Wednesday, January 16, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong sits down with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, the world will see a sinner seeking absolution from the only woman who, in media terms, has the power to save him. But in truth, Oprah needs Lance as much as Lance needs Oprah.
His reputation is in tatters and he has a lifetime doping ban which prevents him from making a living from cycling. He’s hoping to walk away from this with a small reprieve: permission to compete in elite triathlons.

Oprah has a TV network which, since its launch, has struggled to make its mark in the multichannel space. She needs world-stopping interviews such as this to deliver the sort of ratings spikes that will keep the channel on air.

And Oprah knows when she’s onto a good thing. Her network OWN has now confirmed that the interview with Armstrong will be extended to a two-night engagement.

The interview was taped on Monday, and we are little more than a day from the broadcast of the first half. Newspapers and online media are saturated with stories, leaks and tips – glimpses of a conversation we have not yet actually seen.

Armstrong will confess, we are assured. To what, exactly, is not clear. Winfrey, speaking on the US network CBS, said Armstrong “did not come clean in the manner that [she] expected”, but she did not elaborate.

At this point, though, one thing is abundantly clear: Armstrong’s confession, when it happens, will be one of the most carefully stage-managed media “moments” in recent memory. (Source: