Thursday, September 28, 2006

About 13 million see US Irwin interview

More than 13 million Americans tuned in to watch Terri Irwin's emotional TV interview following the death of her husband Steve.

Last night's hour-long interview with American news queen, Barbara Walters, pulled in 13.3 million viewers in the US.

The special was one of the most watched news events of the year for America's ABC TV network.

Earlier this week, Ray Martin's interview with American-born Terri attracted more than 2.5 million viewers in Australia.

The large numbers confirmed Steve Irwin's great appeal in both his homeland and in the US, where his Crocodile Hunter documentaries play several times a day on America's popular Animal Planet channel.

Terri's interview with 77-year-old Walters was heavily promoted in the US, with snippets of footage released in the lead-up to last night's full interview.

An ABC spokesperson said the ratings numbers represented ABC's top newsmagazine telecast since May 4, 2005.

It was also the highest ratings for any newsmagazine telecast on any US network since April this year.

Despite ABC choosing to air the news special at the late hour of 10pm, younger viewers made up a significant share of the audience, a reflection of the Crocodile Hunter's great popularity with younger fans in the US.

ABC said the program gained viewers and young adults throughout the telecast.

Walters, one of America's best known TV interviewers, flew last week to the Irwins' Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast for the interview.

It was the first time Terri Irwin had spoken publicly about the death of her husband, killed by a stingray barb to the chest while diving on the Great Barrier Reef on September 4.

Martin interviewed Terri after Walters, but the Nine Network aired its interview in Australia a day before ABC broadcast its interview in America.

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