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Friday, January 18, 2013
3.2M watch 1st Lance airing

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Oprah Winfrey's much-anticipated interview with Lance Armstrong was seen by a total of 4.3 million viewers in back-to-back airings Thursday night on OWN.

But the interview with the disgraced cycling champion drew only 3.2 million viewers for its first airing, an audience that fell short of OWN's most-watched program: an interview Winfrey conducted with the family of Whitney Houston last March following the singer's death the previous month.

During the highly publicized program, Armstrong confessed to taking banned substances for all seven of his Tour de France victories, among other admissions.

The average primetime audience on OWN last year was 312,000 viewers, 72 percent of which were female. Last night, there were 4.3 million viewers and only 58 percent of them were female.

AdAge.com, citing media buyers, reported that OWN was receiving $100,000 for a two-unit advertising package during the exclusive interview, with spots on both nights. Buyers, according to the website, estimated that was about 40-50 percent more than advertisers typically would have paid for a major interview or special on the network but still less than top cable shows usually command.

The second half of the Armstrong interview is scheduled to air Friday night.

Information from ESPN's Darren Rovell and The Associated Press was used in this report.