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ABC Family’s ‘The Fosters’ Surges in Second Week; Did Controversy Help?

Jennifer Lopez-produced drama about a foster family was targeted by anti-gay group

ABC Family drama “The Fosters” — assailed by One Million Moms for “pushing an agenda that homosexuality is acceptable”— saw a surge in viewership on Monday for its second episode.

The conservative group, a spinoff of the American Family Association, didn’t take too well to the new drama, which is exec produced by Jennifer Lopez’s production company and stars Teri Polo and Sherri Saum as an interracial married lesbian couple raising a mix of biological, adopted and foster children.

Even before the show was officially picked up to series last summer, OMM started a campaign to stop the show from airing; and in a statement on its website last week following the “Fosters” premiere, it urged members to write to specific advertisers of the first episode. But if it did anything, the controversy may have brought more attention to the drama.

The Fosters,” which received generally positive reviews from critics, was cable’s No. 2 scripted program in the 9 o’clock hour among females 12-34 — increasing 20% from its premiere to  798,000 viewers in the demo, according to Nielsen. It was also up 20% in total viewers (1.70 million vs. 1.42 million).

It meshed well with its lead-in, the season premiere of “Switched at Birth” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.66m), with “The Fosters” matching or building on “Switched” in the net’s target demos.

One Million Moms initiated a protest of the Ryan Murphy comedy “The New Normal” for NBC before it was in production last year. Last December, it objected to JC Penney’s use of Ellen DeGeneres as spokesperson in a Christmas-themed commercial.

Elsewhere Monday, the only scripted series to top “The Fosters” in females 12-34 on Monday at 9 was VH1’s “Raise the Floor” (1.0/3, 1.98m), which drew about 894,000 in the category and continues to be a good sked partner for the net’s unscripted series “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” at 10 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 1.65m).

Another young-skewing scripted show shining on Monday is MTV’s “Teen Wolf” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.11m), which was in line with its record-setting season premiere of the previous week. It led all of television for the 10 p.m. hour Monday in persons 12-34 (1.7 rating or about 1.55 million viewers in the demo).

At TNT, the season premiere of “Major Crimes” was solid (0.9/2, 5.02m), on par with its first-season finale last October. The series launched to more than 7 million viewers last August when it premiered after the series finale of “The Closer.”

“Major Crimes” was followed by the series premiere of “King & Maxwell” (0.7/2, 3.52m), which held about 70% of its lead-in. It certainly was a step up from TNT’s most recent Monday drama premiere, February’s “Monday Mornings” (0.3 in 18-49, 1.34m).

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