Friday night death slot indeed.
The series premiere of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse was seen by just 4.7 million viewers on Friday night and earned a 2.0 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and 6 share, below even the network's modest expectations for the series, the Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reported.
Dollhouse was beaten in the 9 p.m. hour by ABC's Supernanny (8.5 million viewers, 2.2/7) and is the lowest-rated drama series premiere on a major broadcast network this season, aside from NBC's now-defunct Crusoe, the site reported.
Dollhouse was paired with the midseason return of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which moved from its previous Monday-night timeslot, and that show also saw its ratings fall: 3.7 million viewers, for a 1.3 rating and 5 share. Terminator came in third place in the hour and hit a series low (by like 27 percent), Live Feed reported.
Terminator beat NBC's Howie Do It, but not by much. Both CBS' Ghost Whisperer (8.9 million, 2.4/8) and ABC's Wife Swap (4.3 million, 1.5/5) did better.
Fox had hopes at least of coming out ahead of ABC's reality block. But Terminator was sinking in the ratings earlier this season, and Dollhouse has suffered from negative buzz and creative trouble for months.
Update: Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider has an alternate take on the Dollhouse ratings: "The mythological drama starring Eliza Dushku attracted 4.7 million viewers—a pretty decent jump over the eyeball levels for The Sarah Connor Chronicles at 8 p.m. (which lured a mere 3.7 million), according to fast national ratings. In fact, Dollhouse helped Fox double its viewership levels among women versus Chronicles and helped the net finish in second place among adults 18-34 and in first place across key male demos for the night. So what does this mean for Dollhouse's long-term prospects? Although 4.7 million isn't that great—Fox typically averages 5.5 million on Fridays—the Whedon drama has a better chance of making it over the long haul if it stays put on the night. In fact, network insiders have long cautioned that if the series were scheduled earlier in the week and ended up attracting these kind of (low) viewership levels, it would have been axed by its second or third airing. So relax, Whedonites—Dushku and Co. appear safe for now."