NEW YORK (AP) - "Jon & Kate Plus 8" drew a huge audience for its fifth-season premiere, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Boosted by scandal and a media siege, the TLC reality series attracted 9.8 million viewers Monday night - more than double the audience for its fourth-season finale several weeks ago.

"Jon & Kate Plus 8" was already TLC's most popular show as it chronicled the challenges of raising eight young children. But there were newcomers watching Monday who may never have heard of the show until the recent rash of magazine covers and online bulletins.

Jon and Kate Gosselin, the parents of twins and sextuplets, have recently been swamped by media coverage that alleged they had cheated on each other.

The couple continued to deny the allegations on Monday's episode. They acknowledged their marriage is in trouble but lashed out at the media firestorm surrounding them.

"Did I ever think I'd see myself on the front of the tabloids?" Kate said, "or see those words that are there? No. It kills me!"

"I did not sign up for a public scrutiny of everything," said Jon.

However painful for the Gosselins, public scrutiny clearly did its part to make their season comeback an enormous hit.

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