TLC said the debut of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" had 4.96 million viewers, below the 9.8 million debut of "Jon & Kate" season five. Still, the nearly 5 million viewers (according to fast national numbers) was above the 1.1 million TLC is averaging this season, by one measure.
In addition, the network said its performance in household ratings and total viewers made it the top-performing series premiere in TLC history.
Among women 25 to 54, Palin had 1.1 million viewers Sunday, compared to a TLC season average of 365,000.
There have been suggestions that the series hosted by Palin, the 2008 vice presidential candidate, and "Alaska: Surviving The Last Frontier" resemble a campaign commercial for her, if she runs for president in 2012.
Palin was an active campaigner in the recent midterm season. She was successful in about half of the races she endorsed, but appears to have been ineffective in her home state, where a candidate she opposed is on the brink of winning.