*Things continue to look up for ‘The Haves and the Have Nots.’
Indiewire.com reports the Tyler Perry drama set a series record this past Tuesday night (1/21/13) by drawing in 2.84 million total viewers with its latest episode.
*Oprah Winfrey‘s post-rehab interview with troubled star Lindsay Lohan drew far smaller audience than Winfrey’s other similar first exclusive sit-downs, reports Deadline.com.
The Lohan interview on Sunday’s “Oprah’s Next Chapter” averaged 892,000 total viewers at 9 p.m., only slightly above the show’s Sunday average (+7%). For comparison, Winfrey’s interview with Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina drew 3.5 million viewers and her chat with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong pulled in 3.2 million.
For the night, including the 10 p.m. rebroadcast, the Lohan sit-down averaged a total of 1.8 million viewers.
*This will come off as hating but it’s actually realism.
What are the odds that a baseball player who admitted to using performance enhancing drugs at one point in his career to live up to his contract would use them that one time only? And what if there is no real change in production during the early years of his career to the middle years when the performance enhancing drug use occurred, to the later years when he was theoretically clean?
Yankee apologists are likely to argue that the odds are high that Alex Rodriguez only used drugs in Texas, that his performance in a Yankee uniform has been untainted. And this may be true, but it is worth asking the question about whether anything else was going on. And it would not be very surprising if the reports out of Miami are proven to be true and Rodriguez was using other performance enhancing drugs as he got older and the pressure of a big money contract extension became too great.
What are the odds that a cyclist who fought cancer would be able to break records as he won what is considered the most grueling event in sports? What about if all of his teammates admitted to their own drug use and identified this individual as the ring leader. What if drug use was rampant throughout the sport? At what point do we start to realize that the human body has limits and those who claim to take it past those limits without any chemical help are not being genuine.
Up until last month Lance Armstrong apologists shouted from the rooftops that he hadn’t tested positive. And that he had done too much good with his foundation so it wasn’t fair to smear him. I remember hearing and regurgitating something about how his lung capacity was something like 20% more than the average person. But in the wake of his interview with Oprah Winfrey we can all stop going along with the fairy tale.
What are the odds that when a human being sustains a particular injury and it generally takes six months for the person to recuperate that someone could split the recovery time in half? That this injury is uncommon and becomes more likely with steroid use but that the recovery would be done without chemical assistance?
Ray Lewis just won a second Super Bowl title and he may be totally clean. But there is good reason to question his methods. Because he is retiring, ultimately the issue of his use of deer antler extract probably won’t be pursued. I don’t have a problem with this. But before this all gets swept under the rug of his admittedly great career, let’s take a moment to consider the reality of human biology and consider the possible scenarios.
Basically I have a problem believing that ultra competitive people are able to make the distinction between what’s right and what’s not. Chances are that the guy who makes it to the major leagues does so because he kept taking extra batting practice while ignoring many other aspects of life. Instead of doing homework (the right thing), he went back to the cage after practice. Furthermore most professional athletes have been catered to for years so it is plausible, in my opinion, that they would think they could get away with performance enhancing drug use like they’ve been getting away with bending rules for most of their lives.
There is an adage that the simplest explanation is usually the best explanation. In each of these situations, even when allowing for the uniqueness of the physical abilities of professional athletes, it is just more likely that they cheated. Armstrong has finally acknowledged it. Lewis will get to duck the issue via retirement. Alex Rodriguez: the floor is yours.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.
*Part 1 of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong drew a total of 4.3 million viewers in its back to back airings, marking the highest rated weekday telecast in OWN history across all key demos, the network announced.
Additionally, the telecast ranked #1 in OWN history across all key male demos, and the 9 p.m. premiere was its second highest network telecast to date garnering 3.2 million total viewers, posting strong triple-digit growth across the key demos versus year ago numbers. The second airing at 10:30 p.m. earned an additional 1.1 million viewers.
OWN’s top telecast remains the “Oprah’s Next Chapter” featuring Whitney Houston’s family, drawing 3.5 million viewers on March 11, 2012.
The conversation continues tonight as “Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive” Part 2 airs from 9-10 p.m. ET/PT and will simultaneously stream live worldwide on Oprah.com.
Watch a preview below.
*Lance Armstrong finally came clean about doping allegations in his highly anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday night. [Scroll all the way down to watch show in its entirety.]
The Q&A began with a series of yes-or-no questions, during which the retired professional cyclist admitted to taking banned substances. He told Winfrey that yes, he used banned substances — EPO, testosterone and human growth hormone — as well as blood doping or blood transfusion to enhance his performance. (Watch the yes/no clip below.)
Armstrong also admitted that he used those methods in all seven of his Tour de France wins. Asked if he thought it was “humanly possible” to win seven times without using performance enhancing drugs, Armstrong replied: “Not in my opinion.”
Though Winfrey and Armstrong decided ahead of time there would be no topics off limits, he repeatedly refused to discuss other cyclists’ use of performance-enhancing drugs, other than to say it was widespread during his time in the sport.
Armstrong said that he started using banned substances in the mid-1990s. Asked why he decided to admit to it now, he replied: “I don’t know that I have a great answer. I will start my answer by saying this is too late. It’s too late for probably most people. And that’s my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. It wasn’t as if I said no and I moved off it.” [Watch clip of this exchange below.]
However, Armstrong maintained that his drug use was part of a larger “culture” within cycling and said he was not doing anything unavailable to other cyclists. At the time, he didn’t consider himself a cheater, because the definition of a cheater is someone who gains an advantage by using something others don’t have access to.
“I viewed it as a level playing field,” he said.
Winfrey asked if — as the leader of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team — Armstrong pressured other riders to use banned substances.
Armstrong flatly denied the charge several times during the interview.
“No. I didn’t. The idea that anybody was forced or pressured or encouraged was not true,” he said.
Armstrong said his “win at all costs” mentality served him well when he was diagnosed with cancer, but it “went too far” when he turned to using banned substances.
Armstrong also admitted to being “a bully” to those who accused him of doping. Asked about lawsuits he brought against his accusers, the cyclist said: “It’s a major flaw. It’s a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to win every outcome.”
Some of the more uncomfortable moments came when Winfrey showed Armstrong past clips of the cyclist denying using performance-enhancing drugs. At one point, Winfrey showed him a 2005 clip of him defending Dr. Michele Ferrari, who allegedly provided Armstrong and others with drugs and later received a lifetime ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
“My responses on most of these things are going to be different today,” Armstrong said when asked if he would still defend Ferrari.
At another point, Winfrey showed Armstrong footage of his 2005 Tour De France victory speech. “The last thing I’ll say to the people who don’t believe in cycling, the cynics and the skeptics: I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry that you can’t dream big,” he said in the speech. “I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles. … This is a hard sporting event and hard work wins it.”
Winfrey asked if the speech was Armstrong rebuking his critics. Armstrong said it wasn’t a rebuke, but admitted the speech now embarrassed him and he considered it “lame.”
Winfrey also asked about Emma O’Reilly, Armstrong’s former masseuse, whom he sued and once insinuated was “a whore” under his breath because she said publicly a doctor backordered a prescription of cortisone for him.
“I was on the attack,” Armstrong said. “Territory being threatened; team being threatened — I’m on the attack.” [Watch the Emma O'Reilly clip below.]
At multiple points, Armstrong emphasized he was taking responsibility for his actions, but he said he knew his public penance might not win over everyone. “There are people that will hear this and will never forgive me. I understand that,” he said.
Part one of Armstrong’s sit-down with Winfrey aired on OWN and streamed online Thursday. Part two airs and streams online 9 p.m. ET Friday. Watch a preview of part two below.
Watch part one in its entirety below.
*Tonight, viewers will finally get to see Lance Armstrong tell the truth about using performance enhancing drugs.
The cyclist’s confession to Oprah Winfrey about doping to win the Tour de France a record seven times in a row will be televised at 9 p.m. Thursday, the first segment of a two-part special on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. There’s been no shortage of people weighing in on what he should say tonight.
“I left it all on the table with her and when it airs the people can decide,” Armstrong said Wednesday in a text sent to the AP. He dismissed a story earlier in the day that described him as “not contrite” when he acknowledged doping while dominating the cycling world.
Livestrong, the cancer charity Armstrong founded in 1997 and was forced to walk away from last year, said in a statement it expected him to be “completely truthful and forthcoming.” A day earlier, World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman said nothing short of a confession under oath — “not talking to a talk-show host” — could prompt a reconsideration of Armstrong’s lifetime ban from sanctioned events. And Frankie Andreu, a former teammate that Armstrong turned on, said the disgraced cyclist had an obligation to tell all he knew and help clean up the sport.
“I have no idea what the future holds other than me holding my kids,” Armstrong said in the text.
Armstrong left his hometown of Austin, where the interview was taped at a downtown hotel, and is in Hawaii. He is named as a defendant in at least two pending lawsuits, and possibly a third.
The Justice Department faces a Thursday deadline on whether to join a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping.
That suit alleges Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government by repeatedly denying he used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong could be required to return substantial sponsorship fees and pay a hefty fine. The AP reported earlier that Justice Department officials were likely to join the lawsuit.