Entertainment Industry

« Previous | Company Town Home | Next »

Saints' Super Bowl win nips 'MASH' finale for most-watched show ever

BREESSB

Move over Hawkeye Pierce, looks like Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints just took your ratings crown along with the Super Bowl title.

A record 106.5 million people watched the Saints write a storybook ending to their dream season by beating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV on CBS, according to Nielsen.

That's not only the biggest audience to date for the Super Bowl, but the biggest audience for a televised event in the U.S. ever -- barely knocking off the finale of CBS' "MASH," which averaged almost 106 million viewers when it ran in 1983.

Of course, the television landscape has changed dramatically here over the last 30 years. When the "MASH" finale ran in 1983, there were 83.3 million television homes; now there are almost 115 million television homes. One can spin that beating the record set by "MASH" was inevitable.

Though there may be more eyeballs available now than there were 27 years ago, there are also a lot more options for viewers, making the Super Bowl number more impressive. "MASH" played in the glory days of three broadcast networks. Now, people also have hundreds of cable channels and the Internet as entertainment options.

There was some concern that power outages caused by heavy snow in the mid-Atlantic region may have hampered viewing. Instead, it looks like the cold and snow helped, keeping people inside and in front of their televisions on Sunday night. It was a similar story in 1982 when a snowstorm and Arctic blast hit that region and CBS' coverage of the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals scored a then-record 85.2 million viewers. 

When it comes to big-event programming, it is becoming clear that the Internet is more friend than foe to television ratings. The growth of social media creates a national water cooler for viewers to share thoughts and trade quips about what they're watching. Someone watching the game alone can now feel like they are watching it at a party without having to worry about cleaning up dishes later. Twitter was overloaded a few times during the game, with people tweeting about advertisements -- particularly the spot featuring David Letterman, Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey -- as well as about the game and The Who's halftime performance.

The big number provided a strong lead-in for CBS' new reality show "Undercover Boss," which premiered after the game and drew 38.6 million viewers. That is also a record for a new show's premiere after the Super Bowl. CBS took a gamble by launching a brand new show after the Super Bowl. The network ran a very tight post-game show so that "Undercover Boss" started at 10:13 p.m. EST. Sometimes the game and post-game show run so long that it's not unusual for the entertainment programming scheduled after the game to start after 10:30 p.m. in the East, which usually means lower ratings as fatigued viewers drift away.

In recent years, networks have tended to use the post-Super Bowl time slot for a special episode of an established show, as was the case last year with NBC and "The Office." The last time a network premiered a new show was in 1999, when Fox ran "Family Guy" after the match between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.

For history buffs, last year's down-to-the-wire Super Bowl match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals on NBC averaged 98.7 million viewers. This is the fifth year in a row that the Super Bowl has averaged more than 90 million viewers, making it the new norm for success. Prior to the February 2006 match between Pittsburgh and Seattle, the previous seven Super Bowls had fewer than 90 million viewers.

Ad rates for Sunday's match were between the range of $2.5 million and $2.7 million although some advertisers may have paid as much as $3 million to get into the game. Look for News Corp.'s Fox, which has the game next year, to use this year's huge ratings to try to push the cost per 30-second spot well over the $3-million mark.

If it seemed like you had more time to run to the kitchen or bathroom during the game, that's because you did. According to industry consulting firm Kantar Media, the telecast had 47 minutes and 50 seconds of commercials, a new record. If only a few had been as clever as the spot with Letterman, Leno and Winfrey.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees enjoys the moment after the Saints' victory. Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

 
Comments () | Archives (28)

What a great thing for New Orleans! They so deserved something great to happen in that city, as they were ignored by the government, and still have plenty mess go clean up--but this would sure help the city's worth more than anything from the inside-out. Best of all was watching Brees carrying his small son--something this country needs just as bad--fathers who care for their children, as there are still 10 million single parents, and having raised 4 kids by myself, it takes two.

Umm, you're wrong. Have you forgotten about a little 'ol event called the World Cup? Ya, that little 90 minute soccer match for the final gets AT LEAST triple that 106 million figure you throw out. The Super Bowl and the MASH finale are not the most watched televised events ever, not even close. Get your facts straight.

So M*A*S*H received 106 million viewers with only 83.3 million homes with televisions and Superbowl XLIV received 106.5 million viewers with 115 million homes with televisions. M*A*S*H had a 127.8% conversion while Superbowl XLIV only had a 92.6% conversion. I would say that M*A*S*H clearly won.

We should also look at the population numbers as well. In 1983, there were 233 million people in the US. Today there is over 303 million. M*A*S*H had a 45.4% conversion while Superbowl XLIV had a 34.9% conversion.

In both cases, the M*A*S*H finale had a larger viewing (% available viewers and population).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-watched_television_broadcasts

he most popular regular-broadcast sports event and TV programme is the English Premier League. It is broadcast to 600 million households in 202 countries

There may be more channels today than there were way back when, but I look at it this way; even though many people have 300+ channels to choose from, 99% of them are just plain crap.

he most popular regular-broadcast sports event and TV programme is the English Premier League. It is broadcast to 600 million households in 202 countries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-watched_television_broadcasts#World


Now we all know network TV rules the world... not the boring Internet. And I'm a young guy to know how boring Web has become.

WHO DAT BABY THE SAINTS FIRST SUPERBOWL AND WON

Hooray for the Saints! Poor poor Indianapolis and our good friend Peyton. Pwned! Ok, now on to business. Let's do the math, MASH: 106 million viewers per 83.3 million television homes = 1.27 whilst SUPERBOWL 44: 106.5 million viewers per 115 million homes = 0.93. I'd say with this adjustment, MASH still comes out ahead..

The writer essentially states in the fourth paragraph that statistics are spin, but it's the next paragraph, with its overarching conjecture and tendentious logic, that is truly spin.

Either way, both TV and the Internet are a bore.

MASH is still better.

"That's not only the biggest audience to date for the Super Bowl, but the biggest audience for a televised event ever"
EDIT
"That's not only the biggest audience to date for the Super Bowl, but the biggest audience for a televised event ever in this country"

The Champions League, Olympics and World Cup generate more of an audience around the world. What's funny is your 106.5 million figure is for the world (since 1/3 of the population in this country probably didn't watch the Super Bowl), so we know you used worldwide figures to get your inaccurate statement that it's the most watched event ever. It's not even close. This summers World Cup will shatter that number.

Right from the start the story has issues: "Move over Hawkeye Pierce, looks like Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints just took your ratings crown along with the Super Bowl title."

But "ratings crown?"

M*A*S*H signed off with a 60.2 rating and 77 share. Nowhere in the story does it mention the rating for the Super Bowl but I'm guessing it wasn't a 60. Perhaps the writer didn't know ratings and total viewers are NOT one and the same. That's why the rating is a more significant number: it's the percentage of the population watching a specific program whereas viewership will always rise with subsequent Super Bowls because the population as a whole continues to rise.

The City of New Orleans is holding a huge triumphant parade tomorrow, like when a Roman general returned home to Rome following a conquest. Ad victorem spolias. Lombardi prenda est.

Eric, we're talking about U.S. ratings, not other countries.

You're right, Jim.

It's similar to adjusting for inflation for movie grosses.

That's awesome, especially because Alan Alda is such a self righteous jerk.

Umm, you're wrong. Have you forgotten about a little 'ol event called the World Cup? Ya, that little 90 minute soccer match for the final gets AT LEAST triple that 106 million figure you throw out. The Super Bowl and the MASH finale are not the most watched televised events ever, not even close. Get your facts straight.

Posted by: Eric | February 08, 2010 at 12:35 PM
------------------------------------------------------------
Eric, perhaps, you should read the story.
The story specifically stated;

That's not only the biggest audience to date for the Super Bowl, but the biggest audience for a televised event IN THE US, EVER.

-- barely knocking off the finale of CBS' "MASH," which averaged almost 106 million viewers when it ran in 1983.
------------------------------------------------------------
There's probably 27 people in Michigan, who watch the World Cup, in America, and only five of those speak English.

I think the writer was referring to the American Audience.

But, I could be wrong.

Dennis

M.A.S.H. still wins with 77% of homes viewing as opposed to this SB with 68% homes viewing.

I don't think Drew Brees really cares if the Super Bowl broke the most-watched show ever record, no matter how you account for the numbers.
The perfect storm of activity for NOLA is happening tonight and for the next week as the Saints parade takes place downtown and Mardi Gras a week from today.
Geaux Saints!

CCR
=:~)

The problem with this story is that the numbers are wrong. The final episode of MASH had 125 million viewers (AP, March 3, 1983). So its still the ratings champ.

The Champions League, Olympics and World Cup generate more of an audience around the world. Right from the start the story has issues: "Move over Hawkeye Pierce, looks like Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints just took your ratings crown along with the Super Bowl title."I think the writer was referring to the American Audience. But, I could be wrong.

What's funny is your 106.5 million figure is for the world (since 1/3 of the population in this country probably didn't watch the Super Bowl), so we know you used worldwide figures to get your inaccurate statement that it's the most watched event ever. It's not even close.

That's why the rating is a more significant number: it's the percentage of the population watching a specific program whereas viewership will always rise with subsequent Super Bowls because the population as a whole continues to rise. Perhaps the writer didn't know ratings and total viewers are NOT one and the same. And more then that its not really ethical either.

 
1 2 | »

Advertisement
Connect

Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Photos: L.A.’s busiest filming sites

Video





Categories

Companies


Archives