'Dr. Horrible' TV ratings kinda horrible

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This was one of the biggest mysteries of the fall: How many people would tune in to watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on The CW? How many might watch a a low-budget, if beloved, web series on television after it’s been free online for years?

Here’s the answer: 566,000 viewers and a 0.2 in the adult demo.

Is that good? Bad? Well, if Dr. Horrible were a new show this would be as terrible as Bad Horse’s whinny. It’s also less than The CW’s program in this slot last week, the very little-seen music competition series Next (you have no idea what I’m referring to, do you?). But Dr. Horrible is not a new show. Another person could look at these number and go: Wow, a video that’s been on YouTube for four years got 566,000 viewers! And a more flattering comparison is The CW’s summer show The LA Complex, which only did a little better in its premiere with 646,000 viewers.

One suspects if a person had any urge to see Dr. Horrible, they’ve already watched it to their heart’s content (of course, the same could be said for 1965′s A Charlie Brown Christmas, yet that special wins its time slot nearly every year). Viewing likely was driven by hardcore fans celebrating the novelty of getting to watch the show on the old fashion big box, and a few curious lookie-loos who never caught it online. Lead-in Hart of Dixie had 1.2 million and a 0.4 ratings, down from last week’s premiere. Oh, and here’s an update on the Dr. Horrible sequel.

Meanwhile, good news for NBC (again, odd to type that this fall, yet it’s quite refreshing): The Voice (11.9 million, 4.4) climbed from last week’s clip show to rule the night. The boost helped Go On (7 million, 2.8) pop up 33 percent, with New Normal (4.9 million, 2.0) improving 18 percent in the adult demo. Parenthood (5 million, 2.0) perked up 25 percent. This just goes to show how crucial one hit series can be to a network. Some people say: Oh, time slots don’t matter anymore because everybody uses DVRs. But last night demonstrates how having a big draw at 8 p.m. can still boost every show across the night’s grid.

CBS had NCIS (18.1 million, 3.3) down 11 percent, NCIS LA (15.1 million, 2.9), down 6 percent and a steady Vegas (11.8 million, 2.0). With Vegas leveling off this week, I expect CBS will give the Dennis Quaid drama a full season pickup within the next few days.

ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (13.2 million, 2.1) and Private Practice (6.1 million, 1.6) were unchanged.

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