Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched TV show ever with 111.3 million viewers

2012 Super Bowl 46

The final numbers are in and last night’s broadcast of the Super Bowl on NBC is officially the most-watched U.S. television program of all time! The final numbers have viewership at 111.3 million, which beats out last year’s Super Bowl on Fox by .3 million.

As far as ratings go, the telecast ranks 6th in Super Bowl history with 40.5% of TV viewers tuning in, the highest rating since the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots played in Super Bowl XX in 1983. (You must remember that is was a little easier to command a higher percentage of overall television viewership before cable.)

Viewership peaked in the last half hour of the telecast with 117 million viewers and 50.7 rating between 9:30-9:58 p.m. ET.

Madonna’s halftime performance was seen by 114 million viewers, making it the most-watched halftime show featuring entertainment of all time. By comparison, last year’s Black Eyed Peas performance brought in 110.3 million viewers.

And the big night for NBC didn’t stop after the New York Giants hoisted the Lombardi trophy either as the Season 2 premiere of The Voice had 37.6 million viewers! That’s a 40% increase from Fox’s showing of Glee from the year before, which had 26.8 million.

And did you know the only non-Super Bowl telecast to make the all-time top 5 list in viewership was the season finale of M*A*S*H* with 106 million viewers in 1983? (That’s a 60.2 rating!)

Source: TV By The Numbers