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‘Damages’ draws 1 million to DirecTV bow

Total based on four telecasts, not single showing

In the July 13 premiere episode of its new season, “Damages” attracted slightly more than 1 million viewers over four telecasts on DirecTV.

The satcaster declined to reveal aud totals for the debut telecast, rather offering only the higher live-plus 7 number.

DirecTV said it was happy with the “Damages” returns, and added that it had performed better than the final-season premiere of “Friday Night Lights,” which drew just over 900,000 viewers in live plus 7.

However, Sony Pictures TV-produced “Damages” is far more expensive than “Friday Night Lights” — Glenn Close is paid a sizable salary — and the acclaimed high school football drama was shot on a small budget in Austin, Texas.

Total viewers for “Damages” are much smaller on DirecTV than FX, the former cable home of the series. However, FX has a much wider total audience reach, with approximately five times as many households than the 19 million that receive DirecTV.

Ratings for “Damages” had been troubled for most of its run on FX, which canceled the show after season four. After months-long negotiations, DirecTV came in and decided to air a new season on its renamed Audience Network. DirecTV is contracted for a 10-episode fifth season as well.

The series premiered on FX to 3.7 million viewers in 2007 and fell drastically to 1.7 million for the season-two debut. Less than a million tuned in for the season-three finale.

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