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Super Bowl most-watched telecast ever

NBC draws 111.3 million viewers Sunday

The NFL proved once again on Sunday that it’s in a ratings league of its own, as the Giants’ victory over the Patriots in the Super Bowl on NBC drew 111.3 million viewers to become the most-watched telecast on record.

Since drawing 86.1 million viewers in 2005, the big game has seen ratings increases in each of the last seven years.

The Peacock also had to be pleased with the huge tune-in after the game for the second-season launch of “The Voice,” which delivered 37.6 million viewers. The singing competition bowed in its regular timeslot Monday night, leading into the debut of midseason drama “Smash.”

As for the game, it beat out viewership numbers for last year’s Green Bay-Pittsburgh Super Bowl on Fox in both adults 18-49 rating (40.5 vs. 39.9) and total viewers (111.3 million vs. 111.0 million).

The 111.3 million is more than the combined audience for the most recent deciding games of baseball’s World Series (25.4 million), college football’s BCS title game (24.2 million), basketball’s NBA Finals (23.9 million), college basketball’s NCAA men’s championship (20.1 million) and hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals (8.5 million).

Sunday’s game outperformed the 2008 event, when the Giants and Patriots were last matched in the Super Bowl, by 8% in 18-49 (40.5 vs. 37.5) and by 12% in total viewers (111.3 million vs. 97.4 million).

This year’s game was more competitive down the stretch, which likely helped push it ahead of last year; it hit nearly 118 million in its final half-hour. Also, the halftime show featuring Madonna in the 8 p.m. ET half-hour drew 114 million viewers — better than last year’s featuring the Black Eyed Peas (110.3 million). It was the most-watched Super Bowl intermission in at least 20 years.

Sunday’s household score for the Super Bowl (47.0 rating/71 share) grew 2% from last year’s 46.0/69 and is the best since the 1996 Super Bowl between Dallas and Pittsburgh (46.0/68 on NBC). In Boston the game registered a 56.7/81, the highest overnight ever for an NFL game in the market, and a 49.7/74 in New York, the second best ever for any NFL contest in Gotham.

Following the post-game show and starting at about 10:20 p.m. ET, “The Voice” drew a colossal 16.3 rating in adults 18-49 — nearly three times the top score of the show’s inaugural season last spring (5.7). It edges out the series premiere of “Undercover Boss” on CBS two years ago (16.2) to stand as the highest-rated post-Super Bowl program since ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2005.

In total viewers, its 37.6 million was a bit behind the 38.7 million for “Boss” and is the second largest post-Super Bowl audience in seven years.

By comparison, last year’s episode of “Glee” on Fox did an 11.1/29 in 18-49 and 26.8 million viewers.

Sunday’s special seg of “The Voice” is also NBC’s top-rated entertainment telecast since “Friends” wrapped in May 2004.

Elsewhere, competing networks were battling for crumbs. Univision was runner-up among demos with a mere 0.9 rating in adults 18-49, while CBS was the second most-watched network overall with 4.1 million viewers.

NBC’s Sunday lineup also featured a special edition of “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” from Indianapolis, which averaged a 2.5 rating in 18-49 and 6.2 million viewers overall from 11:56 p.m.-12:56 a.m. ET. This telecast easily stands as Fallon’s top-rated to date in both adults 18-49 (previous high: 1.9) and total viewers (previous high: 4 million). Previous highs were set Jan. 22, 2010.

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