A television drama featuring a lesbian couple and their family, on the US ABC network has seen a massive surge in ratings for its second episode, despite conservative groups protesting against it airing.

The ABC Family drama, The Fosters, is executively produced by Jennifer Lopez’s production company, and was heavily criticised by adamantly anti-gay conservative campaign group One Million Moms.

It features a biracial lesbian couple raising their mix of adopted, fostered, and biological children.

On Monday, it was cable’s number two scripted programme in the 9pm slot for females aged 12-34, seeing an increase of 20% from its premiere to 798,000 viewers. It was also up 20% in total viewers, at 1.70 million, compared to 1.42 million previously.

Some have suggested that conservative campaign groups to have the show take off air could have aided the improved ratings in its second episode.

The pilot for the drama was targeted by anti-LGBT group One Million Moms, which slammed the show as “anti-family”, and said they would do everything they could to stop it “dead in its tracks”.

Last month, a cast member confirmed that JLo would “definitely” enter the show as a cameo, but said it would not necessarily be in the first few episodes.

A recent poll found that in the US, more people said their perception of gay people had been positively influenced by television’s portrayal of them, than said it had a negative impact.

US evangelical organisation the American Decency Association recently published an article claiming that “network television began to shove homosexuality down our throats years ago”.