Slow start for 'Dirt'

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"Dirt" got off to a slow start in its second-season premiere.

The FX drama, starring Courteney Cox, averaged 1.7 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Sunday, a significant dropoff from the January 2007 series premiere (3.7 million) when comparing Live+Same Day data from Nielsen Media Research.

Season 2's premiere tally included 1.1 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo and 900,000 in adults 25-54.

An encore episode at 11 p.m. pulled in 817,000 total viewers.

"Dirt" will see a shortened season this time around; after the show's production was impacted by the writers strike, FX opted not to produce more episodes beyond the seven that had already been completed (HR 2/7). It's understood that the episode-order cutback does not affect "Dirt's" chances at a third-season renewal.

The show's first-season finale, which featured a much-publicized kiss between Cox and her former "Friends" co-star Jennifer Aniston, drew 2.4 million total viewers in March 2007, while Season 1 overall averaged 1.9 million.

Elsewhere in cable ratings news, the premiere of History Channel's new series "Battle 360" averaged 1.8 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Friday, making it the network's most-watched Friday-night original telecast ever. That included 769,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo.

"Battle" also was the second-most-watched series premiere ever on the network, behind "Ice Road Truckers."

Meanwhile, Disney Channel ended its monthlong "Phineas and Ferb-ruary" programming event on a high note. The new animated series "Phineas and Ferb" averaged 2.8 million total viewers, making it cable's most-watched original series during the event. It also was cable's No. 1 series in kids 6-11 (1.4 million) during the 29-day event.
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