Oprah’s Armstrong interview attracts 28 million globally

In the U.S., 12.2 million viewers tuned in to the telecasts on OWN, while 15 million watched the interview with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong in 18 countries.
January 23, 2013

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong, airing on OWN last week in a special two-part episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter, gave the network its highest-rated Friday telecast to date, while also racking up significant numbers internationally.

According to the network, across all airings, the two-part interview with the disgraced cyclist, in which he admitted to doping, drew 12.2 million viewers in the U.S., 15 million viewers internationally in 18 countries that are rated across Discovery Networks and OWN Canada, and 800,000 viewers worldwide via live online streaming.

The first part of the interview, which premiered on Thursday at 9 p.m. EST, drew 3.2 million, just under the 3.5 million viewers that watched Winfrey’s interview with the family of the late Whitney Houston which aired last March. An additional 1.1 million viewed the repeat airing of the interview at 10:30 p.m. EST.

Friday’s airing of the second part of the interview saw ratings fall somewhat in the U.S., with 1.8 million viewing the first telecast and 620,000 viewing the encore. Still, those 9 p.m. numbers were enough to make the program the highest-rated Friday telecast to date for the Discovery Communications-Harpo joint venture net.

Internationally, the interview was seen on 50 networks across more than 190 countries and was simulcast across Canada, Western Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America (the first episode only) on OWN Canada, Discovery Channel, TLC, DMAX and Home & Health. It brought in the highest rating to date for TLC South Africa and was also the top-rated title airing on Discovery UK.

The network says the viewership number is expected to grow as most markets report on Live+7.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.