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Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s raw ‘Red Table Talk’ episode smashes Facebook originals viewing record

The emotional tete-a-tete between Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith on Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk” has set a new record as the social site’s most-viewed original episode in the first 24 hours.

Within 16 hours after it was posted Friday at noon Pacific, the 12-minute segment, titled “Jada Brings Herself to the Table,” had been viewed more than 12 million times. That has already topped the previous one-day record holder for views: a “Red Table Talk” episode from March 2019 with Jordyn Woods discussing rumors she had sex with NBA star Tristan Thompson, the father of Khloe Kardashian’s daughter. The Woods segment registered 7.6 million views in the first 24 hours (and Facebook later confirmed that 7.5 million users had watched for at least one minute).

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In the episode released July 10, titled “Jada Brings Herself to the Table,” the celeb couple discusses past turmoil in their marriage, including Pinkett Smith’s relationship with rapper August Alsina while she and Will were temporarily separated.

According to Pinkett Smith, the conversation was recorded last week; it premiered Friday on Facebook without advance notice, aside from her July 2 tweet in which she said, "There's some healing that needs to happen…so I'm bringing myself to The Red Table."

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The intense interest surrounding the candid conversation cements "Red Table Talk" as Facebook's top original program. And it reinforces the social giant's strategy of leaning into unscripted programming, as it has scaled back on scripted originals.

Facebook earlier this year announced a three-year renewal of “Red Table Talk” that will keep the show exclusively on the platform through 2022. The series is hosted by Pinkett Smith alongside her daughter, Willow Smith, and mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris (aka “Gammy”), covering a range of topics including sex, relationships and parenting. Last year it earned a 2019 Daytime Emmy nomination, the first for a Facebook show.

About the most recent episode, Variety TV critic Caroline Framke wrote, “It’s a perfect distillation of what ‘Red Table Talk’ and the Pinkett-Smiths do best: dissecting a controversial topic with meticulous consideration, an eye for relating it back to the audience, and just enough intrigue to keep people guessing as to what’s truly going through their heads.”

“Red Table Talk” debuted in May 2018 and has aired 62 episodes over three seasons to date on Facebook Watch. The show has 9.2 million followers on Facebook, along with several discussion groups including the official main forum that currently has 629,000 members.

The series is produced by Westbrook Studios with Pinkett Smith, Ellen Rakieten, Miguel Melendez and Jack Mori serving as executive producers. Facebook also has ordered an offshoot, “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” in the same roundtable format featuring singer Gloria Estefan, her daughter, Emily Estefan, and her niece Lili Estefan, also produced by Westbrook Studios.

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