The TV Column: For Pigskin and Puppies, Sunday Was a Real Winner

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

NBC's Sunday broadcast of the Super Bowl got promoted to the second-most-watched program in U.S. television history, and NBC wound up with the week's most viewers.

Here's a look at the week's touchdowns and fumbles:


· Super Bowl XLIII. Sunday's Super Bowl was not watched by an average of 95.4 million viewers, as previously reported. Sunday's Super Bowl was watched by an average of 98.7 million viewers, and is therefore the most-watched Super Bowl ever.

On Monday, NBC said Nielsen agreed there was a problem, which caused "enormous disparity" between the preliminary game numbers issued Monday and the final numbers out yesterday.

Nielsen said the problem was -- NBC. Early stats relied on a list of Super Bowl broadcasting stations supplied to Nielsen by NBC. "Stations were left off" the list, a Nielsen rep said.

With its additional 3.3 million viewers, Sunday's Super Bowl eclipses last year's to become the second-most-watched program in U.S. television history, behind only the "M*A*S*H" finale in 1983, which averaged 106 million viewers.

· "Puppy Bowl." About 8 million people dipped in and out of Animal Planet's Super Bowl alternative throughout the afternoon and evening Sunday. The pooch play enjoyed its biggest audience between 3 and 5 p.m., when it averaged 1.2 million viewers. Between 8 and 9 p.m., the Puppy Bowl actually rivaled CW's broadcast of "Throw Momma From the Train" for viewers.

· "Chuck." NBC heavily promoted this past Monday's returning lineup before those 98.7 million Super Bowl viewers. The result? The 3-D "Chuck" logged an audience of 8.5 million -- a modest increase over the show's season-to-date average of 7.6 million. The rest of the Monday slate didn't even do that well (see: Losers).


· "Heroes"/"Medium." Returning to NBC this past Monday -- the night after being highly hyped during the Super Bowl -- "Heroes" scored 8.6 million viewers, which falls short of its season average of 10.2 mil. After that, the season debut of "Medium" logged 8.6 million viewers -- short of last season's debut (10.5 million) and last season's average (9.6 million).

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