Despite the show's hilarious prehistory, Joss Whedon's Dollhouse miraculously made it all the way to its premiere on Friday night without being canceled in advance. Slightly less astonishing were the ratings — the show debuted to an unspectacular 2.0 among adults 18 to 49, with just 4.72 million people tuning in. So should Whedon fans start mailing dollhouses to Fox headquarters, or what?
The good news: Dollhouse's numbers improved on those of its lead-in, The Sarah Connor Chronicles (which scored a 1.3 rating), and doubled its viewership among women from the previous hour. It also finished second in its time slot, just behind ABC's Supernanny, whatever that is. Additionally, it was No. 1 with male demographics and made for Fox's highest-rated Friday series premiere in more than four years. And it did get better ratings than Don't Forget the Lyrics averaged, which Fox aired in the same time slot last fall. So, the network really has nothing to lose by keeping Dollhouse around for a couple of months.
The bad news: Dollhouse's was the lowest-rated series premiere of any scripted show this season, except for NBC's Crusoe. Even more ominous: Seven years ago, 400,000 more people tuned into the first-ever episode of Firefly (Whedon's last TV show, which aired on Fox in the same time slot and was canceled after eleven episodes).
Outlook: Not great, obviously! Since a second season of Dollhouse is probably too much to hope for, the question is, how many of the completed thirteen episodes will air before the plug is pulled? We'll bet twelve, since it would be just like Fox to make us buy a DVD to see the series finale.
Viewers Give Warm Welcome to Whedon's 'Dollhouse' [TV Week]
Fair Friday ratings for Fox [Variety]
'Dollhouse' debut gets decent ratings [Hollywood Insider/EW]
'Dollhouse' premieres soft; 'Terminator' dives [Live Feed/HR]