TV | Inside TV

'Jon & Kate Plus 8' season 5 premiere shatters TLC records

The heavily promoted fifth-season premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8 posted record ratings for TLC on Memorial Day. The hour-long episode – in which tabloid cover queen Kate Gosselin admitted, “I have a lot of anger…this is not what I envisioned for us” – attracted a whopping 9.8 million viewers, which more than doubled the audience that tuned into the show’s season 4 finale in March (4.6 million). Early estimates also reveal that the premiere, which lured unprecedented numbers of women aged 18-34 and women 18-49, was TLC’s (and Jon & Kate’s) most-watched episode ever. It also trounced the broadcast networks, which aired mostly repeats because of the holiday (an original episode of The Bachelorette on ABC drew 6 million). Final ratings are due Wednesday.

The Gosselins released this statement today: “As many couples do, we are navigating a very difficult time. Our current situation brings us together around the children and some times sets us apart. We keep our faith that we will make the right decisions for our family.”

Monday’s episode focused on the sextuplets’ fifth birthday party, but a good deal of it was devoted to tense, one-on-one discussions between an off-camera producer and either Jon or Kate. Without specifically addressing how her husband has been accused of having an affair, the 34-year-old mother of eight spoke candidly about how Jon has “made poor decisions and we have to live with it” and how he “doesn’t remind me of the Jon I used to know.” For his part, Jon, 32, reiterated that he didn’t cheat on his wife and how “people are getting paid off to say whatever they want to say” in the tabloids – a direct reference to the barrage of press coverage about his late-night liaison with Deanna Hummel, 23. Jon also rued the day when his kids would Google him: “Hopefully, they’ll be mature enough to understand it’s all crap.”

Both parents talked about how they were committed to their children, but they wouldn’t address whether a split – either temporary or permanent – was in the cards. “I wish I knew,” said Kate, when asked what the future holds for them, although she did admit that a group picture taken at the sextuplets’ birthday party “could be our last.”

“We very swiftly turned into two different people,” Kate told the camera. “It’s difficult.”

Originally posted May 26 2009 — 6:45 PM EDT

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