Oprah’s Answered Prayer: Pastor Osteen Scores Ratings for OWN

Joel and Victoria Osteen with Oprah Winfrey on OWN (Photo: OWN)

Finally — some good news for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN: She scored record ratings in Sunday night’s one-hour interview with megachurch pastor Joel Osteen.

The Osteen interview — featured on the second episode of Oprah’s new show, “Oprah’s Next Chapter” — drew 1.6 million viewers for the 9-10 p.m. hour (8-9c), the highest viewership yet for any show on OWN since its launch a year ago, according to a news release from OWN.

That number represented a 45 percent improvement over the ratings for the premiere of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” a week earlier on New Year’s Day — an hourlong visit with Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler, OWN said.

Sunday’s strong performance with Osteen and his wife, Victoria, could also represent the opening of the next chapter for OWN as Oprah herself assumes a more visible on-air role on the network, which struggled in its first year as she worked primarily off-screen and behind the scenes.

Previously: OWN’s battle to attract an audience:

The interview was a rarity for Osteen, who’s usually seen on TV on Sunday mornings preaching to his Houston congregation — which is said to be the nation’s largest. Among other topics, Oprah tried to clarify his views on homosexuality, as the Hollywood Reporter reports here.

Watch Joel Osteen and Oprah talk about his views on homosexuality here:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Oprah-s-Next-Chapter/174390/2183934976/Sin-and-the-Path-to-God/embed 580 476]

Oprah’s name is also on a second show airing Sunday nights on OWN — “Oprah’s Master Class” — which this Sunday also scored record ratings in its second-season premiere with guest Jane Fonda: 930,000 total viewers from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. (9-10c).

Next Sunday night on “Oprah’s Next Chapter”: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

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