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Winfrey show boosts OWN

'Next Chapter' draws 1.1 million viewers in bow

OWN got a nice anniversary present: hearty numbers for the two-hour bow of “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which preemed on New Year’s Day — the same day the Harpo/Discovery Communications joint venture launched last year.

The show pulled in 1.1 million viewers overall and did a 1.1 rating in the net’s target demo of women 25-54, according to Nielsen. It’s good news for OWN execs who predicted that Oprah’s on-air return to the much-scrutinized network bearing her name would boost interest in the cabler.

Ratings for “Chapter,” which followed Winfrey through an interview with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler at his house in New Hampshire, gave the series its second-highest rating so far, behind its two-hour preem of “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes” on the same day last year. Net also noted that viewership increased in the show’s second hour.

As OWN rushed to find viewers during a first year interrupted by several serious setbacks, it has turned increasingly to African-American women — an underserved demo that has responded well to programming like “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.”

OWN also has Good Clean Fun’s “Beverly’s Full House,” another program apparently tailored to appeal to African-American women, bowing next month.