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Alan Alda tips hat - albeit reluctantly - to Saints for breaking `MASH' ratings record

February 8, 2010 |  3:37 pm

MASH

Alan Alda isn't too angry about the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts getting a bigger audience than the series finale of his hit CBS sitcom "MASH," but his statement about it doesn't seem like he's jumping for joy either.

"If they broke our record, I'm happy for New Orleans and I hope it gives even more to cheer about to a city I love," Alda said. CBS's coverage of the Super Bowl averaged 106.5 million viewers, just beating the 106 million that the 1983 series finale to "MASH" averaged. In those days, there were only three networks and 83.3 million homes. Now there are hundreds of channels, the Internet and 115 million television homes.

Alda, who played Hawkeye Pierce during the show's 11-year run, wonders how accurate the numbers really are. "I know it sounds evil to mention, but how does Nielsen know how many actual people were watching either broadcast?" he asked. We often wonder the same thing.

Wayne Rogers, who played Trapper John for three seasons on "MASH," said while the Super Bowl numbers were big, "MASH" is a better financial bet.

"That Super Bowl is never going to earn what "MASH" earned that's for sure, because there's no reruns for that Super Bowl," Rogers told Fox Business Network.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: "MASH." Credit: Fox.

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