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DVR Numbers Give ‘Dollhouse,’ ‘Fringe’ Big Boosts

Might not be enough to save both shows, but is definitely some silver lining


It’s almost becoming a broken record. But if there is ever any better proof that a network is airing a program in a bad timeslot, it should be the number of people who choose to DVR a show and watch it later.

Maybe that will get Fox’s attention, especially when it comes to “Dollhouse” and “Fringe.” Both shows have suffered significantly in their timeslots, “Dollhouse” banished once again to Fridays while “Fringe” is made the network’s sacrificial lamb to shows like “CSI” on CBS and “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC.

Live numbers might be in the tank, but those who choose to record the show and watch it later in the week are actually extraordinary.

“Dollhouse,” for example, gets a 55.6 percent audience boost when live plus-seven numbers are added in, according to a report from Media Life Magazine. Live plus-seven represents the audience that records a show and watches it within a week of its airing.

While DVRing might not be a good thing for advertisers, since viewers can fast forward through commercials, it does give everyone involved an idea of what a show’s total audience can be. And no other show has anywhere near that high of an audience boost when timeshifters are factored in.

In fact, the only show that comes close is “Fringe.” When DVR numbers are added, the show starring Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson, gets just under a 41 percent boost.

One of “Fringe’s” creators, J.J. Abrams, recently told Entertainment Weekly that he isn’t too worried about the show’s fate, because Fox knows it’s in a tough timeslot. But this loss in potential live viewers may eventually be enough to convince Fox to move “Fringe” into a better timeslot (like maybe back to Tuesdays?)

Following “Dollhouse” and “Fringe,” the third largest boost from DVRing is with “Heroes” on NBC, which increases its audience by nearly 31 percent.

The other two genre shows that get strong adjustments to its audience bottom line thanks to timeshifters are “FlashFoward” on ABC with a 23.5 percent jump, and “Big Bang Theory” on CBS, which gets an 18 percent increase.

By the way, if you’re wondering if Fridays is a bad day for television, take a look at this. In five episodes on Fridays, “Brothers” on Fox earned an overnight average of a 1.6 rating/3 share, according to Fast National numbers from The Nielsen Co. On Sunday, it made its first appearance in its new timeslot of 7 p.m. ET, and earned a 3.4/6, a 112 percent increase over its original timeslot.

The DVR boosts are based on adults 18 to 49, a key advertising demographic, for the season through Oct. 25.

“Fringe” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox, while “Dollhouse” broadcasts Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on the network. “Heroes” is on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET On NBC, while “FlashForward” is on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

“Big Bang Theory” airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

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