Joss Whedon Delivers On His Promise of Low Ratings

I mean, did you really think it would be a hit? Joss "Buffy" Whedon's new Fox series Dollhouse had television's second lowest-rated premiere of the season, after something called Crusoe. Its lead-in, Terminator, also tanked.

Dollhouse, an Eliza Dushku-starrer about people reprogrammed with new personalities to complete tasks and fulfill wishes, earned about 4.7 million viewers and a low 2.0 share of adults 18-49 on Friday. It's not surprising that the show fared badly. Friday night is a veritable elephant graveyard of doomed and scuttled series and Whedon the Show Creator has never really had large numbers behind him. Critically-lauded cult status, yes. Bochco or even Kelley-sized ratings? Nay. We'll have to wait and see how long Fox soldiers on with D-house—it might depend (in very small part) on the rabidity of devoted Whedonphiles.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, another nerd show I sorta liked, has been swan diving for months. Last year it was television's highest-rated new series of the strike-plagued season. On Friday it garnered just 3.7 million viewers. Tough for a show that just got moved from a far more lucrative Monday night frame.

So Fox's years-long attempt to capitalize on the once-glorious sci-fi success of The X-Files (which started off on Fridays before moving to Sunday nights) continues to fail. Their big J.J. Abrams show Fringe has stumbled, and now these two loud misfires. Thank god for the otherworldly alien beep-boops of American Idol's Paula Abdul. Otherwise the network would seem terrestrial.

[THR]