Megyn Kelly’s exclusive interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC reality program “19 Kids and Counting” scored in the ratings for Fox News Channel on Wednesday, standing as cable television’s most-watched program of the day.
The hourlong interview on “The Kelly File” averaged 3.09 million viewers, according to Nielsen national estimates — a 46% jump above the show’s Wednesday average during May (2.11 million) and its largest audience on any night in 2015. Excluding the night the Ferguson riots broke out (7.3 million), the high for “The Kelly File” remains 3.2 million viewers on a night last July with coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed.
“Kelly File” also drew roughly 866,000 viewers in the key news demo of adults 25-54, its third best delivery since the show launched in 2013. It ranked No. 2 in the demo among all original cable television programs on Wednesday.
“Kelly File” made FNC especially dominant in the cable news ratings world for the 9 o’clock hour, as its averages bested the combined CNN-MSNBC-HLN totals by more than 80% in both the demo and total viewers, according to Nielsen.
The Duggars, whose family has been featured on the TLC program since 2008, were making their first extensive comments regarding the molestation scandal involving their son, Josh. They detailed what happened when a 14-year-old Josh told his parents more than 10 years ago that he “improperly touched some of our daughters,” and explained their response to those events.
When asked by Kelly why the Duggars were even interested in launching a show about their family given the family history, Jim Bob said “we had nothing to hide. We’d taken care of all that years before.”
“19 Kids and Counting” was pulled from the air by TLC when news of the incidents broke, though it hasn’t been canceled by the network. The program, which was titled “17 Kids and Counting” when it bowed, established a series ratings high when 3.3 million tuned in for the show’s midseason return last September and then matched that when it kicked off its ninth season in February of this year. Its last episode to air (on May 19, two days before the 2006 police report was made public) drew 1.7 million, according to Nielsen estimates.