OWN's upcoming "Oprah's Next Chapter" shows focused on Lance Armstrong this week could send the network's viewership to record levels -- raising its prime-time viewership over 10 times its average.
The interview spanning over two nights -- Thursday and Friday -- could grab an initial eye-popping five million viewers, according to Brad Adgate, senior vp and corporate media director for Horizon Media. Adgate estimates the second half of the interview on Friday would have somewhat lower results.
In November 2012, OWN's prime-time average was a Nielsen 316,000 total viewers, up 78% versus the same month in 2011. Total day viewers -- 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- averaged 204,000 viewers, up 77% versus November 2011.
In a big TV marketing move to push viewership, Oprah Winfrey -- speaking on "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday -- said there was so much good stuff from the interview that the network decided to air a second night.
It has been confirmed by a number of reports that Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner (since stripped of his titles) and cancer crusader, has admitted to using drugs during his cycling career.
The interview was taped on Monday, and Winfrey, on "CBS This Morning," said: "I would say he did not come clean in the manner that I expected. It was surprising to me."
The special "Oprah's Next Chapter” will air Thursday, January 17 from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. EST and Friday, January 18 at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST. The interview will be simultaneously streamed live on Oprah.com.
Recent high ratings for other Winfrey celebrity interviews on "Oprah's Next Chapter" included one with Whitney Houston's family in March 2012, which took in 3.5 million viewers. Later that year, an interview with singer Rihanna in August 2012 had 2.5 million viewers; and a show with the Kardashians in June 2012 took in 1.1 million.