11:45 AM UPDATE: CBS just announced its Super Bowl XLIV coverage was the most-watched program in TV history. (Assuming this is U.S. history, since the World Cup for soccer is seen by more people around the world.) An average of 106.5 million viewers watched New Orleans beat the Indianapolis Colts. The game even topped the 1983 M*A*S*H* finale seen by 106 million. The network’s fast national household rating/share was 45.0/68, the highest in 14 years. Last night’s Super Bowl rating/share peaked at a 48.5/70 from 9:00PM-9:30PM ET with an average of 114.1 million viewers. Which just goes to show that, even though everyone says there’s no such thing as double-digit ratings in entertainment TV anymore, some event programming transcend normal viewing habits and bring eyeballs nationwide back to the networks.
Because of the game, the CBS premiere of its heavily hyped new reality show Undercover Boss benefited greatly, averaging a 19.0/32 with an average of 38.61 million viewers — 16.6 million in adults 25-54, 16.2 million in adults 18-49, and 15.1 million in adults 18-34. CBS said it was the largest audience ever for a new series following the Super Bowl since the advent of people meters in 1987. Also, the largest audience ever to watch the premiere episode of a reality series. And the most watched new series premiere overall on television since “The Dolly Show” on September 27, 1987 (seen by 39.47 million). The 3rd largest post-Super Bowl audience behind the “Friends Special” on January 28, 1996 and CBS’s Survivor: The Australian Outback on January 28, 2001. And the largest audience for an entertainment program this season as well as the best ratings in households, adults 25-54, adults 18-49 and adults 18-34.