‘Janet Jackson’ Is Lifetime’s Most-Watched Doc Since ‘Surviving R. Kelly’

And got off to the best start for a nonfiction program across all of cable since ESPN’s “The Last Dance”

janet jackson
Lifetime/A&E Networks

Lifetime’s Janet Jackson four-hour docuseries averaged 3.1 million viewers across Lifetime and A&E. The delivery on Lifetime was the cable channel’s best for a nonfiction program since “Surviving R. Kelly” in early 2019.

“Janet Jackson.” — the documentary series’ official, stylized title — got off to the best start for any nonfiction program on all of cable since “The Last Dance” about Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, aired on ESPN and ESPN2 in Spring 2020.

Here’s how “Janet” broke down, per episode, according to Nielsen:

  • Hour 1:  2.8 million viewers
  • Hour 2:  3.2 million viewers
  • Hour 3:  3.0 million viewers
  • Hour 4:  3.2 million viewers

The Janet doc also accrued 3.7 million video views across Lifetime’s and A&E’s TV Everywhere platforms. Tallying up all of the airings on linear and all of the video views on digital, “Janet Jackson.” reached more than 15.7 million (unduplicated) total viewers.

That all-in sum includes numbers from Adobe Analytics, as Nielsen does not measure those particular digital platforms.

The Benjamin Hirsch-directed documentary included Jackson reflecting on the controversy over her 2014 Super Bowl halftime show performance with Justin Timberlake as well as commentary by friends including Mariah Carey, Regina King, Samuel L. Jackson and Missy Elliott.

The filmmakers were granted exclusive access to archival footage and the “Control” singer’s never-before-seen home videos.

The Janet Jackson doc premiered simultaneously on Lifetime and A&E on Friday and Saturday. It was also available to stream on Hulu with a Live TV subscription, or on Sling TV or Philo.