A few months ago, we all let out a collective squee when we heard that Joss Whedon's web musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog would be headed to network TV. The cult hit debuted last night on The CW, and while hopes were high, ratings turned out to be very low.
Created during the 2008 writers' strike, the Whedon-written musical comedy seemed to have good TV prospects, given that three of its stars are major TV forces (How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris, Castle's Nathan Fillion and The Big Bang Theory's Simon Helberg) and another (Felicia Day) is a bona fide Internet mogul whose recent TV appearances include a guest spot on The CW's Supernatural. But despite trending on Twitter last night, Horrible's broadcast ratings tanked.
Airing in the 9 p.m. Eastern timeslot, the show managed only 570,000 viewers, finishing in last place with only half the viewers of the second-least-watched show of the night (The CW's Hart of Dixie, which pulled in 1.2 million viewers). In the all-important 18-49 demographic, Dr. Horrible managed only a 0.2, again half what Hart of Dixie (which was the second-lowest-rated show of the night) managed. When you look at its direct timeslot competition, the numbers look even worse. The second-worst show in the 9-10 p.m. slot, Fox's The Mindy Project, pulled in 3.56 million viewers and a 1.9 demo rating. No matter how you slice it, Dr. Horrible got clobbered.
Why did this happen? Well, it could simply be that nearly everyone who wants to see Dr. Horrible has seen it already, either during its original web run, on YouTube or through Netflix. Some of those 570,000 were probably new viewers, while others were no doubt die-hard fans, but it seems like many people decided to watch something else they'd never seen before.
Did you watch Dr. Horrible last night?