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'Jon & Kate Plus 8's fifth-season premiere sets series ratings records

By Reality TV World staff, 05/26/2009 

Being on magazine covers may be "hell" for Jon & Kate Plus 8 star Kate Gosselin but it's apparently ratings gold for her family's TLC reality show.

All the recent media coverage of Jon and Kate Gosselin's alleged extramarital activities powered Monday night's premiere of the show's fifth season to record ratings.

Jon & Kate Plus 8's fifth-season premiere averaged 9.8 million overall viewers and 4.3 million viewers in the Women 18-49 demographic TLC targets, Broadcasting & Cable reported Tuesday. 

Both figures represent series highs and smash the previous numbers set by TLC's broadcast of Jon & Kate Plus 8's fourth-season finale in March.  The fourth-season finale -- which aired on March 23 just as initial tabloid reports that the couple's marriage may be on the rocks emerged -- averaged 4.6 million viewers and 2.07 million viewers in the Women 18-49 demographic.

In addition, Jon & Kate Plus 8's fifth-season premiere also averaged a 9.1 rating among Women 18-34, a 3.5 rating among Men 18-34, and a 6.3 rating among Adults 1-34 -- all of which represent the highest ratings figures in TLC's history, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

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TLC had heavily promoted Monday night's Jon & Kate Plus 8 broadcast as featuring the couple's first side-by-side interview since new reports that Jon allegedly had an affair with a 23-year-old schoolteacher surfaced late last month.

Although they appeared side-by-side for a brief portion of their interviews, the vast majority of their interviews were conducted separately and were structured around footage of their sextuplets' fifth birthday party earlier this month. 

The premiere began with Kate stating that Jon had decided he "needed a weekend off" and explaining she was planning the children's party alone.  Jon later returned in time for the party, however he arrived at it separately and the couple appeared to avoid each other and barely speak during the celebration.

During their brief joint interview, both Jon and Kate suggested their marriage may be heading for divorce.

"I can only speak for myself, I am here,"  Kate said when asked what the future held for their relationship. "I am here every minute that working doesn't require me to be away."

"I'm here for my kids," Jon added.

During her individual interview, Kate suggested that the birthday party may have marked the family's last family photo opportunity.

"I remember thinking 'This possibly could be, maybe, I don't know, our last family picture,' so I knew it was important to do," Kate said.

"Parents of multiples have like triple the divorce rate and [we thought] we were going to beat that, but I don't know if I can say that anymore," she added.  "Very swiftly we've turned into two very different people and it's just hard."

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