More than 3 million people tuned in to see Megyn Kelly’s exclusive interview with the Duggar parents on Fox News Channel’s The Kelly File last night – the primetime show’s biggest audience of the year. Of that crowd, 866,000 fell in the news demo, which is its third-biggest demo number since the show launched in 2013.
In overall audience, the sit-down with the 19 Kids And Counting duo was the biggest thing on cable news last night, beating CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined by 87% in total viewers and 82% in the news demo. The Kelly File ranked No 2 on Twitter last night, according to Nielsen Twitter TV ratings, and #DuggarInterview was a trending topic for the hour. Kelly’s exclusive interview generated more than 17,000 tweets generating roughly 2.2 million impressions.
“We are fine whether they film us or not,” Jim Bob Duggar told Kelly last night, in re the Duggar family’s TLC series. The cable network pulled the show from its lineup after a police report surfaced saying oldest son Josh had fondled children, including some of his sisters, in 2002-03. “We’re gonna go on and live life. We’re gonna serve God and make a difference in the world,” the family patriarch told Kelly.
It was the Duggar parents’ first interview since In Touch broke the story that their now-27-year-old Josh had, when a teen, allegedly fondled underage girls, including four of his sisters. Their reality series 19 Kids And Counting had just wrapped its season; TLC pulled repeats off its slate as sponsors lined up to say they would not advertise on the program.
FNC also has planned a one-hour Kelly File Special for Friday night, in which two of Josh’s alleged victims/sisters, Jessa and Jill, talk to Kelly about the incidents. “I do want to speak up in his defense, against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist, some people are saying,” Jessa Duggar says in Friday’s interview.
“I’m like, ‘That is so overboard and a lie really.’ I mean, people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims,” Jessa said during the interview, which was promoted at the end of Wednesday night’s telecast. She described what her brother did as being “very wrong.”
Yesterday’s interview marked the first time any of Josh Duggar’s alleged victims had been named. Both police reports posted by In Touch redacted the names of the victims; the magazine did not mention the sisters’ names in its coverage.
Jessa is now in her early 20s and married to Ben Seewald and expecting her first child. Jill, also in her 20s, is married to Derick Dillard and has a child.
Kelly’s interview with these two particular victims might make it tough for TLC to salvage the franchise by scrubbing the 19 Kids And Counting mothership and replacing it with a spinoff that focuses on these two daughters who now are living away in separate houses from parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar who, according to police reports, waited more than a year to inform authorities of the alleged fondling of minors that had been going on in their household.
To that point, Kelly told Deadline yesterday, “[Jim Bob and Michelle] very much understand their show and reputation are on the line.” She added that the Duggars believe 19 Kids “has a chance still. It’s not totally done.”