'Alaska' becomes the top-rated launch in network's history

The premiere of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on Sunday night averaged about 5 million viewers — making it the No. 1 program launch in TLC history.

Bow of the eight-part series produced by Mark Burnett bested the 2003 launch of “What Not to Wear,” which previously held the record.

“Sarah Palin’s Alaska” also brought in 1.6 million viewers among adults 18-49, but mostly skewed old, with those 35 and older making up the majority of the audience (3.9 million).

The show improved TLC’s time-slot average over the past six weeks by triple digits, the cabler said.

TLC’s top series performer to date, of course, is “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” which approached 10 million viewers last year.

Also of note Sunday, AMC’s “Walking Dead” remained strong in its third week, rising a bit week to week to move above 5 million viewers. It held steady among adults 18-49, where its 3.3 million viewers in the demo were roughly on par with competing 10 p.m. broadcast dramas “Brothers and Sisters” on ABC and “CSI: Miami” on CBS.

NBC dominated overall with its “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, which was expected to top 20 million viewers and an 8 demo rating.

“SNF” has been the No. 1 program for 10 consecutive weeks.

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