How Oprah snagged Lance Armstrong
16 January 2013, 16:59
Cape Town – Oprah Winfrey has revealed how she secured the highly anticipated and sought-after interview with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Sources have revealed that during the interview, Armstrong came clean to Winfrey about his use of performance-enhancing drugs during his once-illustrious cycling career.
Winfrey calls it "the biggest interview I've ever done" and revealed that she snagged the Armstrong interview in December while she was vacationing at her home in Hawaii where some of the girls from her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa were staying with her.
South Africans who can't wait for Friday evening to see Oprah's Next Chapter will also be able to watch the first of what is now going to be a two-part episode online at oprah.com at 04:00 (SA time) on Friday morning when it will be streamed online at the same time of its premiere broadcast on Winfrey's OWN network in the US.
Part two will be streamed 24 hours later on Saturday 19 January at 04:00 (SA time). Winfrey decided on Tuesday to expand her interview with Armstrong to two episodes following a marathon 2.5 hour interview recording session on Monday at Armstrong's home in Austin, Texas, as paparrazzi swarmed outside.
Discovery Networks International (DNI) has not yet indicated how the decision to expand the broadcast will impact TLC's programming schedule for South African viewers beyond Friday evening's first instalment - but it is highly likely that the schedule will be updated to accommodate the second episode.
"I'm not going to cut down the two and a half hours," said Winfrey when she spoke with CBS' This Morning on Tuesday to preview the interview. "As a matter of fact we have decided, literally on the plane last night on the way back, that we are actually going to go for two nights because it is impossible to cut 80 minutes out.
"As you all know, a 90-minute interview on television is really only 65 minutes. So we felt that to leave over half of this on the cutting room floor after millions of people have been waiting for years for many of these answers, would not be the right thing to do."
'How I got the interview'
Winfrey also explained how it came about that she secured the interview every other media outlet has been pursuing for months.
"How I got the interview? I had sent him an e-mail a couple of months ago, just hoping that he would talk to me," Winfrey explained. "He e-mailed back and said he wasn't ready to talk but that he would be in Hawaii for the holidays and he knew that I had a place in Hawaii and maybe we could get together for lunch. 'Okay, like that's going to happen,' I thought," she said.
"So, during the holidays I e-mailed and said 'What about that lunch?' He said he can't do it on these days, because he had his kids. Meanwhile I had a bunch of my kids – girls from my school in South Africa with me. So I stayed over an extra two days in order to accommodate his schedule.
"He came to visit me in Maui. He lives on another island, and so he flew over. I had guests in the house so I cleared out the house and said 'Go to the beach, go to the beach, now! And stay there for at least four hours!'"
Oprah's biggest ever interview
"So I had nobody in the house, including people who are usually there for help and even the people who usually do the lawn. I removed all those people. Also I had a person go to the airport to pick him up who doesn't normally pick me up at the airport so that he wouldn't be recognised as being connected to me," said Winfrey.
"Lance comes to me and says, 'Where is everybody?' and I say "I've sent everybody away' and he goes: 'But you didn't clear the road. There was a biker on the road who recognised me.
"In terms of my career it's certainly the biggest interview I've done in terms of its exposure," said Winfrey. "Of course back in 1993 I did Michael Jackson Live Around the World, this is going to be live streamed around the world.
"Because it's going to be around the world – and I believe it should be around the world because so many people want to hear what he has to say – the number of people who will have exposure to it makes it the biggest interview I've ever done," said Winfrey.
"I would say that for all the people who are wondering does he actually go there and answers, I think that you will come to understand that he brought it. He really did."