Super Bowl 2012 Most-Watched Show in US History

Super Bowl XLVI is the most-watched television program in U.S. history, according to NBC Sports. The network revealed Monday that more viewers tuned in for the Giants-Patriots game than they have for any other Super Bowl match. 

Super Bowl(Photo: REUTERS/John Sommers II)Confetti is blown onto the field after the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots to win the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game in Indianapolis, Indiana, February 5, 2012.

Citing "fast national data" from The Nielsen Company, NBC announced that 111.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots 21-17. Last year's figure was 111 million viewers, who tuned in on Fox to watch the quarterback Aaron Rodgers lead the Greenbay Packers in a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

According to the network, the list of most-watched programs in U.S. television history are:

1. 111.3 Million – Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Feb. 5, 2012)
2. 111.0 Million – Super Bowl XLV, Fox
3. 106.5 Million – Super Bowl XLIV, CBS
4. 106.0 Million – M.A.S.H. Finale, CBS
5. 98.7 Million – Super Bowl XLIII, NBC

NBC also revealed that Super Bowl 46 is the highest-rated event of its kind in 26 years, reporting that the game earned a 47.0 rating and a 71 share. "The 47.0 rating is the 6th highest in Super Bowl history," according to the network. 

The Super Bowl game also attracted a unique number of advertisers for the 18-49-year-old demographic, the highest the franchise has seen in 16 years. Among some of the most-talked about ads from the event was David Beckham's Super Bowl ad that saw the professional soccer player in his underwear. 

The number of viewers also grew Sunday night when New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning delivered a solid pass in the fourth quarter to lead his team to victory. The viewership number peaked at 117.7 milion between 9:30 p.m. and 9:58 p.m., the network reported. 

Both the Super Bowl and NBC scored another win with last night's game which featured Madonna's halftime performance coming in as the most-watched ever halftime show in the event's history. Maddona's halftime performance was welcome by most audiences, and touted as "super-safe" in comparison to previous Super Bowl performances. 

"The halftime performance by Madonna (8-8:30), was seen by 114.0 million viewers, nearly four million more than last year's performance featuring the Black Eyed Peas (110.3 million), and is the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show featuring entertainment ever (dating back to 1991)," according to NBC.