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James Hibberd

Most-Watched Super Bowl Ever

February 4, 2008 11:02 AM

Fox says it's official: Sunday's suspenseful matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants was the most-watched Super Bowl in history, according to time-zone-adjusted fast national Nielsen estimates provided by the network.

An estimated 97.5 million viewers, up 5% from last year, tuned in to watch the Giants achieve a last-minute upset of the previously undefeated Patriots to make Super Bowl history.

The show was the second-most watched television program of all time, behind the 1983 finale of "M*A*S*H," which was viewed by 106 million people. The previous most-watched Bowl, with 94.1 million viewers, was Dallas vs. Pittsburgh in 1996.

Sunday’s game scored a 37.6 rating among adults 18 to 49, making it the highest-rated Super Bowl in the demo in eight years. The 1996 Super Bowl remains the highest rated with a 41.2 rating.

This year’s Super Bowl was followed by an original episode of “House,” which earned a record-setting 12.8. "House" was the highest-rated scripted program on any network in two years and was up 29% from last year's post-game airing of "Criminal Minds" on CBS.

Overall, Fox enjoyed its highest-rated night ever in the demo and in total viewers, as well as posting the highest-rated night on any broadcast network in at least 17 years.

Some of the headlines this morning: "Super Bowl Headlines Tell Tale of Two Cities," "Giants Stun Perfect Pats in Super Bowl" and "An Idol and an Icon Entertain Super Bowl Revelers." Plus: USA Today's annual ad-meter rates the Super Bowl commercials. Review: "America's national celebration of advertising gluttony for once couldn't overshadow the game."

Competition was scarce.

ABC was a distant second, averaging a 1.2 rating for the night, led by an airing of the movie “Meet the Fockers” (1.4). CBS and NBC tied with a 0.8 average, CBS led by a “Cold Case” repeat (1.3) and NBC airing a marathon of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” repeats (0.6 and 1.0).

More to come.


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Comments (2)

Have the members of the WGA and SAG considered that if streaming and downloading of TV shows over the internet became the overwhelming method reruns are viewed by the public, the networks might not find it necessary to air a second run on television? And, therefore, elimination of TV reruns would cause the traditional and substantial residual payment to be replaced with a relatively meager internet residual payment.

Michael J. Wallach
Los Angeles

Manager, Attorney, Author of “How To Get Arrested”

The Giants should have won by a bigger score - all those dropped easy-catch passes! The lucked out.

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