SBD/February 8, 2011/Media

Super Bowl XLV Sets Viewership Record With 111 Million Viewers On Fox

Packers-Steelers marks fourth consecutive Super Bowl to set viewership record

Fox earned a 46.0 fast-national Nielsen rating and 111.0 million viewers for their broadcast Sunday of Super Bowl XLV, marking the most-viewed program in TV history. Only eight of 45 Super Bowl telecasts have had a higher rating than the Packers-Steelers game. The game is up 2.2% and 4.2%, respectively, from a 45.0 rating and 106.5 million viewers for the Saints-Colts game on CBS last year. It also marks the fourth consecutive Super Bowl to set a viewership record, as well as the sixth straight year that the Super Bowl has seen viewership increase. The telecast peaked at a 49.2 rating and 117.2 million viewers from 9:30-10:00pm ET. Super Bowl XLV also set a TV record for total viewership with 162.9 million viewers watching all or part of the game. The Super Bowl XLV pregame show on Fox averaged an 11.5 rating and 22.2 million viewers from 2:00-6:34pm, marking the highest-rated and most-viewed Super Bowl pregame show in nine years. The halftime show featuring the Black Eyed Peas earned a 44.7 rating from 8:00-8:30pm, marking the highest-rated halftime act since Michael Jackson’s performance averaged a 45.5 rating in ’93. Fox’ postgame coverage earned a 28.4 rating (66.0 million viewers), down 14% from last year’s 33.0 rating. When including the numbers for "Glee," which aired immediately after the Super Bowl, Fox became the first network ever to average over 100 million viewers in primetime for a night (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Bill Carter noted the 162.9 million total viewers "puts the number watching the game well past one half of the total population" of the U.S. (, 2/7). Super Bowl viewership "has increased by nearly 25 million viewers" since '05 (, 2/7).

Super Bowl XLV: Packers-Steelers
Super Bowl XLIV: Saints-Colts
"M*A*S*H" finale
Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers-Cardinals
Super Bowl XLII: Giants-Patriots

FOOTBALL PULLS FROM ALL WALKS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sam Schechner writes the NFL "continued to reel in an otherwise fragmented TV audience." Analysts suggested that a "close matchup, popular teams and cold weather across much of the U.S. helped boost viewing" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/8). In Houston, David Barron writes viewership was "boosted by the competitive nature of the game and the fact that bad weather socked much of the Midwest, boosting the percentage of people at home watching television" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/8). In Dallas, Barry Horn reports the game earned a 53.7 local rating and about 1.4 million HHs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market. Pittsburgh and Milwaukee tied for first with 59.7 local ratings (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/8). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand in a front-page piece notes Super Bowl XLV "did not score the highest Super Bowl rating," but it ranked as the "highest-rated Super Bowl since" Cowboys-Steelers in '96. Nielsen Co. Senior VP/Insight & Analysis Pat McDonough: "The Super Bowl continues to be in a category of its own, with an appeal that transcends sports and extends even to the commercials" (USA TODAY, 2/8). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell wrote the record viewership is "hardly a surprise for a sport that is clearly on a roll." This was the "best regular-season ever for the primetime packages on NBC and ESPN, while CBS and Fox had their best tune-in for afternoon games in years" (, 2/7). In L.A., Joe Flint wrote the Super Bowl viewership "caps a huge year for the NFL" (, 2/7).

: Fox' post-Super Bowl airing of "Glee" earned a 13.6 rating and 26.8 million viewers, marking the show’s best rating ever. However, the rating is down from a 19.1 and 38.7 million viewers for "Undercover Boss" on CBS following last year's Super Bowl. "Glee" did earn an 11.1 among adults 18-49, marking the highest-rated scripted show on all of TV in three years in the demo (THE DAILY). ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's James Hibberd wrote while Super Bowl viewership "has been going up to record highs in recent years ... the number of people who stick around afterward has been trending more-or-less down." Postgame ratings peaked in '96 "for an episode of NBC’s 'Friends' that drew a stunning 52.9 million." Fox had the "lowest retention in 2005 with an episode of 'American Dad'" (, 2/7).

CANADIAN RECORD: Super Bowl XLV drew 7.3 million viewers in Canada, ranking as the most-watched Super Bowl ever on Canadian television and the most-watched broadcast in Canada since the Vancouver Games last February. The 7.3 million viewers were up 5.3% over 6.9 million viewers for Super Bowl XLIV last year. CTV drew 6.54 million viewers (up 4% from '10) and French-language network RDS drew 754,000 viewers (up 21%). Audience levels in Canada peaked at 8.9 million viewers during the halftime show (CTV).

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