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September 26 2009

Dollhouse S2 premiere ratings. "Dollhouse averaged 2.57 million and a 1.0/4 adults 18-49 rating."

For comparison, last season's finale came in at 2.8 million, 1.0 in 18-49 demo.
Someone pass the potato salad.
Marc Berman has slightly different, but still not great numbers:

2.70 million (#4), A18-49: 1.0/ 3 (#4)
Well, good thing they didn't waste money on publicity. No, wait a second...
Bummer. Of course we could all see that 'Brothers' was a terrible lead in for a challenging sci-fi suspense action show like 'Dollhouse'.
Sigh. Let me get my pic-ahnic basket...
I'm not worrying with the ratings anymore this season
I said this would happen. To the network. Directly. Because there were all kinds of problems, not least of which the little promo it had sometimes had incorrect airdates, air months, air times. And the lead ins are truly awful.

That said, I'm not bothered. If DOLLHOUSE can hold the audience next week, according to the execs it will be in with a chance of getting the back 9 episodes ordered. The need it to average around what it got last year, so a bit of growth with good episodes would be a good sign.

Don't panic. For serious.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-09-26 17:01 ]
If gossi says not to panic, I am not going to panic.
Thanks gossi, I always appreciate a ray of sunshine on a cloudy morning.
It's all Fox's fault for scheduling the premiere against the second weekend of "Love Happens" in the theaters!


Actually, I just admit I have no clue what to make of anything here, given all the hubbub last Spring about DVRs and cheaper production and trends in the industry. And when I try and imagine future scenarios -- is it good or bad if Brothers gets cancelled early? Southland Tales? If zombies invade the CBS soundstages? No freakin' clue.
l agree Brothers was awful and l am an African American and l didn't like it. I believe this season will come around.
If I was to say that Dollhouse is the cheapest made show in the whole 8pm-11pm Friday slot, would I be wrong?
This is exactly what the situation was last year, the typical DH viewer will be quite likely to be out on Friday nights, not sitting in front of the TV. The DVR and Hulu figures will be a factor, just as last year, and the show was renewed then. Even the CW is making the same point with their Smallville figures.

Not panicking.
Every time when I think the ratings can't go any lower, they go lower. Therefore I will expect that nobody watches the show next week. Maybe it'll finally rise to the top then!
wow! that low for a season opener?... That's not good news.

I'm not gonna say that it's bad news yet, but it's certainly not good news.

Having said that... the episode was great

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-09-26 17:29 ]
I guess the Leno show would be cheaper Simon
Leno would certainly be cheaper in production costs, but Leno will have little value in syndication, overseas sales or DVD sales.
Dollhouse, and other dramas, do so can be subsidised making the cost to the network lower than actual production costs.
Chat shows the network has to pay the full cost.

I'd be surprised if that made DH cheaper than Leno, but I doubt it's as much more as it's actual costs would suggest.
Simon, as Chazman points out, it kinda depends on what other variables you're including. Major network only, or cable too? Sitcom vs. hour long, variety, etc...
Simon, something like BROTHERS and TIL DEATH will be cheaper for Fox. Small cast, single camera, tiny stage comedies. DOLLHOUSE has multi camera, outside locations, big cast blah blah. Not to say the studio isn't subsidising it to some extent though. Because they are.

FOX need to shuffle some budget across for promotional purposes for DOLLHOUSE. They need to get the message out there that's it's back, and critically that it's better now. Otherwise it was absolutely pointless bringing it back from a business point of view - they just wasted the investment. Don't make a gamble on Joss and then not actually tell people about it at all.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-09-26 17:46 ]
My friends DVR'd it, cuz FAME came out last nite (long story short, an old school mate of ours is in FAME, I told her I was staying home, she prolly hates me now, but it was worth it :p)
Those ratings are terrible no matter how you look at them. And don't forget that Friday shows like Southland, Ugly Betty, and Stargate haven't premiered yet.
Uhm, gossi ... I guess you have the single vs. multi camera thing backwards.
I'm just going to enjoy the show as long as it airs.
Dang, I didnt know the season premiere was last night. Thats what I get for not being glued to the TV. :)
The ratings for the premiere are determinative of absolutely nothing when it comes to the show's future.

Reilly and Rice, for better or for worse, are playing the long game. The budget is down. The studio is picking up more of the tab. The issues surrounding last season hurt them. It wasn't a show that was going to get a big advertising spend.

FOX knows all of this, and they know what it does to the notion of expectations and the premise of patience.

Put your potato salad away.
Yeah, generally speaking, multiple camera is what's happening with a studio-based sitcom with several cameras set up in different spots. Dollhouse is considered a single-camera drama. (Even if they might sometimes be a secondary camera involved somehwere.)
Its always a good day to panic.
Except we don't use that word, and the word we do use isn't relevant.

It baffles me, ratings stories using words like "disappointing" when all things considered the proper and accurate word would be "expected", even, perhaps, "entirely expected".

There's simply nothing to see in these ratings. They tell us only what everyone should have already known going in: This is going to take time.
Yep, had my cameras to cock.

The premiere ratings were important in the sense of getting that initial audience. Audience almost always declines second week.
Except, personally, I don't believe anyone's actually thinking of it that way. It defies logic that anyone in any position of relevance is looking at this and going, "Well, this isn't what we expected."
Indeed bix, if execs are thinking that, they can't be too good at what they do.
I'm the eternal Whedon optimist, so I think the ratings were just what could have been expected.

But I don't understand about the potato salad.
But I don't understand about the potato salad.

That's okay, because I'm trying to get Saje to put it away anyway. ;)
I watched it on Hulu, as I don't have a television anymore.

Does anyone know whether Hulu numbers mean anything to the Fox execs? When folks were trying to save Terminator: TSCC, there was some noise made about needing to watch on rather than on Hulu, but I can't install Fox's video player as I run Linux.
Execs are not stupid. I'm not saying that. I'm not saying to panic either. I'm just saying these aren't good ratings to relaunch to.
Setting aside the degree to which they weigh various outlets in comparison to one another, given that FOX is a co-owner of Hulu, yes they watch those numbers.
And I'm just saying that given the long game, technically these aren't "bad ratings to relaunch to" either, because anyone relevant to the process understands their context. So all the harping on "these aren't good ratings" misses what FOX is going to be paying attention to, and when they're going to be paying attention to it, and just, inadvertently, feeds the new "Dollhouse death watch" frenzy.

If I believed Reilly/Rice were sitting around expecting even Omega-sized overnights, maybe "these aren't good ratings to relaunch to" would make sense to me. But since I happen to believe this likely is entirely expected, I refuse to pass on these numbers using the normal comparative yardstick.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-09-26 19:36 ]
At the risk of getting sucked in (or ignored, you never know)

Isn't there a great debate on right now about how much Neilson numbers really mean? I mean my watching wasn't at all counted last night but it's assumed that the percentage that does count somehow extrapolates to represent me.

Since we're not privy to the executive meetings at Fox we don't know which numbers the advertisers on Friday at 9 are looking at, there were several iPhone adds for example, perhaps 10% of the market Apple is looking for a more specific audience, say college graduates aged 25-45. Just a thought.

As long as money in is more than money out, Fox doesn't have to do away with the show.
Well, this is a bit better than some of the Season 1 ratings at least. I mean, it could have been a complete and total flop.

The only thing that concerns me is that this premiere was not exactly one that will draw in new viewers, or even old viewers who quit watching after the first few episodes. It was an outstanding episode, but someone who didn't watch most of Season 1 would be completely lost. I wish they had done a "previously on Dollhouse" intro.
While I'm ignoring all season 2 threads (UK person here), I am especially going to be ignoring ones about viewing figures. Oh I remember them from last year.
I'm not even gonna panic (or not panic). I'm just gonna watch the show every week, enjoy the ride, and who knows... after 13 episodes I might be surprised with a "Hey look, 9 more episodes!", and then it'll be awesome and I'll be happy.

But... as RaisedByMongreals just said, I think a "previously on Dollhouse" intro would have been nice.
"Isn't there a great debate on right now about how much Neilson numbers really mean?" Yes , due to exceptional doubt about Nielsen's ability to measure non-television forms of delivery. From a recent article: "NBCU, Time Warner, News Corp, Viacom, CBS, Disney and Discovery Communications are teaming to create a rival to the Nielsen metric system. The media conglomerate is also working with major advertisers like AT&T and Proctor & Gamble, as well as ad agencies WPP and Starcom MediaVest. The goal is to create accurate measurements across multiple platforms and hopes the new service will launch by the end of 2009."
Meanwhile, "Vows" is #14 in episodes on iTunes right now, but the entirety of season two is #2 in TV seasons. Which probably says that people are shelling out the $23-33 up front for the entire season right off the bat.

ETA that season one is #11 on Amazon Video, suggesting that people are either catching up or just finally deciding to own it.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-09-26 20:35 ]
While it was indeed not to be expected that Dollhouse would immediately gain a big audience in season two, it is not encouraging to start with a new low (if I compare with the old Whedonesque thread).

Nielsen, the company that makes the ratings, is quite interesting though. The other day they paid me $30 to hear I don't own a TV (and got the unsolicited information that I do watch Dollhouse on Hulu ;-)). I guess if they were trying to sign up new peope for ratings boxes, I did disqualify myself though.
How to take people's minds off the lacklustre ratings. Well you could look up.
Did someone say potato salad? Mmmmm.
I was just thinking about how the Whedonesque photo strip should have some dollhouse in it and now noticed it does.

Who cares about oldfashioned ratings if you can win an Emmy for a not tv show anyway :P
Folks, it ain't going to go up from here. This was the season debut, which traditionally has higher ratings. If this is the high ratings, DVR/Tivo is not going to save the show.

PS. Any discussion of replacing Nielson has to start with the understanding that the networks absolutely hate the hegemony Nielson has with regard to influencing advertising rates. Their goal will be to gain control of the rating system so they can set the rates. Not because they do not trust the numbers; Nielson uses sophisticated sampling technology in their estimations. Now, I understand that Nielson has not merged in all existing viewing technologies, but I would estimate that is something they are certainly working on.
Hmmm... why is Dollhouse not available in HD on Amazon?
Oh look! There's a Boyd! I'm waiting for the DVR and online numbers before commenting btw.
The key part in Dana's comment up there is "traditionally". Thinking "traditionally" is what made everyone call Dollhouse dead last season.
I actually think it's a pretty decent introductory episode. They give you all the necessary info and has a bit of everything.

The ratings are to be expected. I'm just concerned that it seems to be regularly dropping at the half hour.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-09-28 11:05 ]
I made a convert out of a non-Whedon fan yesterday so I'm not panicked. Fox has seen how Joss's projects grow. That is, usually very slowly and with a strong core audience. All Joss can do is continue to make good episodes.

Dana - I would disagree. Yes, I'm sure the networks aren't happy that someone else is making that money. But at the same time, I don't see the upside of creating something that A) wouldn't be entirely considered objective (like banks rating their own bonds) and B) would have to directly compete with Neilson who has an unassailable market position unless you're willing to lose money for an extended length of time in competition just for a decent revenue stream.

I don't see the return on investment being there unless you also think there are significant cash loss issues involved in relying on the traditional Nielson ratings for renew or cancel decisions.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-09-26 21:26 ]
I have to disagree with those who say "the ratings are to be expected." I'm sure Reilly and Rice expected relatively lower ratings in comparison to shows broadcast from Mon to Thurs but I doubt they were looking for 1.0 in the 18-49 demos. I lurk regularly on tvbyn and pifeedback and that kind of rating is about as bad as you can get for a network show. (And even better, next week's rating can be even lower). When Reilly and Rice renewed the show last season, I don't think they renewed it 'cause they were expecting a 1.0 demo average. At the time, Dollhouse S1 averaged about 1.4 or so.

OTOH, I don't think this means automatic cancellation. There are still 12 more episodes to go, right? I agree with gossi that I hope the Fox execs don't give up on the show. I hope they're willing to throw a bit more money on advertising DH and give the show some time to improve. I think the best we can hope for right now is that they'll air the rest of the episodes and the ratings will improve enough to get a better average. But even if they don't, then I'm happy to have gotten a S2 and I wouldn't blame Fox for not picking up the back nine.
That's okay, because I'm trying to get Saje to put it away anyway. ;)

Oh i'm only salad adjacent. I can see the salad but this season i'm trying not to partake.

(my handy method for making the ratings seem better BTW ? Mentally multiply them by a million, they're way higher when you do that, i'm surprised Fox hasn't thought of it to be honest)
I lurk regularly on tvbyn...

Whose analysis of course proved correct last year, too. Oh, wait, it didn't. ;)
It's expected because it's on par with the finale numbers. I don't know what they were thinking when they renewed it, but we're at the same place we were back then. They're obviously not good numbers, but...the show is on the air.
I've determined that I'm not going to watch the ratings this season, because I don't need something else to worry about. However, it would help if Fox not only did more advertising but changed the advertising. Clearly, showing scantily-clad or gun-toting ED isn't doing the trick. Other stars in the series have followings, too. As do some of this year's guest stars. Why keep using what is NOT (or no longer) working and think that somehow it will begin to work? Stress the ensemble. Stress plot points. Give viewers outside the fan-base a reason to tune in.
I don't know what they were thinking when they renewed it, but we're at the same place we were back then. They're obviously not good numbers, but...the show is on the air.

We might be in Opposite World. Someone flush a toilet and see which way it drains*.

* if it's not an urban myth in this world then we may have left Kansas. Figuratively speaking. Unless you live in Kansas.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-09-26 21:51 ]
I really think this is partially to do with the lack of promotion. I had a friend I just talked to that didn't even know it started last night. She is watching on Hulu today.

Since Fox obviously isn't going to do it, we just really need to work on getting the word out!

It was a great episode and this season looks really promising. Maybe if people get word of that they will start tuning in. It's easy to get caught up with Hulu, afterall.
I lurk regularly on tvbyn...

Whose analysis of course proved correct last year, too. Oh, wait, it didn't. ;)

Hey I didn't say I believed their analysis ;p~ I'm just saying, if you compared the 18-49 demo numbers only of every network show to DH, DH really has just about the lowest of them all. I know it's shocking but it's not unusual for the lowest rated show to be canceled. If Fox is happy with these numbers, then wonderful, I'll be happy to eat crow and watch more DH episodes at the same time. But in the meanwhile, I'll appreciate whatever episodes of DH we can get and try not to raise my hopes too much for a back nine.

[ edited by spiralout9 on 2009-09-26 22:15 ]
Yep, I'm waiting on the DVR/Tivo/Hulu numbers. And in the meantime I'm just going to enjoy the season as it unfolds.
OK, so diagnostic is
-if we can hold with that, with abysmal lead-ins, confusing promotion and even stiffer competition (next week we're getting double Ugly Betty from ABC and more Medium from CBS, which might hold out with the 18-49 female demo), we'll be fine for a while.
- if the numbers can grow a bit and stick, we'll get the back nine.

I'm kinda glad that we're not facing Flashpoint this year (BTW, their premiere was great), less competition for the 18-49 male demo.
Well at least we have Season two. It's so undeserved though, the ep was made of brilliant...
Here we go again... I wish for a change every Whedon show wasn't followed the the next day ratings worrying.
Well it's part and parcel of our fandom. Still scarred by Serenity's opening weekend. Talk about meltdown.
I'm not quite at panic mode yet. The only troubling sign was a slight drop-off at the half-hour point. And while I wasn't surprised to see a drop from the 8 o'clock hour, it's a sad thought that we didn't even pull the numbers "Brother" pulled.

Bottom line:

Just about every show premiered low this year. (Dropping from end of last season.) Heroes seemed to take a cue from Petty and free fall.

Next week is going to be the first real big test. If it can hold onto, and gain, via word of mouth, then we're off to a great start. If it can't even hold onto tonight's numbers, then we'd be blessed to see all 13 hit air.
I've stayed out of this thread so far but I think I'm going to say it, like many others, in text that they won't be frantic about the ratings this year... I'm pretty calm, relaxed and I'm more than happy I'm soon going to see a second season (in the UK.) I'm really rather at peace with it all. I figure this is what Joss says he feels like.
I read some chatter about Heroes moving to a Friday night. Dunno if there's any substance to that rumour. Fringe isn't doing that well either from what I see. Interesting times for network genre shows.
Whoa, when did the header change? Neat.
Got the chance to watch Flash Forward earlier today. Not bad. Intrigued. Wonder how that did. But It's clear from some interviews I read, that even the producers don't want to call it genre.
But I'm hopeful. Wasn't until HIMYM 3rd season that the show was out of the bubble worry.
The problem with the new header photos is that since I'm on 1024x768 I can't see Echo or Boyd unless I move the window to the left and then stretch the right hand edge of the window to the right.

Topic? Still not panicking.
Honestly, I wonder if genre shows should be on the major networks at all. It seems like most of the audience they're trying to attract left network programming a long time ago. The networks always are about gross numbers which leads to a least common denominator approach. Any time they deviate from it, they lose money even if the show they have is good.

It seems like network executives want genre programming, they just can't make their core audience like it. Look at Mad Men: great TV that would probably have been canceled after one season on a major network. It hit a ratings record of 2.8 million viewers in it's 3rd year.
Here's a bright side: It beat out "America's Next Top Model."
I guess we all need to be pimping next friday's episode on FB etc. It should be a concerted Campaign. If you have Nielsen, watch on Fri night if at all possible OR DVR it. If you aren't a Nielsen family, Hulu it for free, or buy the season on iTunes.

That's about all we can do to help. Is spread the word.
Of course, word spreading has been going on for months. For the bulk of the Summer, no one -- including fandom -- seemed to care about hearing and/or helping. Just sayin'.
As we all found out with Serenity the online community may be loud but it is, in the overall scheme of things, tiny.
How many people follow Dollhouse on Whedonesque, IMDB and other online forums? A few hundred? A thousand or so?
How many of those are in the US? Half?

The people who can make a difference are the millions of people who have never visited an online Dollhouse forum. And that needs advertising and press. We've had some very positive press for Vows, we need more adverts.
It needs to be a proper campaign. I can't reach many, I'm in the wrong country.

Twitter: Watch Dollhouse, season 2, Fri nights, Fox at 9pm. Nielsen families please watch/DVR, others please watch via hulu or iTunes. Retweet please

Facebook: Like Buffy, Angel, Firefly, or Dr. Horrible? Then tune into Joss Whedon's new show, Dollhouse, 9pm Fri nights (Fox). Those who are Nielsen viewers please watch or DVR the show. For others, watch it on Hulu free, or buy the eps or season on iTune...s. For those who watched last year and gave up on it, please give it another go, it's really improved since mid last season! Repost this to your status if you like Dollhouse!

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2009-09-27 01:45 ]
FB advertising is pretty cheap. But would it be legal to set up an ad for Dollhouse? Where would it point to? Fox or Whedonesque?
To be perfectly honest, I was expecting better in terms of ratings for the season opener. When it comes down to it, though, I think rating trends are much more significant in the grand scheme of things than single samples.

The ratings are to be expected. I'm just concerned that it seems to be regularly dropping at the half hour.

Which is why I also find that particular statistic the most telling we have to date, and obviously not in a good way.

On a related note, this statistic would also seem to back up my perception - as of watching last night's episode - of what I am fast concluding is actually at the heart of the show's consistent ratings woes (hint: it's got nothing to do with Fox.)
I just don't see fan campaigns moving ratings in any appreciable way. For that to really work, there'd have to be a functional and consistent complimenting force in support of the show from the network side at the same time. And, as evidenced by the continued lack of an official show account on Twitter, FOX's account only just waking up to the premiere on premiere day, no online trailers for weeks on end, et cetera, et cetera -- well, obviously there isn't such a complimentary network force.

Fans can tweet and Facebook status until the Fringe cow comes home, but if the network isn't also involved by being part of the conversation, answering questions, and solving problems (not show problems but informational problems, for example), any fan campaign would be trying to start a flood by spitting with dry mouth.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-09-27 02:25 ]
Simon- Fringe is going to suffer badly in its move to the Thursday 800PM (CST) slot, since it goes against one of the top shows in the nation (CSI) and Grey's. From that perspective, I suspect it is a goner. I have to make a choice what to watch then- I just bought the Fringe DVD set and have begun to enjoy it a bit- but with Sara Sidle back on CSI, no contest at all.

Much of this sturm and drang is to be expected, about DH. When I first saw the post about the first episode, my initial thought was, well, how long till we have actual ratings to consider? I did not even realize that Friday was the first episode, so I never saw it. What might actually save DH is that other shows do so poorly that it allows them to actually pump more money into DH. House might have begun its first season with a 2-hr ep, but it was banal and fairly predictable, had Wilson for one moment and no other regulars. And now Jennifer Morrison has announced she is leaving, all but assuring Olivia Wilde stays as 13 (fan unfave), and they bring back the idiot private detective fellow. House may hurt, Fringe will hurt, and these are big guns at Fox. On the other hand, losing DH might allow them to pump more money into Fringe- shift it to Friday and out of that Thursday death match. Hard to call this. But no matter what the DVR ratings are, this was not a good start at all.
House did really, really well. Fringe did really not well, though still twice as well as Dollhouse. We're not getting any help from the rest of the week. Friday really is a different animal.
Any news on the DVR bump? This was a pretty fantastic episode with tons of gratuitous almost-nudity. How could it fail?
All I know is that from what Fox has aleady said, if Dollhouse managed to maintain their ratings from last year, this would probably be enough to secure the show a back 9 run, and maybe even another season...

they haven't even managed to match their lowest number from last year in the first episode.

This is clearly not good news, and I doubt, fox really "expected" the season premier to have such low ratings after months of time for people to catch on to dollhouse online.

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-09-27 03:11 ]
Technically that would be "months of time for people to catch on to Dollhouse online... without any real help whatsoever from FOX to keep it in people's minds or remind them of it". And, in part, it's that last technical bit which is why I can't imagine anyone as smart as Reilly or Rice would have been expecting something different.
I'll be watching Smallville and Dollhouse while I can. Both had a 1 share.

I loved Smallville last night, btw. It's much more Superman/Lois and Clark now.

And that was a great Flashpoint, Numfar.

For the moment, Friday is my TV night. Well, one of them, me being a TV addict and all.
Seriously? more people were watching a rerun of Cougar Town than Dollhouse? Nothing like the Nielson ratings to make me lose faith in humanity.
Seriously? more people were watching a rerun of Cougar Town than Dollhouse? Nothing like the Nielson ratings to make me lose faith in humanity.

You're forgetting one thing - Nielson ratings only speak to the trends among the sector of the population that are habitual television watchers; humanity at large isn't even technically in the picture.
Ah yes, you can't trust those habitual TV watchers, mentally deficient the lot of us them I mean, I totally meant them the ... big deficient bastards !

The problem with the new header photos is that since I'm on 1024x768 I can't see Echo or Boyd unless I move the window to the left and then stretch the right hand edge of the window to the right.

OK zz9, there may come a point where you have to accept that your resolution is insane and happenstance. Not saying we're there yet ...
I think it's time to stop blaming Fox for this one now. They've gone beyond the call of duty with Dollhouse. If anyone's to blame, it's the American public this time around.

If it dies, so be it. I'm not stressing out over it anymore, just going to enjoy it while it lasts.
Saje, I just want everything and everyone else in the world to adjust to suit me. Is that really too much to ask?
Aidan, I think we can blame FOX for barely promoting the show's return. I am enormously grateful that they renewed the show for a second season, I just find it odd that they aren't even trying to let people know it's back.
Saje, I just want everything and everyone else in the world to adjust to suit me. Is that really too much to ask?

Seems perfectly reasonable to me. Which might be a problem considering we're in the same world. Tradition seems to require us to have a duel or possibly some kind of bet revolving around the moral worthiness of a mortal being.
I will be a kindly and benevolent ruler Saje. Unless you annoy, irritate or upset me in the slightest way. Or have an attractive daughter and/or wife. In which case I've got some bad news for you....
@Saje and @zz9 - That's nothing. I use a 19-inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor, with a resolution of 1440 x 900. :) So, yeah. I can't see all the awesome, new photos either. :(

On topic, I agree with Aidan W. I don't know why everyone is complaining about lack of advertising. I barely watch TV, but when I do, it's often Fox and I've been seeing lots of commercials for Dollhouse. All during the breaks for House, Bones and Fringe, it seemed as though an ad for Dollhouse would hit at least once during each commercial break. Also, I would get those distracting motion ads at the bottom of the screen during the aforementioned programming.

If Dollhouse doesn't get strong numbers, it's because people just aren't watching for whatever reason, be it the Friday night time slot, commitment to other shows, or it's just plain not their cup of tea. That's also something that most folks don't think about. Dollhouse could be the greatest show ever, but it means nothing for the time being if you're just not into that story or brand of programming.

I do hope that if Dollhouse can't get a better night and time, it at least gets a better, more fitting lead in. I mean, Brothers had its moments (Carl Weathers is never not awesome), but it's just so generic and tonally wrong for Dollhouse. Most of all, I was offended by some of the small bits of racist humor toward Whites. Very off-putting and distracting.

How about pairing Dollhouse with Fox's big hit, Bones, or maybe Fringe? Though I think moving Fringe to Thursdays was a bad idea. It was fine where it was. Tru Calling was on Thursdays. We all know how well that turned out. Or, perhaps if Human Target does eventually arrive in the new year, the two shows can be a nice double feature of the same, basic ideas.

Then again, maybe Friday nights is exactly where Dollhouse needs to be in order to stay on the air. Think of it as if it were on The CW. These ratings would mean certain death anywhere else, but in this spot, the expectations to perform at a certain level are considerably lower. Either way, I'm just happy for a season 2 and I'll watch for as long as I'm able and not worry so much about numbers.
Sigh. Saturdays are always so depressing during Dollhouse season after reading the ratings reports. :(
I have a simple solution: remove Saturdays from the spacetime continuum... Wait, that was the second simplest solution ... if I could only remember the first ...

In which case I've got some bad news for you....

You're gonna turn into a swan ? They can break a man's arm with their wing you know. I don't have a daughter or a wife but I do have arms.

These ratings would mean certain death anywhere else, but in this spot, the expectations to perform at a certain level are considerably lower.

Yep, built into the moving nights suggestion is the idea that that would necessarily mean enough more viewers to meet the higher expectations/requirements. Which I have doubts about.
I slept on this one last night, and basically I don't think we know how these (low) ratings will effect things for a few weeks. If it declines like last year over the next 2 episodes (then it goes to baseball), we're in trouble. The fact it's against Stargate and Ugly Betty next week, with Til Death as the lead in (which FOX didn't even air all of last season, they've just skipped to season 4) does not bode well, I have to admit. If it holds onto it's audience next week, that is the 'core audience' and we don't need to worry.
When will we find out the DVR numbers and how well it did on Hulu? Because aren't they supposed to be crucial factors into why DH was renewed in the first place? Iím seeing a lot of comments around the web like ĎFinally watched DH today and loved it!í which indicates that a lot of people didnít see it when it aired but are catching up now. Thatís somewhat promising?
DVR comes out next thurs I think if it's the same as last season. As for Hulu, I don't think we ever actually saw finite numbers for last season did we?
I think DVR figures are 10 days behind? We won't find out for a while, anyway.

Hulu numbers are not public, nor are Amazon or iTunes.

I got a bunch of emails from people (and I've seen similar comments online) saying they only knew Dollhouse was returning because it was a trending topic on Twitter on Friday night before and during airing. That was kind of a planned thing, a bunch of people made it happen so thanks to those you did (they know who they are).
Well, to be fair, having watched the search results all day, there were sh*t tons of people clearly tweeting the title or the hashtag who had nothing to do with having seen any hint of organized anything. Deliberate plans no doubt fed the beast, but it was happening anyway, from ver very early on in the day. (That's actually a good thing, if there was that much organic tweeting going on.)
I wish that they would put Dollhouse on a different night. Friday's are not going to be good for Dollhouse. A majority of people go out to friday night football games, opening movies, clubs, whatever. I manage a movie theatre and on a typical friday night we do around 2500-3500 people, most all of them in the desired Dollhouse demographic.

Seeing most of these people come out to watch mindless, god awful movies, I worry about the general population and if they can enjoy a show as intelligent as Dollhouse.
Well, if you don't think they can enjoy the show, then the fact that they are in the targeted demographic doesn't matter because they probably wouldn't watch anyway.

One thing people are going to have to get used to is that Dollhouse is a Friday night show. This is the only night of the week where it would be allowed to go through growing pains.
If it wasn't on Fridays, it would be dead by now. Fox would not have been so tolerant of the ratings - not just the raw #s but the downward trend - even with the $ concessions (lower budget, studio picking up more of the tab).
I hate to say it, but given the studio has funded a good portion of season two - if I was at Home Entertainment and it continues to tank (think under 0.6 in the demo), I would ask FOX to pull it off air, stick Glee repeats in it's place, FOX gets better ratings, then I get more money in DVD sales for lost episodes. Purely a business thing and it could give short term gain, and limits on going loss.

Of course, a more sensible option would be to find another lead in ASAP for DOLLHOUSE. HUMAN TARGET could be useful. Then double back them, and promote the shit out of them using HUMAN TARGET's budget and pair them as identity shows.
I agree on the tip about a lot of people checking out Dollhouse for the first time it seems. My dad and brother even watched on Hulu their own without me telling them that they should a gazillion times, I was so proud. I've got a couple of friends mildly interested in the show's premise too who have never been huge fans of Joss' previous work, so hopefully more people than not are checking it out this year based on word of mouth if nothing else!

And as sensible as that probably is from a business standpoint, gossi, I certainly hope that doesn't turn into the case. Unaired episodes always make me a little sad for the cast and crew that worked so hard on the episodes that never really see the light of day except for on DVD. I know my heart definitely broke a little when Felicia Day tweeted about "Epitaph One" not getting to air. :(
What we need is a friendly Senator to add "...for anyone who watches Dollhouse." to the free healthcare bill Obama is trying to get passed.

Have the admitting staff question them on admission. If they can't name at least three people Echo has been, throw them out!
jiggyfly, my heart was wounded over Epitaph One too. It annoys me when lots of money and talented people at thrown at a project, and then there's not enough resources/people/whatever to actually get people to watch the thing.

An amusing aside - if BROTHERS, TIL DEATH and DOLLHOUSE tank more next week, I expect FOX to be knocked off it's 18-49 status for the entire week. Which is epic fail.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-09-28 11:03 ]
While this is not great news I haven't lost faith in Dollhouse and am hopeful the numbers won't drop off much next week. The premiere was awesome and I loved every minute of it.

While problematic I don't think the advertising or time slot is entirely to blame. The show itself is high concept and unfortunately when it comes to tv it seems the majority of people like simple premises that are easy to miss for weeks and pick up a month later without missing anything, less plot twists and more voting to kick someone off and so on. Or maybe I am bitter cause I cant contribute to the ratings when I don't reside within the states.
Series usually drop a tick or two the 2nd episode. So in theory, provided it hasn't bottomed out, next week should be around 2.2 mil with 0.8-0.9 in the demo. If it doesn't drop it suggests there are enough of us to support it.
I have to say the season opener was a bit of a snoozer. I was really surprised. It seemed like we ended last season on a high note and with all this momentum only for this premiere episode to be completely blah.
So I guess the Moral of the story from Gossi, is that we all DO need to tweet and FB status about the show before Friday, and that it can make a difference. Particularly if the people we reach use iTunes or Hulu. We may never see those numbers, but FOX does, and it's a way to be counted if you aren't a nielsen viewer. Telling non nielsen viewers to watch by any other means doesn't help Dollhouse's cause one little bit, because they become part of the "represented viewers" and never actually counted.

So don't just say that it won't help without FOX backing it. Every 10 people we each reach who Hulu or iTunes, is 10 people they didn't have before. If we can add even 20,000 to the numbers of Hulu or iTunes views, it'll be noticed.
silent knight- are we back to blaming the masses for just not being savvy and smart enough to get DH?
I read silent knight, too, but did not necessarily perceive the same meaning in his/her words. Why assume something disagreeable? People wanting simple and straightforward and not having to watch every episode of something does not ipso facto mean that they're not savvy or smart. They may just be busy, or they want something different from TV. Dollhouse may be fun and jazzy and snazzy, but it requires attention and regular watching to make sense of it. Why is that a bad point to make?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-09-28 04:18 ]
Sort of going along with Dana and phlebotinin, it's not like it's that hard to follow along to DH. You can pick up on things really quick. There are people who get imprinted with other peoples personalities. I think the majority of the people could understand that. Maybe that same majority just aren't interested.
Actually, I was trying to say that I do think Dollhouse is a complicated show, one that requires close watching to get all the angles. The starting premise may be a cinch, but the twisting plot strands and the building history could get confusing if your cup of tea is to not have to watch every episode of a show. Which is fine. Doesn't mean you're stupid -- doesn't mean you aren't, either. Neither automatically follows. Nor is Dollhouse's success made or broken by it being the kind of show you have to follow closely to make sense of, too. There are other reasons people may or may not like it. I was simply trying to say that silent knight was making a decent point that wasn't necessarily a disagreeable one, i.e., slamming "the masses."
To be honest, the quality of Vows likely had little impact on the ratings. People had to actually watch in the first place to decide if they liked it, and the reality is they didn't turn up at all. That's the networks fault. If there was a big audience the first week and then nobody the second week, then we could (and should) say the episode wasn't the best.
Well, phlebotinin, this is what was said: "The show itself is high concept and unfortunately when it comes to tv it seems the majority of people like simple premises that are easy to miss for weeks and pick up a month later without missing anything, less plot twists and more voting to kick someone off and so on"

Not sure how else to take that but as a comment on the inability of most TV watchers to get what DH is all about, or rather, to invest the time and energy to do so. My take is different: the show is not written in a way that gets more people to watch. Fact is, I really don't know what the majority of people like or why. The polls are only part of the story, but programs such as Lost, Grey's, CSI all have long-term themes and arcs, and in some cases require far more attention (ie, Lost) than DH ever will. But hey, that's just my take.
Maurissa tweeted about the ratings.
"Friday night with an unfitting lead-in" is a whole lot better than cancelled after a season of disappointing ratings
To be honest, the quality of Vows likely had little impact on the ratings. People had to actually watch in the first place to decide if they liked it, and the reality is they didn't turn up at all. That's the networks fault. If there was a big audience the first week and then nobody the second week, then we could (and should) say the episode wasn't the best.

Which is why I find the apparent half-hour dropoff in viewership much more significant in terms of the show's overal health than just the opening number of viewers.

ETA:But yeah - I agree that this coming week's numbers are probably much more significant in the long run (After all, it's entirely possible that there were a significant number of negative flush events in restrooms of Neilson households around the half-hour mark.)

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2009-09-28 13:55 ]
Initially the half-hour dropoff worried me too. But after thinking about it a bit more, the dropoff doesn't look that bad. I think we can assume that at the start of Dollhouse viewers of Brothers were still around. They will have figured out very quickly that Dollhouse is a completely different program and decided to look for something more to their liking. Hence less viewers at the half-hour mark. Of course this is a bit simplified because there are people who do like very different kinds of programs, but many viewers tend to gravitate to the same kind of show for their entertainment.
What's kind of interesting is that the Brothers rerun that followed football yesterday got 3.73/1.7. Wonder if that will have any effect on the Friday numbers.
I think the primary problem isn't that Fox isn't doing its job, or that Joss & company aren't doing their job. The show is increasing in complexity and passion, decreasing in budget. Fox is advertising it, they just aren't advertising it correctly -- they have a very broad idea of what the 18-49 demo likes, and are trying to sell a brain show about the nature of relationships as "sexy", and well, that's wrong.

But above and beyond everything else, it's that Fox is the wrong place for this show. 1) on a cable network, these numbers wouldn't just not be bad, but would glow in the dark; 2) it's a heady science fiction premise, like Battlestar, and if the world were right, it would be taking it's place on the Sci-Fi Channel instead of a BSG redressing of the milquetoast Stargate universe on the SyFy Channel; 3) a cable network would allow more freedom under less ratings-centric scrutiny, and more Emmy grabs and attention grabbing moves. This show should be the new Battlestar, the new Mad Men, the new Nip/Tuck, all at once. It should have started with the pilot Joss made, and gotten us to where this season's premiere was by the middle of the first season. Instead, we've got network expectations (both of ratings and content) being pushed onto a cable idea. Network television is stuff like Lie to Me or NCIS, they're for people who work and have children and miss episodes because they were tailgating a football game or had to work late and don't bother to catch up. Cable is for people who take in TV the way people used to take in books.

HBO, Showtime, SyFy, or FX would have been a nice place for Joss to go, Amy Acker would have been the ideal choice for the lead, but this didn't go idea>pitch>channel>actor, this went channel>actor>idea>pitch>channel. Eliza had a production deal with Fox, and she wisely asked her friend Joss to make it for her. He's in a space right now where he made this show, and it had to be with ED and Fox, because that's how it was. I also think some of the problems with Eliza seem to have been more of a Harrison Ford-Blade Runner Voice Over thing. She didn't like the show changes, and it came through in her performances. The better written episodes (including the original pilot), the ones closer to the original concept, have had her best performances. The ones that seemed more like a rehash of an A-Team plot had cringey, phoned-in performances from her. Certainly, the others seem better for not dropping the ball like that no matter how bad an ep was, but Eliza had more crap to shovel in all of those, and was the producer, and had a more frustrating view on the show's problems.

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