So everyone knew that Fox was going to set a ratings record on Sunday with probably the most anticipated Super Bowl in history, and neither the football teams nor Fox would disappoint. Point in fact, this was the most watched Super Bowl in history, pulling in a monster 65 share, or just under 100 million people screaming from the couch, squirming in the chair, and gusty gamblers in Vegas raking in a fortune.
To give you an idea of just how big that is, American Idol was pulling in about 32-37 million viewers in its most popular year, while the best performing scripted dramas average in the low 20s. So yeah, this Super Bowl tripled up on American Idol, I shit you not.
But was it the most watched TV program of all time? The record books say no, I say yes.
The MASH series finale in 1983, according to the AP, pulled in an estimated 106 million viewers, a little over 10 million more than Super Bowl XLII did -- but you've got to remember that in 1983, there weren't any cable channels, and certainly not five broadcast networks all competing for the same eyes. So it's really not a fair comparison between the two, and even though Fox slaughtered its competition, there were still more than enough people watching other things on other channels to make up the difference.
All things being equal, this was the new most watched program in television history. No offense to MASH, but if this were still 1983, it would have just gotten its ass handed to it.