UPDATED: The emotional tete-a-tete between Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith on Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk” drew a huge audience in its first 24 hours of release, although it’s not clear at this point if that set a record as the social site’s most-viewed original episode in that time period.
Within 24 hours after it was posted Friday at noon PT, the 12-minute segment, titled “Jada Brings Herself to the Table,” had been viewed more than 15.4 million times. That’s according to Facebook’s public counter that tabulates a view if it has been watched for at least 3 seconds.
Under a different metric, the one-day record holder for views among Facebook Watch originals is a “Red Table Talk” episode from March 2019 in which Pinkett Smith talked to Jordyn Woods about rumors she had sex with NBA star Tristan Thompson, the father of Khloe Kardashian’s daughter. The Woods segment registered 7.5 million users who had watched for at least one minute, according to Facebook. A Facebook rep told Variety that the 60-second view counts for the July 10 episode of “Red Table Talk” aren’t officially tabulated yet.
In the 12-minute episode, titled “Jada Brings Herself to the Table,” the celeb couple discusses past turmoil in their marriage, including Pinkett Smith’s relationship with singer August Alsina while she and Will were temporarily separated. (Watch it at this link.)
According to Pinkett Smith, the conversation was recorded last week; it premiered Friday on Facebook without advance notice, aside from her July 2 tweet in which she said, “There’s some healing that needs to happen…so I’m bringing myself to The Red Table.”
The intense interest surrounding the candid conversation cements “Red Table Talk” as Facebook’s top original program. And it reinforces the social giant’s strategy of leaning into unscripted programming, as it has scaled back on scripted originals.
Facebook earlier this year announced a three-year renewal of “Red Table Talk” that will keep the show exclusively on the platform through 2022. The series is hosted by Pinkett Smith alongside her daughter, Willow Smith, and mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris (aka “Gammy”), covering a range of topics including sex, relationships and parenting. Last year it earned a 2019 Daytime Emmy nomination, the first for a Facebook show.
About the most recent episode, Variety TV critic Caroline Framke wrote, “It’s a perfect distillation of what ‘Red Table Talk’ and the Pinkett-Smiths do best: dissecting a controversial topic with meticulous consideration, an eye for relating it back to the audience, and just enough intrigue to keep people guessing as to what’s truly going through their heads.”
“Red Table Talk” debuted in May 2018 and has aired 62 episodes over three seasons to date on Facebook Watch. The show has 9.2 million followers on Facebook, along with several discussion groups including the official main forum that currently has 629,000 members.
The series is produced by Westbrook Studios with Pinkett Smith, Ellen Rakieten, Miguel Melendez and Jack Mori serving as executive producers. Facebook also has ordered an offshoot, “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” in the same roundtable format featuring singer Gloria Estefan, her daughter, Emily Estefan, and her niece Lili Estefan, also produced by Westbrook Studios.
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Clarification: An earlier version of this story said the July 10 episode of “Red Table Talk” set a record for most views in the first 24 hours of any Facebook Watch original. However, that may not be the case. The July 10 episode views reported via Facebook’s on-site counter represent number of views of at least 3 seconds. The viewing numbers for the Jordyn Woods episode from March 2019 represented viewers who watched for at least 60 seconds; currently, the viewer numbers for the July 10 episode under the 60-second standard are not available, according to Facebook.