised if it even made 5% of its revenue online.

But it is very well established in business, particularly online ventures, that you have to spend a lot of money for the first few years to establish your brand and market position.
Amazon took five years before making a profit. Youtube has yet to make a profit, or even come anywhere close to a profit.
But by spending the money Jeff Bezos made Amazon "The" place for books online and Google have spent a fortune making YT "The" place for online videos.

Fox and the other two broadcasters clearly believe Hulu can become "The" online viewing site and make them a huge amount of money, from both the regular licensing payments and from the profits of owning the portal itself.

Every viewer now is not only a viewer who will stick with the site for years to come but is also a viewer denied to Hulu's competitors.

And there is a precedent. Rupert Murdock started Sky TV in the UK. It cost a fortune and came close to dragging the whole of News Corp into bankruptcy. He spent huge sums of money buying up movie, TV and sports rights for his new network, that at the time only had a few thousand viewers. Not one of those movies or sports events could have been profitable for him. But without them no one would ever sign up.
He spent the money, the viewers followed, the competition failed and Rupert now makes a fortune with Sky.

If he had said "The number of viewers doesn't pay for these football matches, we're losing money. Cancel them" then Sky would have failed.

He won with Sky. He wants to win with Hulu. He is willing to subsidise loss making shows now if they bring viewers to Hulu.

The big question is how much of a loss is he willing to pay for and does Dollhouse bring enough people to Hulu.

I guess we'll fine out in a week....
Even assuming every single itunes viewer would tune in on another night, if you added that number to the current ratings, it still wouldn't be enough to carry it on another night. I'm not sure it would even carry it on Friday nights.

I really, really started to like Dollhouse by the end of the season. But viewers kept dropping every episode. Even as it was getting supposedly good. It couldn't even hold on to what it had.

I'm almost at the point where I don't want another season. With all the build up and all the hype, the ratings are really embarrassing. I don't want to see it limp along and get shot. There's never going to be a GOOD moment to say goodbye to a Joss Whedon show, but better now than a few episodes in to a new season or something. At least it's come to a conclusion of a sort.

Also, to a poster up-thread, if Fox can attract MORE viewers airing repeats in that time spot, then they would do that (and they likely could with these numbers). Also, it's easier to sell advertisers on a show that has not yet been tested, than on a show that has been measured and found so wanting. I'm not even sure how they could pitch the advertising with numbers like these. I would not want that job.

[ edited by ailiel on 2009-05-10 21:02 ]

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