Sarah Palin's new TV show drew a bumper audience of almost five million people in its debut Sunday night, marking the largest viewership ever for a program launch on cable channel TLC, according to figures released on Monday.

"Sarah Palin's Alaska" -- an eight-episode series that is part travel show and part an inside look at the family life of the controversial Tea Party favorite -- was watched by 4.96 million people, most of them over 35 years-old, Nielsen data showed.

Sunday's episode showed the 2008 Republican vice presidential contender hiking glaciers, baking cakes with some of her five children, and encountering wild bears on a family fishing trip in her home state.