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'Jon and Kate' draws record 9.8

May 26, 2009 | 12:05 pm

6a00d8341c630a53ef01156f896413970c-120wi The much-anticipated season premiere of TLC's reality show "Jon and Kate Plus 8" drew a record 9.8 million viewers and over 4 million women in the 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. The program was first among all networks in viewers.

The show, which follows Jon and Kate Gosselin and their eight kids, has gotten a ton of tabloid attention as a result of Jon Gosselin's being photographed with a young woman. US, People and the National Enquirer have been feasting on the Gosselins' struggling marriage as have the network morning shows and even CNN's Larry King.

TLC has been in the awkward position of getting lots of free publicity while at the same time not wanting to seem like it was exploiting the Gosselins (anymore than they already are). The network had to rethink how to shoot the pilot to address all the attention, and the episode was literally in production just hours before its premiere Monday night.

There was a slight trickle-down effect from "Jon and Kate" as the premiere of TLC's "Cake Boss" drew 3.2 million viewers and tripled its performance in key demographics.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Jon Gosselin. Credit: Bradley C. Bower/Associated Press