While few people watch Damages now that it is on DirecTV, that does not change the fact that the show is still high quality scripted television. Actors are attracted to great content and that is probably why Ryan Phillippe will be on the next season of Damages for a ten-episode story arc as a ‘Julianne Assange’-type character.
The ratings are so small now that it is negligible, and without replays on a more highly distributed channel, there lacks definition on the show’s actual popularity. That is why the series’ prospects for renewal is a crapshoot for a season beyond the show’s fifth. Given its level of talent in Glenn Close and Rose Byrne, contract extensions might by tricky given the value of the show to DirecTV which only the distributor is aware of.