By James Hibberd
Updated January 28, 2011 at 10:13 PM EST
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This surprised me: FX’s Archer felt like it had the buzz to climb for its second season premiere but, nope, the animated series cult favorite slipped a bit.

Archer returned last night to 1.5 million viewers, down 17 percent from last January’s series premiere, with 0.8 in the adult demo. The numbers are higher, however, than the show’s first season average. (“Like that makes it better” — I know).

Meanwhile, over in Crazy Blockbuster Cable Ratings Land, MTV’s Jersey Shore nearly tied last week’s all-time high with 8.8 million viewers (Archer faced Shore, btw, which may have impacted things. Shore is arguably, as one FX insider put it, “the American Idol of basic cable”).

Also: Three million viewers tuned in for the 200th episode of A&E’s Dog the Bounty Hunter on Wednesday night, making it the most-watched episode since 2006. While a new episode of Storage Wars became A&E’s most-watched episode yet with 3.3 million viewers.

While over on Syfy earlier this week, the debut of reality competition Face Off drew 1.4 million viewers and about 900,000 adults 18-49 — the network’s best adult demo draw for a new reality show since Ghost Hunters in 2004.

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