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Report: Majority Of Most-Watched TV Shows Are NFL Games

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) It's Super Bowl week in America, which means thousands upon thousands of people across the country and in metro Detroit are planning their snacks, sizing up their squares and getting ready to settle in.

Where will they be settling in? In front of the TV -- because it turns out when the TV is on, a majority of people are watching football.

A report Monday found NFL games have accounted for 55 percent of the most-watched TV shows since September 2010. That marks three years of record-breaking NFL TV viewership.

"Fall 2010 was the NFL's most-viewed season reaching a total of 207.7 million fans on television with all five of the NFL's television partners posting viewership increases," the NFL announced.

David Bauder, TV writer with the Associated Press, summed it up this way: "With cable networks and digital video recorders siphoning viewership for regular programming on the broadcast networks, they have come to depend on big events for bursts of attention — things like awards shows and the Olympics.

"Football is most helpful. Of 247 programs that have reached at least 20 million live viewers between Sept. 1, 2010, and Sunday, 136 of them were NFL games, according to Nielsen statistics analyzed by the NFL."

Since Sept. 1, 2010, NFL games have accounted for the majority of television's most-watched shows, based on a minimum show length of 30 minutes, including:

  • 55 percent of all TV shows averaging 20 million viewers
  • 70 percent of all TV shows averaging 30 million viewers
  • 92 percent of all TV shows averaging 40 million viewers

Forty three shows have reached at least 30 million average viewers, and 30 of those were NFL games (24 postseason and six regular season games.) Included in the 30 million club were the London Summer Olympics, the Academy Awards and the Grammys.

In an even more exclusive echelon -- the 40 million viewer club -- 12 shows hit the mark, including 11 post-season NFL games and the London Summer Olympics.

This week leading up the Super Bowl airing on CBS, Bauder said: "Except for the two ''Idol'' episodes, CBS had all of the week's 15 most popular programs. The network averaged 15.9 million viewers in prime time for the week (9.4 rating, 15 share). Fox had 7.5 million (4.4, 7), ABC had 5.8 million (3.8, 6), NBC had 3.7 million (2.4, 4), the CW had 1.6 million (1.0, 2) and ION Television had 1.1 million (0.7, 1)."

CBS' Super Bowl extravaganza runs all week, culminating with game day coverage Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. It airs locally on CBS 62 in Detroit.

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