Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Historically the Super Bowl will add about three tenths of a rating point (adults 18-49) to the season-to-date average of the host network. It often catapulted a network to No. 1 for the season.
It was a testament to the strength of "American Idol" that, at the peak of its success, it was enough for FOX to counter the ratings impact of the Super Bowl. The ultimate kiss of death to the other networks was the years where FOX had "Idol," the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship in primetime. FOX will come out of last night in a much stronger competitive position.
As a programmer, one of the frustrations of Super Bowl night was watching your sports division hold the air with the postgame show when you have an entertainment property waiting to take advantage of the massive lead-in. That was especially the case the year we put a one-hour "Malcolm in the Middle" after the big game.
That was the final year in the broadcasting career of Pat Summerall who, along with John Madden, came over to FOX when we got the NFC package. The postgame show went on forever as our Sports Division paid a lengthy tribute to Summerall on his final telecast.
My boss, Gail Berman, called me to find out when they were going off as we both sensed the "Malcolm" ratings withering away. I know better than to call my pal David Hill in the truck.
That was the longest postgame in Super Bowl history. FOX generally went longer than the other host networks.
The punchline to the story was that early in the next football season I’m watching a game and, who is doing the announcing? PAT SUMMERALL! Gail was watching the game and called to confirm it was the legendary broadcaster. You just can’t make this s**t up.
Last night's game was epic but "24: Legacy" did not get on the air until after 11 ET, so we'll see how all this shakes out.
Tomorrow we’ll play my favorite game: "Who had the Super Bowl last night."
Only post SB viewing was the rewatch of "24: Legacy" (FOX L+SD), which, I have to remind you all, is a comedy.
You can follow me at @maskedscheduler and send me questions at

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017

The numbers for Sunday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. Super Bowl LI (FOX) (7-10:30 p.m.) 33.8/73 111.3*
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) – R 0.3/1 1.72
60 Minutes (CBS) 0.2/1 2.27
Movie: Safe Haven (NBC) (7-9 p.m.) 0.2/1 1.24
8 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) – R 0.5/1 2.26
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.3/1 2.89
9 p.m. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) – R 0.4/1 3.22
Shark Tank (ABC) – R 0.4/1 1.40
Movie: Ride Along (NBC) (9-11 p.m.) 0.4/1 1.34
10 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) – R 0.5/1 3.60
Shark Tank (ABC) – R 0.4/1 1.72
10:30 p.m. Super Bowl postgame (FOX) 18.5/51 51.52

*Time zone-adjusted viewership.

Super Bowl LI was, of course, a massive draw Sunday, but it fell a little bit short of a record audience. The game — the first overtime contest in Super Bowl history — drew a 48.8 rating/72 share in the overnight metered markets. That’s in line with last year’s 49.0/73.

Viewership was down ever so slightly, however. Time zone-adjusted figures from FOX Sports have the game at 111.3 million viewers, a relative handful less than the 111.86 million for Super Bowl 50 last year.

The all-time best for a Super Bowl in the metered markets came in 2015 with a 49.7. That ended up translating to a record 114.4 million viewers.

The game’s household rating was a 45.3, the lowest since 2010 and 18th among the 51 Super Bowls. Household ratings are useful for historical comparisons because they’re a constant percentage of TV homes, irrespective of population growth.

Live streaming of the game had an average minute audience (the closest equivalent to Nielsen TV numbers) of 1.72 million, up from 1.4 million on CBS’ streaming service last year, and a Spanish-langauge broadcast of FOX Deportes drew 650,000 people for a total measured audience of 113.7 million.

The halftime show featuring Lady Gaga drew a 50.0 in the metered markets and, in final figures, 117.5 million viewers. That makes it four years straight that the halftime show has outdrawn the game surround it. Gaga’s performance is the second most-watched ever, behind Katy Perry’s two years ago.

Because overtime pushed the end of the game to about 10:25 p.m. ET, “24: Legacy” didn’t begin until the postgame show wrapped up around 11 o’clock. Numbers for the premiere will be added when they become available.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 31.9/70 0.4/1 0.4/1 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 94.60 2.97 1.78 1.29

: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.
Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings are available at approximately 11 a.m. ET the day after telecast. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. 
Share (of Audience): 
The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. 
Time Shifted Viewing:
 Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live +Same-Day and Live +7 Day. Time-shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+SD includes viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3 a.m. local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live +7 ratings include  viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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