Big crowd but no record for Lance
Oprah's interview with Armstrong averages 3.2 million
January 18, 2013
The most-hyped program in the history of the Oprah Winfrey Network did not set a new viewership record for the network Thursday night, or at least not the one most people thought it would.
“Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The World Exclusive Part 1” still drew the second-biggest audience in OWN’s two-year history and became the most-watched show on the channel across the three major male demographics.
“Lance” averaged 3.2 million total viewers at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen, second in OWN history to Winfrey’s interview of the late Whitney Houston’s family weeks after her death, in March of last year. That telecast averaged 3.5 million viewers.
Though OWN usually skews heavily female, “Lance” drew a large male audience. The special, which airs its second part tonight at 9 p.m., drew 1.88 million men 25-54, 1.59 million men 18-49 and 980,000 men 18-34.
“Lance” drew an additional 1.1 million viewers for a repeat of the program at 10:30 last night, bringing the total audience over the two episodes to 4.3 million.
The numbers were obviously very good for OWN, and the special drew a huge amount of publicity to the fledgling network.
But many had expected even bigger viewership given the buzz going into last night.
Winfrey appeared on “CBS This Morning” earlier this week to hype the show, and the chat blew up on Twitter, where more than half the trending topics were Armstrong-related throughout the special.
That may be a reminder that high engagement on social media doesn’t necessarily mean big ratings.
Still, Winfrey’s network no doubt reached a lot of people who hadn’t seen it yet, or even those who’d never have reason to tune there at all.
OWN targeted them with special TV promotions that highlighted several network shows within one commercial pod in hopes of enticing viewers with a diversity of interests.
It will be weeks until it’s clear if the promotions paid off.
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