Barbara Walters on Something She Has ‘Never Done Before’

By Chris Ariens 

While your TVNewsers were at the CBS holiday party — more on that later — the network’s primetime slate was winning the ratings — in Households (7.6 rating), Total Viewers (12.4 million), and the A18-49 demo (2.9 rating).

CBS dramas “CSI” and “The Mentalist” were up against two Barbara Walters specials on ABC: “Oprah, The Next Chapter” at 9pmET and Walters’ annual “10 Most Fascinating People” special at 10pmET.

ABC took second for the night in Households (7.0 rating), Total Viewers (10.8M) and A18-49 demo (2.7 rating).

So how did Walters’ specials perform?

  • At 9pmET, “Oprah, The Next Chapter” was #1 in Total Viewers, W18-49 and W25-54. Oprah Winfrey opened up to Walters about the past 25 years of her personal and professional life as she prepares to leave her daytime talker and launch her own network. It was ABC’s largest audience in the hour in more than two months.
  • At 10pmET “Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010” built on its lead-in and won the 10 o’clock hour across all key Adult demographics: A18-34, A18-49, A25-54; but came in second in Total Viewers to CBS’ “The Mentalist.” General David Petraeus was named the most fascinating person of 2010. The special was up over the 2009 edition in Total Viewers, A18-49 and A25-54.

At the close of the second special, Walters said, “I’ve been at this TV game a few years, and I can tell you that two separate 1-hour specials on the same evening is something I have never done before, and now I know why. I hope you enjoyed these programs. As for me, I’m gonna go home and sleep ten hours straight!”