NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl LII gave it its most- watched week during the official television season since 2010 even though the game drew its smallest audience since 2009.
NBC averaged 23.08 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Jan. 29 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen. The viewership was NBC’s largest since it averaged 24.75 million viewers the week of Feb. 15-21, 2010, its first full week of coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl LII Sunday averaged 103.391 million viewers, the least for a Super Bowl since 2009, when NBC’s coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII averaged a then-record 106.476 million viewers.
Every Super Bowl between 2010 and 2017 averaged at least 106 million viewers, with six averaging at least 111 million viewers.
Viewership was down 7.1 percent from the 111.317 million-average for the Patriots 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI which aired on Fox in 2017.
Super Bowl LII is the 10th most-watched program in U.S. television history behind eight Super Bowls and the final episode of the CBS comedy “M.A.S.H.” in 1983.
The viewership for Super Bowl LII was more than the combined figure for Game 7 of baseball’s World Series (28.287), the fifth and final game of the NBA Finals (24.528) and NCAA men’s basketball championship game (23.008) in 2017.
The viewership figure does not include out of home viewing, which is set to be released by Nielsen on Thursday and is expected to increase the audience by several million people or the average minute audience of 2.02 million viewers who watched the livestream of the game.
The 20-minute Super Bowl postgame show averaged 73.451 million viewers, 20.3 percent less than the 61.081-million average for last year’s Super Bowl postgame show.
The episode of the drama “This Is Us” that followed NBC’s postgame show averaged 26.972 million viewers, the most-watched post-Super Bowl telecast since 2012 when an episode of the NBC singing competition “The Voice” averaged 37.61 million viewers.
In a week when Tuesday’s prime-time schedules were scrambled by coverage of the State of the Union, CBS was second, averaging 6.08 million, followed among the broadcast networks by ABC, which averaged 3.77 million, and Fox, which averaged 2.87 million.
NBC aired 20 hours, 16 minutes of programming for ratings purposes; CBS 20 hours, three minutes; ABC 20 hours, 20 minutes and Fox 14 hours.
An average of 45.6 million viewers watched the State of the Union on 12 networks. Because none of the four major broadcast networks ran commercials during the speech, it was not included in their weekly averages.
However, Fox News Channel’s State of the Union coverage was included in Nielsen’s list of the week’s most-watched cable programs, averaging 11.715 million viewers, sixth among the week’s prime-time programs.
An 11-minute analysis segment on Fox News Channel that immediately followed the speech was second among cable programs and seventh for the week, averaging 10.539 million viewers and a 10-minute preview third among cable programs and eighth for the week, averaging 9.946 million.
CBS had each of the week’s four most-watched entertainment programs behind “This Is Us” — “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon,” “Blue Bloods” and “Mom.”
Outside of what it aired Sunday, NBC’s most-watched program was “Ellen’s Game of Games,” eighth among entertainment programs and 13th overall, averaging 7.583 million viewers.
ABC’s most-watched program was the drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” 11th overall and sixth among entertainment programs, averaging 8.935 million viewers.
Fox’s most-watched program was “9-1-1,” 21st among broadcast programs, averaging 6.207 million viewers.
The premiere of the NBC comedy “A.P. Bio” was fourth in its 9:31-10 p.m. time slot last Thursday and 83rd for the week, averaging 3.117 million viewers. It retained 75.7 percent of the 4.117-million audience of “Will & Grace” that preceded it.
Fox News Channel had each of the week’s 13 most-watched prime-time cable programs to be the most-watched cable network for the third consecutive week, averaging 3.749 million viewers. MSNBC was second, averaging 1.863 million and USA Network third, averaging 1.459 million. All three cable networks aired 22 hours of programming for ratings purposes.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Univision’s State of the Union coverage, which averaged 2.036 million viewers, 75th among broadcast programs. Its overall ranking was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 13th consecutive week, averaging 1.42 million viewers. Telemundo averaged 1.09 million viewers to finish second for the 13th consecutive week after four consecutive first-place finishes.
UniMas was third, averaging 820,000 viewers, followed by Estrella TV, which averaged 260,000 and Azteca America, which averaged 80,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 10th consecutive week and 21st of past 22, averaging 9.269 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.76 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 6.87 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl LII, its 20-minute postgame show and “This Is Us”; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon”; Fox News Channel’s coverage of the State of the Union, an 11-minute post-speech analysis and a 10-minute analysis segment before the speech; and CBS’ “Blue Bloods” and “Mom.”
—City News Service