The return of Jon & Kate Plus 8 unsurprisingly benefited from the publicity and tabloid coverage leading up to the premiere, as the episode was watched by more people than have ever watched a cable network reality show. Ever.
Overall, 9.8 million people watched, which is TLC’s biggest audience ever, and is “believed to be the largest ever for a nonscripted entertainment series on cable,” Variety reports. In March, 4.6 million watched the fourth-season finale, which was the show and network’s previous record.
More impressively, the show had more viewers than Jon and Kate’s relationship drama easily beat the average of 6 million viewers who watched ABC’s The Bachelorette 5 relationship drama.
The big question now is if Jon & Kate can sustain this, or if a big part of the audience consisted of people who just wanted to check it out and will never return.