Cox isn't the only "Friend" suffering this malady. Her former co-star Matthew Perry is learning about just how much audience interest -- or lack thereof -- there is in inside-media shows with NBC's hanging-by-a-thread "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." The hour-long drama has suffered in ratings all season but continues to attract the network's coveted "upscale" viewership. It's likely that the majority, if not all, of the 4 million "upscale" viewers are media professionals or Hollywood types, seemingly the only demo that's tuning in to this kind of programming.
NBC's similarly themed half-hour comedy "30 Rock" continues to pull in middling ratings despite a move to Thursdays, while HBO's choir-preaching "Extras" and "The Comeback" (which starred another "Friends" alum, Lisa Kudrow) both had Tinseltown-heavy premises and underwhelming first seasons on HBO, with only the former getting picked up for a second.
The only exceptions to Hollywood's misguided love affair with itself -- ABC's "Ugly Betty" and HBO's "Entourage" -- are the shows that have found a middle ground between relatable characters and behind-the-scenes minutiae. "Sex and the City" happened to have a columnist and publicist as its main characters, but they were also sex-starved, pun-prone and best friends in New York City, thus equaling a hit.
For "Dirt" to overcome the Hollywood curse and survive for a second season, FX may be wise to tone down the raunch and portray Cox in a less harsh, more "Devil Wears Prada"-esque light. Monica Priestley, anyone?