Jon & Kate Divorce Episode Draws Record Ratings

Entertainment Jun. 23, 2009 AT 4:30PM
Kate Gosselin and Jon Gosselin Kate Gosselin and Jon Gosselin sighting at Mr. Chows on March 24, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: COP/Buzzfoto/FilmMagic

Monday's much-hyped episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 - in which Jon and Kate Gosselin finally announced they're divorcing - proved to be ratings gold for TLC.

A record 10.6 million viewers tuned in to the one-hour episode. (It was also the most-watched show among women 18-49 and persons 18-49.) In comparison, the show's season 5 debut on Memorial Day attracted 9.8 million watchers.

See the Gosselin family through the years

On Tuesday, the network announced it has halted production of the show until August to give the family "some time off to regroup." (A retrospective of the Gosselins' 10 years of marriage airs June 29.)

See how Jon & Kate spent their summer

Experts are split whether the show can survive. Marc Berman, senior television editor at Mediaweek, tells Usmagazine.com: "Once all of this dies down and Jon and Kate aren't in the news anymore, this could be a problem for the show. They divorce, they move on with their lives and so do the viewers."

See more controversial photos of Jon and 23-year-old girlfriend Deanna Hummel

Robert J. Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, says the show has lost its identity.

"It's like if The Cosby Show, mid-season, suddenly became Married With Children," he tells Us. "I would not want to bet what's left of my retirement fund on the ongoing success of this show."

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