Super Bowl XLIV Most-Watched Program in TV History

CBS Sports played it straight with its coverage of Super Bowl XLIV and Americans across the country tuned in in droves. The New Orleans Saints’ 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts was watched by an average of 106.5 million viewers, giving it the new crown of most-watched program in TV history. The final episode of M*A*S*H, which aired in 1983, now stands second in the category with 106 million viewers.

“With all the memorable story lines going into Super Bowl XLIV combined with the awesome power of the NFL, we are thrilled with this rating, and I am extremely proud of the way the entire CBS Television Network produced, sold, and promoted the most-watched television show in history,” says Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports.

The CBS Television Network’s coverage of Super Bowl XLIV earned an average fast national household rating/share of 45.0/68, up 7% from last year’s 42.0/64 (Pittsburgh-Arizona), making it the highest-rated Super Bowl in 14 years (1/28/96; 46.0/68; Dallas-Pittsburgh).

Sunday night’s Super Bowl HH rating/share peaked at a 48.5/70 from 9:00-9:30 p.m., with an average of 114.1 million viewers.

Nielsen estimates that CBS’s coverage of Super Bowl XLIV was seen in-all-or par by 153.4 million viewers, 1% higher than last year’s previous high of 151.6 million (NBC).