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Posted at 04:03 PM ET, 03/12/2012

OWN scores biggest audience ever with Bobbi Kristina interview


Oprah Winfrey with Bobbi Kristina Brown in Atlanta, filming an episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” ((c) 2011 Harpo, Inc.)
The Oprah Winfrey Network copped its biggest crowd ever — 3.5 million viewers — on Sunday night when Oprah interviewed Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston.

The interview, which OWN — a co-venture of Winfrey’s Harpo company and Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications — plans to rerun Monday night at 8 p.m., aired as part of  its “Oprah’s Next Chapter” franchise in which the former syndicated daytime star travels here and there to meet and interview various celebrities.

In Sunday’s interview, Oprah embraced Bobbi Kristina, who told her she planned to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a singer and actress. She also told Oprah “I slept in her arms all day, all night long,” the day before Houston was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Houston was found dead in her hotel room on Feb. 11, as she was getting ready to attend Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party downstairs in the hotel.

The 90-minute OWN broadcast also featured Oprah interviewing Houston’s brother Gary as well as with the singer’s sister-in-law/manager Pat Houston, who told Oprah that while Whitney appeared to have her drug addictions under control, she became concerned again two days before Whitney’s death when the singer appeared disheveled at another Grammy walk-up party and got into a confrontation with “X Factor” contestant/ former professional backup singer Stacy Francis. The press reported Pat Houston ushered Whitney out of that party. An autopsy on Whitney Houston has been concluded but results are pending toxicology results.

Sunday’s number is a big breakthrough for OWN, which has struggled in the ratings since its launch. The 3.5 mil is more than twice the previously best ever for the network, which was scored on Jan 8 when Oprah interviewed Pastor Joel Osteen. The Houston mega-church pastor, FYI, is a go-to guy for interview shows looking to pop a number. Back in December of ’06, he was among the interviewees Babs Walters selected for that year’s “Ten Most Fascinating People” special on ABC; reality TV impresario Mark Burnett is developing a reality docu-series with Osteen, about his Lakewood Church’s “mission trips.”

Sunday’s record 3.5 million also is 417 percent more viewers than “Oprah’s Next Chapter” has averaged. And, it’s 1070 percent better than OWN had averaged in the time period in March of 2011.

By  |  04:03 PM ET, 03/12/2012

 
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