TLC reality show premieres to 9.8 million viewers

A record series aud of nearly 10 million tuned in Monday to the season premiere of TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” making it the night’s most-watched program.

The big tune-in — believed to be the largest ever for a nonscripted entertainment series on cable — hardly comes as a surprise given the tabloid nature of reports surrounding the family. Jon and Kate Gosselin have been featured prominently on the cover of magazines over the past month, with rumors of infidelity and perhaps divorce swirling around the couple.

Nielsen preliminaries show that an average aud of 9.8 million watched Monday’s fifth-season preem — a record for the show as well as the cabler. The previous high for “Jon and Kate” was the 4.6 million who watched the show’s fourth-season finale in March.

Elsewhere, on a night when the broadcast nets took a back seat, ESPN probably claimed the No. 2 program with game 4 of the NBA playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets. Numbers were not available Tuesday, but Saturday’s Game 3 on ABC drew a big 8.73 million viewers — making it the net’s most-watched conference final to date.

And the Alphabet will obliterate that record if the best-of-seven series, tied at two games apiece, advances to a Game 7 on Sunday. ESPN will air the next two games, tonight and Friday.

ABC’s “The Bachelorette” came back to earth in its second week (prelim 2.1/6 in 18-49, 6 million viewers overall), declining 30% from its preem, when it aired behind “Dancing With the Stars.” It led into nothing-special scores for the second-season opener of “Here Come the Newlyweds” at 10 o’clock (prelim 1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.0 million).

NBC’s “Medium,” headed for CBS in the fall, led the broadcast nets in the 10 o’clock hour with a prelim 2.1/6 in 18-49 while drawing 7.7 million viewers overall.

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