[UPDATE: The final audience total for Super Bowl XLVIII ended up at 112.2 million viewers, “New Girl” ended up with 26.3 million and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” with 15.1 million.]
Apologies for this morning’s incorrect guess that no records would be broken by Super Bowl XLVIII.
The lopsided result was presaged by a safety on the game’s first play from scrimmage, but the Seahawks rout over the Broncos was still watched by 111.5 million viewers on average, making it latest Super Bowl to grab the crown of The Must-Watched Television Show in U.S. History.
The 111.5 million viewers edged out the 111.3 million viewers averaged by Super Bowl XLVI. Last year’s Super Bowl, a far better game in terms of that “football” stuff drooped to 108.69 million viewers.
Remember all of those quaint years when the “MASH” finale held the record with a piddly 105.9 million viewers? Those were the days.
FOX boasts that the kickoff for the game was up by 12 percent over last year and, despite the dreadful quality of football and the lack of competitiveness, the closing minutes of the game were only 5 percent lower than the rest of the game.
Also breaking records was the halftime show, which averaged 115.3 million, a big bump over the 110.8 million viewers delivered by last year’s Beyonce-fest and topping the 114 million for Madonna two years ago.
The Super Bowl led into “New Girl,” which actually aired entirely in primetime and averaged 25.8 million viewers, including an 11.1 rating among adults 18-49. FOX is mighty pleased that “New Girl” was up by 23 percent in total viewers and 42 percent in the key demo over last year’s post-Super Bowl episode of “Elementary.” That episode aired way out of primetime and, sadly for CBS, failed to lead to even the tiniest of long-term ratings growth.
Airing its first bit in primetime and then continuing into the 11 p.m. hour, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” averaged 14.8 million viewers and a 6.7 rating among adults 18-49.
The night was big enough that FOX is now projecting that it has moved into first place for the season among adults 18-49, jumping ahead of the fall’s leader, NBC. Of course, NBC has the Olympics starting on Friday.
If you’re curious what people were watching on Sunday night other than the Super Bowl, the answer appears to be: “Downton Abbey.” PBS reports that the 9 p.m. airing of the Emmy-winning British hit drew 6.8 million viewers, ranking as the No.2 program on TV in the 9 p.m. hour and rising a whopping 3 percent over last year’s Super Bowl confrontation.