Super Bowl Is Most-Watched TV Show in U.S. History

Feb 6, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Sunday’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI on NBC set a record for U.S. television viewing, according to Nielsen’s fast nationals, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

The game was watched by 111.3 million viewers, eclipsing Fox’s telecast of last year’s Super Bowl, which came in with 111.0 million viewers.

The telecast also scored a 40.5 rating in the key 18-49 demo, the highest number for a Super Bowl in 15 years — since the 1996 game scored a 41.2.

Only one non-Super Bowl broadcast, the “M*A*S*H” finale, is among the top five most-watched television programs in U.S. history, according to the report. Here’s the list:

1. 111.3 Million — Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Sunday’s game)

2. 111.0 Million — Super Bowl XLV, Fox

3. 106.5 Million — Super Bowl XLIV, CBS

4. 106.0 Million — M*A*S*H Finale, CBS

5. 98.7 Million — Super Bowl XLIII, NBC

In terms of household ratings, the game had a 47.0 average (along with a 71 share), up 2% from last year’s 46.0/69, making it the sixth-highest-rated Super Bowl and the highest in 26 years.

Here are the highest-rated Super Bowls in households, according to the report:

1. 49.1/73 — Super Bowl XVI, CBS

2. 48.6/69 — Super Bowl XVII, NBC

3. 48.3/70 — Super Bowl XX, NBC

4. 47.2/67 — Super Bowl XII, CBS

5. 47.1/74 — Super Bowl XIII, NBC

6. 47.0/71 — Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Sunday’s game)

T7. 46.4/71 — Super Bowl XVIII, CBS

T7. 46.4/63 — Super Bowl XIX, ABC

9. 46.3/67 — Super Bowl XIV, CBS

10. 46.0/69 — Super Bowl XLV, Fox

The story adds: “The viewership and rating grew throughout the game and peaked at a 117.7 million viewers and a 50.7 (overall rating)/72 (overall share) … from 9:30-9:58 p.m. ET in the fourth quarter, when Eli Manning led the Giants on a game-winning drive.”

Additionally, the halftime show featuring Madonna was watched by a record 114.0 million viewers, almost 4 million more than the 110.3 million who watched last year’s Black Eyed Peas performance.

One Comment

  1. Too bad the game was kind of boring. It did come right down to a “Hail Mary” pass at the end of the game but only after a number of very catchable passes that would have been caught by the same players in nearly any other game this past season. Didn’t really have a dog in this fight so all I was hoping for was an entertaining game and some cool new ads but was kind of let down on both fronts. Even this year’s “controversy” wasn’t that big of a deal. What? A female hip-hop / rapper flipped off a camera during the halftime show? Hardly an exposed nipple, was it (and really, who would have noticed if Madonna had exposed a nipple as it seems everyone over the age of 5 has seen them)?

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