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Posted at 01:56 PM ET, 07/11/2011

Jaycee Dugard interview lands 15 mil — biggest summer newsmag crowd in 7 years


After being held captive for 18 years, Jaycee Dugard talks to ABC’s Diane Sawyer in her first interview since being discovered and freed. (Jill Belsley/ABC News - ABC)

An average of 15 million people tuned in to ABC’s “Primetime” Sunday night to get their first extended look at Jaycee Dugard, according to early numbers.

That makes Dugard’s interview, with Diane Sawyer, television’s most watched summer newsmagazine telecast in more than seven years.

More than seven years ago, on June 20, 2004, former President Bill Clinton gave “60 Minutes’s” Dan Rather an exclusive interview about his upcoming memoir, “My Life,” and clocked 15.8 million viewers.

More than seven years ago also would have been about 11 years into the 18 years Dugard was held captive by registered sex offender Philip Craig Garrido and his wife, Nancy, after snatching the then 11-year-old from a rural school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, CA.

America’s first extended TV look at Dugard, 31, who was raped and gave birth to two children by Garrido, resulted in ABC’s biggest summer audience in the Sunday 9-11 p.m. timeslot (with non-sports programming) in nearly 11 years. It goes back to August 27, 2000, when ABC’s monster ratings magnet “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was still going strong and pulled in an averages of nearly 23 million people in the timeslot.

Nearly 11 years ago also would have been about seven years into the time Jaycee Dugard was forced to live in a series of sheds in a hidden backyard that her abductors had set up in order to isolate her from her from their neighbors.

“Wow. Now I can walk in the next room and see my mom. Wow. I can decide to jump in the car and go to the beach with the girls. Wow. It’s unbelievable. Truly,” Dugard told Sawyer, about her life since being freed from captivity, during the interview that aired on Sunday.

Here are some clips from the interview:

By  |  01:56 PM ET, 07/11/2011

 
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