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As expected, Oprah Winfrey’s little chat with Lance Armstrong was a huge ratings hit. Last night’s Oprah’s Next Chapter episode featuring the seven time Tour De France winning cyclist averaged 3.2 total million viewers when it aired at 9 PM, and totaled 4.3 million viewers when combined with the audience from a second airing at 10:30 PM. 

Although it didn’t break the records set when Winfrey spoke to the late Whitney Houston’s family, the rating were still a big success for her OWN Network. Deadline reports:

The first part of Winfrey’s interview, in which Armstrong admitted to doping, was big but not a record breaker. It averaged 3.2 million total viewers in its premiere telecast at 9 PM and another 1.1 million at 10:30 PM for a total of 4.3 million. The original telecast couldn’t top Winfrey’s newsmaking Oprah’s Next Chapter interview with Whitney Houston’s family, which garnered 3.5 million on March 11.

The special’s premiere episode still ranked as the highest rated weekday telecast in OWN history across all key demos. Here are the stats.:

“Oprah’s Next Chapter” Lance Armstrong (Thursday, January 17 from 9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT)

• 9 p.m. ET/PT: 2.10 W25-54; 3,174,523 million total viewers
• Growth versus year ago: +855% W25-54, +931% total viewers
• #1 weekday telecast in OWN history across all key demos
• #1 telecast in network history across all key men demos: 1.88 M25-54; 1.59 M18-49; .98 M18-34.
• 10:30 p.m. ET/PT: .80 W25-54; 1,119,000 million total viewers
• Growth versus year ago: +158% W25-54, +235% total viewers

The episode’s rating may have been even greater if not for news of Lance Armstrong’s confession being scooped by the Associated Press shortly after its taping in Austin, TX.  During their sit down, Armstrong admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during every single one of his Tour De France victories.

Armstrong was recently stripped of his 2000 Olympic medal in light of his recent confessions. Part two of Armstrong’s interview airs tonight at 9 PM.

Photo: OWN