Biggest Night in TV History?

  • by January 30, 2001
By Anya Khait

Nothing seemed to go CBS Sports' way during the Super Bowl, dragging the TV rating down to one of the event's lowest in 30 years. The telecast drew a 40.3 national rating with a record-low 60 share. That means an average of 40.3% of the country's TV homes were watching at any given moment, while 60% of in-use televisions were tuned to the game.

The lowest previous share for any Super Bowl was 61, in 1999 (on Fox) and in 1992 (the last time CBS televised the game).

The rating for Sunday's game was down 7% from last year's Super Bowl on ABC, and slightly higher than the 40.2 for 1999, when the Denver Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-19.

The only other Super Bowl since 1971 with a lower rating was the 1990 game, which drew a 39.0 on CBS as the San Francisco 49ers topped the Denver Broncos 55-10.

CBS's bottom line won't suffer, though. The Sunday package - featuring "Super Bowl XXXV," the MTV produced halftime show, Post Game and premiere of "Survivor: The Australian Outback" - was watched by approximately 143 million viewers, making Jan. 28 one of the most watched nights in network television history, according to Nielsen preliminary affiliate based ratings.

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Nielsen Media Research estimates that more than 131 million viewers watched all or part of "Super Bowl XXXV," and that some 58.4 million watched all or part of "Survivor."

According to Nielsen, "Super Bowl XXXV" delivered a 40.3/60, the Post Game earned a 28.7/43, the highest-rated since 1998 and "Survivor: The Australian Outback" scored a whopping 23.6/38, which makes it the second highest rated post-Super Bowl program since the advent of people meters.

Anya Khait may be reached at anya@mediapost.com

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