Some 28 million viewers worldwide watched Oprah Winfrey’s two-part interview last week in which cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted he had been taking performance-enhancing substances for years, Winfrey’s OWN cable TV channel said.

OWN said 12.2 million Americans and 15 million people elsewhere watched the encounter over two nights and various airings on its channel, with another 800 000 watching online on

The two-part exclusive interview – which ran for 2.5 hours – was seen in more than 190 nations in 30 languages, said the cable channel, a joint venture with Discovery Communications .

In the US, however, audiences shrunk dramatically after the first broadcast, in which Armstrong admitted in the first five minutes that he had been doping for all seven of his Tour de France victories.

Some 3.2 million Americans watched last Thursday night’s first broadcast. The number rose to 4.3 million during repeats.

The next day, just 1.8 million came back for part two, rising to 2.4 million during a later repeat.

The first interview failed to bring in record numbers for OWN despite days of advance publicity and interest from the cycling world.

The most-watched telecast in OWN history was Winfrey's interview with the family of the late Whitney Houston in March last year that drew 3.5 million viewers.

Nevertheless, OWN said the second broadcast marked the cable channel’s highest-rated Friday telecast in its short lifetime.

Winfrey quit her daytime US TV show in 2011 after 25 years to launch OWN, a female-oriented lifestyle channel aimed at young women that has struggled to find its footing.