Each year during the month of January the media begins its hype about the Super Bowl as the most-watched TV show. Although the Super Bowl has been bested by three primetime shows, it does indeed dominate the top ten list. On average, the Super Bowls attract more than 100 million viewers who gather around TV sets, in one of the most cherished American traditions, to watch an exciting game of football as well as to watch — and critique — the equally-hyped clever ads that sell for $3.5 million per 30 seconds.
The first Super Bowl was televised in 1967 (Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs at the Los Angeles Coliseum) by both CBS and NBC and was seen by 24.4 million. Back then, 30-second ads went for $37,500 (or about $250,000 in today’s dollars). Also, back then the game was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game; the big game would not be called the Super Bowl until after 1970. Below is the list of the most watched TV shows in the US:
1. MASH series finale
2. Dallas, “Who Shot JR” episode
3. Roots miniseries finale
4. Super Bowl XVI, 49ers vs Bengals
5. Super Bowl XVII, Redskins vs. Dolphins
6. XVII Winter Olympics, Kerrigan vs Harding
7. Super Bowl XX, Bears vs. Patriots
8. Oprah, Michael Jackson Interview
9. Gone with the Wind, Part 1
10. Gone with the Wind, Part 2
For further reading: http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2009/01/18/historical-super-bowl-tv-ratings/11044/.