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'Flavor’ Fades

Viewers aren’t giving as much love to celebreality star Flavor Flav.

Early viewership numbers for the third season of VH1’s popular Flavor of Love reality show is down 8% from last season as Flav once again searches for love amongst a group of women vying for his affections.

The show’s Feb. 11 premiere drew 2.8 million viewers, down from the 3.3 million the show drew in its Aug. 6, 2006, second season debut.

Viewership for last Monday’s episode (Feb. 18) dropped to 2.6 million viewers, down from the 3.2 million generated for the second episode of the series’ sophomore season.

Flavor of Love’s 2005 debut arguably launched VH1’s successful Sunday night block of celebreality shows that has also included Hogan Knows Best and currently features Rock of Love 2 with Bret Michaels and Scott Baio is 46 … And Pregnant.

Overall, Flavor of Love’s second season averaged 3.6 million viewers, but the series’ third season debut comes more than a year after 7.5 million viewers tuned into October 2006 sophomore season finale.

VH1 also moved the on-hour Love out of its familiar 9 p.m. Sunday slot to Mondays at 9 p.m. hoping to build on the success that Love spinoff I Love New York has generated on that night.

The Dec. 17 finale of I Love New York 2 — in which former Flavor Flav admirer Tiffany “New York” Pollard found a love of her own — set a viewership record for that franchise by drawing 5.4 million viewers.

A VH1 spokeswoman also said it’s too early to write off Flavor of Love, saying that viewership for past seasons of Flavor consistently build over time as viewers become more familiar with the contestants and as those contestants are ultimately eliminated.

Despite the sluggish start to Flavor of Love 3, Flav’s role with VH1 continues to grow. The network announced it will launch an online music competition that will give music producers a chance to help Flav create his next single release.

Through March 13, participants who enter the VH1’s “The Track with Flavor Flav” contest through the recently launched can submit samples of their best audio beats. Flav will then chose three finalists, with online users ultimately choosing the winner.

The network is hoping the contest will be as successful as a similar online competition, VH1’s The Score, which launched in conjunction with VH1’s Hip Hop Honors last fall. That contest, which sought out undiscovered hip-hop producers who competed for a chance to create and produce the official show score for the network’s annual hip hop awards ceremony, received close to 8,000 submissions, according to the network.