Everyone loves a good love story

The big winner Sunday with their coverge of Super Bowl LVIII was CBS Sports. Nielsen data and Adobe Analytics report that the Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime victory over San Francisco 49ers drew 123.4 million average viewers across all platforms (CBS Television, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision and digital properties such as NFL+).

That makes it the most-watched program ever, up seven per cent from last year’s Super Bowl (115.1 million). CBS Sports says more than 200 million viewers watched all or part of the game, the highest unduplicated total audience in history.

Was the “Swift Factor” the reason for the boost? In broadcasts of Kansas City games earlier in the season, where wildly popular singer Taylor Swift was shown celebrating in private boxes every time her beau, tight end Travis Kelce, caught a pass, network coverage showed significant gains, especially among female viewers. That being said, NFL games all by themselves remain the single biggest draw on broadcast and cable television, andf that this game was a come from behind win in overtime. So, yes, give KC quarterback Patrick Mahomes some credit.

In Canada, Super Bowl LVIII drew 8.6 million across all CTV Totals with another 2.3 million watching on TSN. That close to 11 million total likely tops past Super Bowl numbers in Canada. It falls well short, however, of the reported 16 million who saw Sidney Crosby score the winner in Canada’s Gold Medal game at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter games. That was back when the recently-introduced Personal People Meters, a listening device, were counting the lice on the heads of sleeping children through the walls in the next rooms.

The CBS number, which could be adjusted slightly when final numbers are calculated Tuesday, likely falls short of the only other TV show ever to outdraw even the magnetic pull of Taylor Swift — the July, 1969, Apollo 11 moon landing. It is calculated that between 125 and 150 million viewers watched Neil Armstrong take his one small step on the surface of the moon that summer.

Ratings were calculated with a diary method back then, so they have to be taken with a grain of moon dust. The fact that the population of the United States and Canada, however, has nearly doubled in the ensuing 55 years puts the moon shot as the show everybody who was around back then watched. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, however, did not have to compete with AppleTV+, Netflix, Disney+ and so many other cable and streaming distractions.


With new moon missions in the planning stages, the smart money is on an astronaut as Swift’s next boyfriend.

Meanwhile, the late start due to the overtime game did not hurt the series CBS slid into the covetted post-Super Bowl slot.

Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw, from the CBS original pilot TRACKER. — Photo: Lindsay Siu/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tracker scored 18.4 million viewers and is expected to exceed 25 million once PVR viewers are factored in by the end of the week. CBS says the drama, starring Justin Hartly, is the most successful new series launch this season and the most-watched broadcast network entertainment series since The Equalizer bowed after the Super Bowl in 2021.

Tracker found a big auidence despite being the latest-starting post-Super Bowl premiere ever. The series did 16 per cent better than last year’s Super Bowl follow-up, Next Level Chef.

Even later, a special weekend episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, with Jon Stewart as special guest, posted its largest audience since 2021.

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