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‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Lifetime Series Scores Average of 2.1 Million Total Viewers

Lifetime says its six-part documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” garnered an average of 2.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings.

The series, which included interviews with #MeToo founder and civil rights activist Tarana Burke, musician John Legend and others, documents the decades of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. It aired across three nights, starting on Thursday, Jan. 3, concluding on Saturday, Jan. 5.

Among adults aged 25-54 and 18-49, 1.2 million tuned in; that includes 858,000 women aged 25-54 and 798,000 women 18-49.

The high-profile docuseries attracted higher-than-average viewership for Lifetime, which should expect the final numbers to only increase once the live-plus-seven figures roll in. The show has renewed interest in the allegations, keeping them in the headlines and reportedly even spurring legal action against the artist.

TMZ reported earlier Tuesday, citing sources close to the case, that the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia has opened a criminal investigation into the “Surviving” allegations.

For the week of Dec. 31, Lifetime says it had the top entertainment cable telecast among adults aged 25-54, women 25-54, adults 18-49 and women 18-49.

Variety’s Caroline Framke called the series difficult to watch but “impossible to look away (from)… as it should be.”

Brie Miranda Bryant, Lifetime’s senior vice president of unscripted development and programming, previously told Variety that the network had been encouraging viewers to organize watch parties for the documentary through their social media networks and turn that momentum into a “movement.”

Lifetime has scheduled an encore marathon of the entire six-hour series on Friday at 6 p.m.

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