Janet Jackson’s four-part documentary on Lifetime was the network’s most-watched non-fiction show since Surviving R. Kelly three years ago, and viewership is continuing to grow.
The documentary series debuted Friday and Saturday night on Lifetime and was simulcast on the A&E network. With the musician and her manager-brother Randy listed as executive producers, the series was an intriguing look at a reclusive singer yet also received criticism for issues skirted or left out entirely.
The first part on Friday was seen by 2.8 million people on live TV, and another 1.2 million in the next few days either digitally or on demand, the Nielsen company said. Part two had a similar viewership of 4.3 million, Part three had 3.7 million and the final part had 3.8 million.
Those numbers are expected to grow with delayed viewing over the next few weeks.
Janet was filmed over a five-year period following Jackson’s 2017 State of the World Tour, the series invites viewers into the world of the notoriously private superstar, with the first two episodes looking back on her rise from child star and younger sister of the Jackson 5 to her establishment as a pop supernova with the meteoric success of 1986’s Control and 1989’s Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814.
Though some fans were disappointed that the series skipped over some of the more controversial elements of the singer’s personal and professional life, it did tackle Jackson’s first experience of racism when the family moved to Los Angeles, as well as her late father/manager Joe Jackson’s refusal to let her attend college after hearing a melody she’d recorded in the family’s home studio. It also touched on how her run on the show Fame was marred by then husband James DeBarge’s struggle with drugs.