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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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October 10 2012

Ratings for last night's airing of Dr. Horrible on The CW. It got a 0.2. adults 18-49 rating.

Man, it is so cancelled.
It did only slightly worse than Jewel's LA Complex. I'm not sure what else could be expected of it.
They should of aired the pilot first.
Nathan, Felicia, Jed, Mo, and Zack live-tweeted it. I call it a success.
The CW should have aired it four years ago when it came out. Or during the summer or Christmas when nothing else is on. Hopefully no network executives hold these ratings against the actual production.
A prime-time airing, not on Fox and not in the Friday Night Death Slot? Success in my book.
I believe it edged out the last episode of The LA Complex, and was only slightly down on the launch.

But for context, I'm pretty sure you guys weren't drowning in Dr Horrible billboards, magazine adverts, TV trailers etc. Because there weren't any. It was a four year old web series which cost The CW peanuts airing on TV which managed to outpaced another of the network's (renewed) shows.
I love Dr. Horrible, but let's be honest: it's a genre piece, written and produced by genre people, performed by genre actors. It could never attract a viewership any larger than its fanbase.
Genre is driving Hollywood profit, so that isn't really an issue. Ultimately, Dr H could be replatformed with success, with advertising, I suspect. You wouldn't release a Dr H movie across the US without trailers on other movies.
Yeah, but I bet this is like the Velvet Underground. Only 200,000 adults 18-49 watched, but every one of them went on to make a mushortio.

Well, them and everyone who watched over the last 4 years.
I definately agree that advertising would have helped!! The only reason I knew about it was because of this site & facebook.
I admit I didn't watch, but I've watched it a dozen times throughout the last four years and everyone I know (who would be interested) has already seen it. This is equivalent to TNT airing 3 days of [insert random action movie]. Everyone's already seen it, some will tune in anyway, and it'll be a blip in ratings. Now, if it had come out back when Dr. Horrible was still super shiny and new, then it would have gotten more viewers.
You had to know it was on and many of the people who were watching Hart of Dixie were likely *not* the kind of audience that would sit through it. It's not the recipe for massive ratings success. The fact it was even on was the victory.
Genre is driving Hollywood profit, so that isn't really an issue.

Genre is only profitable when it reaches beyond its fanbase and captures the mainstrean audience. The fanbase for most any genre product is exceptionally small by Hollywood standards. Fans alone simply cannot generate the revenue needed for sustained success. If a product can't tap into the mainstream audience, it's sunk.
I didn't know it was on, and well, I own a copy of it, so why would I watch it on air?
In a traditional sense, yes. Hence, if you're aiming for that kind of scale: advertising. Dr H is really a different beast to that.
if I'm reading it right, .57 million people watched. some of those HAD to be new people who hasn't seen it before, and may now go on to be a very whedony converts ;) and watch all the other wonderful things we love!

I'm not a neilsen house to count for anything, but I watched in real time (yes I own it, and my husband laughed at me wanting to do so) because it was just phenomenal to me that it was getting aired on TV, especially after all this time.

PLUS, any time I can see Grrr. Argh. at the end of a live TV show fills me with joy!
I knew about this because Felicia Day noted it on her Facebook page. I know we want to make something good out of this, but these are pretty bad numbers. Nice to see it, it is not Joss' best work, and there y'are.
Everyone involved with this exercise made out profitably including CW (who were correct in estimating that a huge marketing spend probably wouldn't move the needle far enough to justify itself). Win win.

[ edited by IrrationaliTV on 2012-10-10 19:47 ]
The fact that 566,000 viewers is a BAD thing is just amazing to me. There's a lot of negativity in this post and I really don't appreciate that. We're the Whedonites, let's CELEBRATE, not tear it down. CW airing it wasn't meant to be a "lets renew or cancel this", it was a celebration of a cult hit web musical. I doubt CW thought it would attract millions of viewers. Airing a 4 year old musical that's easily accessible online/Netflix isn't to attract viewers, it's to celebrate the content.

So, enough negativity. I'm so glad Dr. Horrible aired on television :)
Maybe it should have been a Valentine's Day special.
lisatwingomez, I'm not sure if you've been around long enough to see ratings threads when something airs on TV, but prepare for teeth gnashing! ;)

Truthfully, it's a win win. The CW didn't pay much for Dr. H, that much is public record (I think the word "peanuts" was used), and it got more viewers than a show CW renewed with zero publicity spend. Plus, it was something aired online/Netflix/DVD/Blu-Ray 4 years ago. The business economics are different to standard here.

Hopefully new people found the show last night and are on board for future plans.
Anything bigger really would have been exceptional and c'mon, that wasn't going to happen. I agree with the "Cheer up" chorus. These are good numbers.
Also, as to why to air it - it was a lot of fun. When Dr. H first went online, joss wanted to make it an 'event', that lots of people gathered around at one time to watch. Hence, 3 parts. I'm not entirely sure that hung together (at first at least) as Whedonesque was full of people pointing out it didn't work internationally, then the server crashed. Last night we had an event. A mini-event. Many thousands of people gathered around their TVs and iPhones (other phones are available) and had a blast with it, including the writers and actors. Felicia dropped by the live chat thing. I laughed a lot. It was a joy to see thousands of people just... happy.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-10-10 20:18 ]
IMO, the best format to watch Dr. Horrible in is on a big movie screen. Some of the CSTS screenings included Dr. Horrible and the music really shines when it's blasting at you in high volume.
This is indeed the blackest day in the history of the fandom. Oh wait there was no advertising for it and it was on The CW. New people got to see it, it is amongst Joss' best work to date and we old timers got relive the fun times from four years. Everybody wins.
The fact that 566,000 viewers is a BAD thing is just amazing to me. There's a lot of negativity in this post and I really don't appreciate that.

Where you around when Dollhouse was on the air? Every week the ratings were posted, which were quickly followed by wailings and lamentations.
To be fair, Dean, the Dollhouse ratings were also followed (slightly less quickly, admittedly) by cancellation, so, y'know.

Obviously not a factor here, just saying--different situations.

[ edited by Jobo on 2012-10-10 22:31 ]
Even though I have more than one copy of Dr. H, and show it at CSTS Vancouver every year when we have permission, I watched it live last night, along with the live-tweeting of Jed, Maurissa, Felicia and Nathan as well as my entire Twitter feed. It was a fun event - maybe not as much fun as the original 'coming out' party, but much less frustrating! ;)

If showing it on the CW garners some new Whedon fans who want to check out some of his other work, it's even more of a win.
I don't understand why the fact that it aired on broadcast TV or its ratings there are particularly validating. I thought the whole point of DH as to show that new forms of presenting art could be both interesting and economically viable.
we old timers got relive the fun times from four years. Everybody wins.

Wow. Being around for Doctor Horrible makes me an old-timer now? Never thought that'd happen. I need to start smoking cigars or something...

I think it's just neat that it got aired on TV at all, whatever the numbers. Good times.
There were a LOT of commercials.
I didn't actually watch it because I can't stomach commercials, but I loved following the live-tweeting (and of course I could picture what was happening on screen.) It's just so wonderful to think that some channel-surfer out there went "Hey look, it's Castle and Barney in a weird musical thing!" Pure joy.
Is being around for the original web release of Dr. Horrible the new "I listen to bands that don't exist yet"? :)

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