Saturday, May 18, 2024

UPDATED Janet Jackson Scored Big Numbers Across Lifetime-A&E Over Weekend, Over 15 Million Viewers


The first two parts of the Janet Jackson documentary aired Friday night, and they were hits.

Lifetime-A&E played the two parts across both networks about nine times, and the numbers seem to add up to around 9 million viewers. The biggest audience was Lifetime at 9pm with 2.114 million viewers.

(UPDATE TUES 2:15PM) Lifetime says the total for the whole weekend was over 15.7 million viewers counting in Saturday, Sunday, on TV and streaming platforms.)

The Friday night installments were the best because Janet’s got the two husbands in the rear view mirror, didn’t have NDA’s with them, and the filmmakers weren’t constrained in their story telling.

The Saturday night chapters, 3 and 4, were more problematic. Part 3 was mellow and trod old ground. Part 4 was just filled with lies, fabrications, and half-truths.

Completely scrubbed from the documentary is Janet’s third marriage, to the father of her son, Wissam Al Mana.  He simply doesn’t exist in this account of Janet’s life. She brags about being a mother but how did she acquire this child? There’s no explanation.

al Mana split from Janet two months after the baby was born. During the short marriage, Janet was seen wearing Muslim garb and was rumored to be converting from Jehovah’s Witness to her husband’s religion. The doc never addresses any of this, or the enormous settlement she is said to have received in the divorce. We can surmise that the money came with a legally zipped lip.

So Part 4 especially feels like an infomercial and not a documentary. We learn nothing about Janet’s career after the split. the fact that some tours didn’t happen or were canceled, that records didn’t sell anymore, nothing.

The worst part of all this is Janet not being real about her abusive father, Joseph. She feared him, and hated him. He had a mistress for a long time, and illegitimate daughter. When Janet and her mother found out, they went after Joseph physically.

Right before he died, Joseph went to Brazil for an 88th birthday bash put together by one of his many lackeys. He expected to party hard. Instead whatever he did caused a heart attack and strokes. It was Janet who had fly to Sao Paolo and bring him back on a plane that was likely paid for by al Mana. Is any of this in the four hour doc? NO.

But A&E-Lifetime did very well on Friday night. We’ll see soon if that carried over to Saturday and Sunday.

More numbers to come…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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