Super Bowl XLV Most Watched TV Show; Post-Game 'Glee' Trails 'Undercover Boss'

SECOND UPDATE 12:15 PM: Last night’s Super Bowl XLV now stands as the most watched program in TV history with an audience of 111 million viewers, topping last year’s Super Bowl (106.5 million) and the series finale of M*A*S*H in 1983 (106 million). This is the fourth consecutive Super Bowl to set a viewership record for the NFL showcase and helped Fox become the first network ever to exceed 100 million viewers (100.9 million) for a night of primetime.

UPDATE 10:30 AM: According to the just released time-adjusted fast nationals for Fox’s telecast of Glee after the Super Bowl last night, the musical dramedy averaged an 11.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 26.8 million viewers. That was well below the 38.7 million viewers who tuned in for the premiere of Undercover Boss on CBS after the Super Bowl last year but higher than the 22.9 million viewers for NBC’s The Office 2 years ago. (In 18-49, Glee‘s rating was only a tenth higher than Office‘s 11.0) It was the best performance for a scripted series after the big game since House on Fox in 2009 (29 million viewers.) Overall, it was the third largest audience for a post-Super Bowl scripted series in the past 12 years behind ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (37.9 million in 2006) and House. But topping the list are the two unscripted series that aired after the Super Bowl during that period, CBS’ Survivor (45.4 million in 2001) and Undercover Boss last year. They both did better than any scripted shows, proving reality fare better suited to follow the big game. Needless to say this was Glee‘s highest-rated telecast ever. The broadcast competition lay low with repeats, no one cracking the 1 demo rating mark.

PREVIOUS 8 AM: The red-hot NFL season on TV had its big culmination last night when Super Bowl XLV on Fox earned a 47.9 rating/71 share, tying it with Super Bowl XXI in 1987 as the highest-rated ever in the metered markets. It was up 3% from the the 46.4/68 for last year’s Super Bowl posted on CBS. That game ended up averaging 106 million viewers and a 38.6 rating in adults 18-49, so this year’s Supre Bowl is on track to eclipse those staggering numbers. Because of the increased fragmentation on TV today, the 71 share actually matches the highest for a Super Bowl since 1982.

Fox’s pre-game show, which included Bill O’Reilly’s interview with President Barack Obama, averaged a 12.2/24,  up 13% from last year’s 10.8/21 and the best overnight rating for a Super Bowl pre-game show in eight years. The four-and-a-half-hour pre-game show started off with a 4.5/10 from 2-2:30 PM, rising steadily to a 33.7/56 from 6-6:30 PM.

As for Fox’s post-game attraction, a special episode of Glee, it was down from what CBS’ Undercover Boss scored after the big game last year. From 10:30-11:30 PM, Fox’s average was 16.5/28 (Glee aired from 10:39-11:44 PM). Last year, Undercover Boss averaged a 22.5/36 metered market rating and drew 38.7 million viewers, the most for a post-Super Bowl program in almost a decade. (Since Survivor in 2001). Reality shows clearly work better behind the big game.

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