‘Surviving R Kelly’ Drew In Almost Two Million Viewers, Breaking Lifetime Records

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Millions are tuning in to watch the highly discussed docuseries Surviving R. Kelly which debuted on Lifetime earlier this week. The six-part series is gaining a lot of steam online as it drew in millions of viewers over three days. The series documents the years of pedophilia and abuse allegations many women have brought against the R&B singer, which have been discussed in the media for some time now.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the show’s debut on January 3 brought in 1.9 million viewers, which was Lifetime’s best viewership in more than two years. Nielsen Media Research reported adults 18-49 brought in 1.1 million viewers, and 25-54 hit 1.2 million viewers. The report also said 837,000 women between 25 and 54 tuned in, with 767,000 women between ages 18 and 49 as well.

When a new show is that popular, it generally tends to take over social media. Nielsen Social Content Ratings also showed that Surviving R. Kelly had over 743,000 interactions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Those astounding numbers made the show the biggest social premiere for any series in Lifetime’s catalog.

The docuseries featured dozens of interviews from his alleged victims, family members, and co-workers from over the years. R. Kelly was found innocent by a jury for possessing child pornography, after a 2002 video circulated apparently showing the singer urinating on an underage girl. There are currently no charges against Kelly at this time, and the singer has vehemently denied allegations of abuse and pedophilia in the past. He has not spoken out about the docuseries at the time of this publication.

That doesn’t mean the singer wasn’t highly upset about the release of the show, and had originally threatened to sue Lifetime if they went ahead with the program. Now that the series is out there, time will tell if Kelly follows through with his promise against the network. It could be difficult for the singer, as filmmakers and producers took every precaution when putting together the series. Executive producer Dream Hampton made sure to take extra care when crafting the six-part show.

“We wanted irrefutable evidence. Without leading any of these women, they all had the exact same stories, even if their interactions with R. Kelly were 15 years apart. All of them have stories about being physically abused, being videotaped without consent, being denied food or bathroom privileges as a punishment. All of them have stories about rules that were established early on.”

Surviving R. Kelly has concluded, but all six episodes will air as a marathon on Lifetime Sunday.