Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ten Years of Super Bowls and Lead-Outs


There are other places to find viewership and household info on Super Bowls and lead-out programs going back even farther (here are lists of all the Super Bowls and all the lead-outs on TVBTN) but I wanted to look at both viewers and the adults 18-49 demo, and I could only reliably find that stuff going back ten years. First, the Super Bowls:

Date Number Net Result Viewers (millions) A18-49 rating A18-49 share
1/28/2001 XXXV CBS BAL 34, NYG 7 84.33 35.8 71
2/3/2002 XXXVI Fox NE 20, STL 17 86.80 34.7 70
1/26/2003 XXXVII ABC TB 48, OAK 21 88.64 36.4 70
2/1/2004 XXXVIII CBS NE 32, CAR 29 89.79 35.7 72
2/6/2005 XXXIX Fox NE 24, PHI 21 86.07 33.2 68
2/5/2006 XL ABC PIT 21, SEA 10 90.75 34.6 69
2/4/2007 XLI CBS IND 29, CHI 17 93.18 35.2 70
2/3/2008 XLII Fox NYG 17, NE 14 97.45 37.5 73
2/1/2009 XLIII NBC PIT 27, ARI 23 98.73 36.7 72
2/7/2010 XLIV CBS NO 31, IND 17 106.48 38.6 75

Now, the lead-outs and their retention of the game number. I'll note, of course, that the two programs are separated by the post-game show. In the last four years, the post-game always lasted right around 25 minutes, but in past years it's been more variable (the Alias year is particularly infamous for having a long show, and that contributed in part to its bad retention).


Net Show Viewers (millions) Viewer retention A18-49 rating A18-49 retention
1/28/2001 CBS Survivor 45.37 53.8% 21.8 60.9%
2/3/2002 Fox Malcolm in the Middle 21.45 24.7% 10.5 30.3%
1/26/2003 ABC Alias 17.40 19.6% 8.2 22.5%
2/1/2004 CBS Survivor 33.53 37.3% 14.9 41.7%
2/6/2005 Fox The Simpsons* 23.07 26.8% 11.3 34.0%
2/5/2006 ABC Grey's Anatomy 37.88 41.7% 16.5 47.7%
2/4/2007 CBS Criminal Minds 26.31 28.2% 10.0 28.4%
2/3/2008 Fox House 29.05 29.8% 12.9 34.4%
2/1/2009 NBC The Office 22.91 23.2% 11.0 30.0%
2/7/2010 CBS Undercover Boss 38.65 36.3% 16.2 42.0%

*- The Simpsons was followed by the premiere of American Dad!, not included here since the "retention" is not apples-to-apples when it has another half-hour difference. It got a (preliminary) 15.1 million viewers and 7.5 rating in adults 18-49.

One other thing I was interested in was the longer-term "impact" of the Super Bowl lead-in, so I took a look at how the recent veteran shows did in their last five episodes before getting the lead-in and their first five after.

Net Show 5 before 5 after change
Fox The Simpsons 4.57 4.19 -8.3%
ABC Grey's Anatomy 8.58 10.38 +21.0%
CBS Criminal  Minds 4.44 4.10 -7.7%
Fox House* 7.44 6.32 -15.1%
NBC The Office 4.48 4.30 -4.0%

*- I considered not even including House, which aired just one episode two days after the Bowl before running out of eps and leaving the air for nearly three months due to the strike. It did do slightly better in its one (post-Idol) ep immediately after (9.0) than in its last one before (8.7).
**- Some of these averages have at least some preliminary numbers: 4 for Simpsons before, 3 for Simpsons after, and 1 for Grey's after.

So most veteran shows that air after the Bowl do not get even a short-term bump and just go on taking the typical declines that come with the spring. Even reducing it to just the one ep before/after, Simpsons and Office still saw declines. The impact on Grey's was quite tangible, but apparently it has to be exactly the right kind of show to make a real impact. Will Glee be that kind of show? Like Grey's, it's still relatively young, but I'm not sure it has the room to grow that Grey's clearly still did. Looking at the ratings, it seems the show peaked with its early season 2 eps. We'll see.

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