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Lisa Ling's new documentary series premieres to strong ratings on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

February 16, 2011 |  5:10 pm

Lisaling Lisa Ling says that the folks at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network care less about ratings than content. Maybe that's so, but the numbers for Tuesday's premiere of Ling's new documentary series, "Our America," show how a recognizable name can still rope in viewers.

"Our America," which examines hot-button topics such as online bride services and sex offenses, averaged 574,000 total viewers durings its 10 p.m. time slot, according to the Nielsen Co. That's a modest total by broadcast standards, of course, but not bad at all for a cable network that's just 6 weeks old.

Ling, who developed a following years ago on "The View" and has more recently served as a field correspondent on Winfrey's syndicated show, delivered a better number than OWN did in prime time during its heavily promoted launch week last month (505,000 average). "Our America" also improved by 242% what Discovery Health — OWN's predecessor on cable systems — was doing a year ago.

The show was preceded at 9 p.m. by another premiere, a seven-episode documentary series about women in prison, "Breaking Down the Bars," which drew just 366,000 viewers.

Show Trackers, did you catch "Our America"? If so, what did you think?

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With OWN's new series, 'Our America,' Lisa Ling wants people to 'think differently.' Is that enough?

— Scott Collins

Photo: Lisa Ling in Pasadena last month. Credit: Matt Sayles/Associated Press.

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