So much for viewer backlash against Jamie Lynn Spears.
The controversial pregnant teen star’s Zoey 101 series on Nickelodeon drew almost 12 million viewers during its Jan. 27 two-episode, fourth-season premiere.
The 8 p.m. season premiere episode, in which Spears’s Zoey character was forced to make a decision between staying at her boarding school and flying overseas to live with her parents, drew 5.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The subsequent installment attracted 6 million watchers on average.
The performance of both episodes nearly doubled the average of 2.94 million viewers for the series’ third season.
The two teen-targeted episodes ranked as the second and third most-watched shows on cable for the week of Jan. 21 through Jan. 27, topped only by Disney Channel’s tween-targeted telefilm Minutemen, which garnered 6.4 million viewers on Jan. 25.
Nickelodeon decided to go ahead with Zoey 101’s fourth season despite the 16-year old Spears’s controversial announcement in December that she was pregnant. Several media outlets called for Nickelodeon to cancel the show, saying that the pregnant Spears might be a negative influence to the show’s impressionable tween audience.
But the publicity over Spears’ pregnancy helped the show's third season-conclusion, a one-hour movie, draw a series-high 7.27 million viewers.