Super Bowl XLV (Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh) on Fox was the most watched U.S. television program ever, with a staggering 111 million viewers on Sunday, Feb. 6, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
Comparably, this beats the prior high, Super Bowl XLIV (Indianapolis vs. New Orleans) one year earlier (106.5 million on CBS on Feb. 7, 2010) by 4.5 million viewers. Also, this is the fourth consecutive Super Bowl to set a viewership record.
As a benchmark, here is the total viewer count for the Super Bowl over the last 10 years.
2/07/10 - Super Bowl XLIV (CBS): Indianapolis vs. New Orleans – 106.48 million
2/01/09 - Super Bowl XLIII (NBC): Arizona vs. Pittsburgh – 98.73 million
2/03/08 - Super Bowl XLII (Fox): New York Giants at New England – 97.45 million
2/04/07 - Super Bowl XLI (CBS): Chicago vs. Indianapolis – 93.18 million
2/05/06 - Super Bowl XL (ABC): Seattle vs. Pittsburgh – 90.74 million
2/06/05 - Super Bowl XXXIX (Fox): Philadelphia vs. New England – 86.07 million
2/01/04 - Super Bowl XXXVIII (CBS): Carolina vs. New England – 89.79 million
1/26/03 - Super Bowl XXXVII (ABC): Tampa Bay vs. Oakland – 88.64 million
2/03/02 - Super Bowl XXXVI (Fox): St, Louis vs. New England – 86.80 million
1/28/01 - Super Bowl XXXV (CBS): New York Giants vs. Baltimore – 84.33 million
Super Bowl XLV also set a new mark for total viewership of any program in U.S. history (persons age 2-plus viewing all or part of the game), with a reported 162.9 million people watching. Comparably, that was 9.5 million more than the record set one year earlier (153.4 million).
Following the Super Bowl Post Game (viewers: 66.0 million at 10 p.m.), a special airing of Glee rose to a series high 26.8 million viewers, with an 11.1 rating among adults 18-49. But one year earlier, the series premiere of Undercover Boss out of Super Bowl XVIV on CBS was considerably stronger at 38.65 million viewers and a 16.2/38 in the demo on Feb. 7, 2010.
The airing of Super Bowl XLV, the Post Game Show and Glee goes down in the record books as Fox's most watched night of prime time ever, as well as Fox's highest rated night historically among adults 18-49.