Though I know it was posed as a rhetorical question, I couldn’t resist answering it anyway. Of course Dollhouse ratings matter!
Is one week’s worth of data predictive of what will happen? Nope, it’s not. But we have the other 12 airings of Dollhouse from last season, too. Last Friday night’s ratings weren’t sharply lower than the season one finale – in fact, they were basically flat, down slightly in viewers. The problem is that the season one finale was down sharply from the season one premiere (a 1.0 live+SD adults 18-49 rating vs. a 2.0 for the premiere).
That’s not something FOX isn’t going to notice. FOX will also notice that the Dollhouse season two premiere underperformed Brothers, an encore of FlashForward by 40% and Smallville on the CW (though Smallville only had 46,000 more 18-49 viewers), and that a Cops rerun on Saturday night bettered Dollhouse by 50% (1.5 rating – though as is often the case, the rerun of Cops at 8:30 beat out the new episode of Cops at 8p; it had a 1.4 rating).
What FOX hoped would happen
Say what you will about FOX’s lower expectations for Dollhouse, they expect more than a 1.0 rating. I don’t think FOX is looking for much; my guess would be a 1.3 average Live+SD adults 18-49 rating. Heck, at this point, even a 1.2 rating would be a glimmer of hope. But in order to achieve those averages Dollhouse would have to do something we’ve never seen it do before: consistently improve its 18-49 rating, and by more than 1 tick from last week.
I’m not sure how easy that will be; especially with ‘Til Death as its lead-in this week and goes up against the premiere of Stargate Universe on Syfy. Though none of the reviews for SGU I’ve read have been particularly good, I am interested to see the ratings for SGU vs. Dollhouse. Though I think in general slightly more people will be watching the broadcast networks this Friday than last, the circumstances don’t seem ideal for Dollhouse ratings improvements.
What will happen tonight?
I could see Dollhouse ratings improving a tick this week to get to a 1.1, but I could also see them going down a tick or two. So my guess would be in the range of a .8-1.1. I don’t see that being a happy range for getting a back 9. I hope I’m wrong, but either way, we’ll always have Virtual Echo.
Special note: ‘Til Death’s ratings really don’t matter. From what we hear Sony practically gave the show to FOX for free to get the show in syndication. Whatever Dollhouse’s reduced costs this season, it’s not in the realm of “practically free”.