Super Bowl gives Fox the winning goal in TV ratings

Super Bowl LIV -  Patrick Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV.
(Getty Images)

In an era when ratings for comparable programs customarily decrease on a year-to-year basis, ratings for Sunday’s post-Super Bowl program were higher than last year’s.

Viewership for the post-Super Bowl third-season premiere of “The Masked Singer” on Fox was 6.9% higher than last year’s post-Super Bowl program, the premiere of the short-lived CBS talent show “The World’s Best.”

“The Masked Singer” averaged 23.73 million viewers, the most for a prime-time entertainment program since last year’s Oscar ceremony, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.


Viewership for most forms of programming has decreased in recent years, in part because of competition from streaming programs, including streams of the same programs shown on traditional television.

Official Super Bowl viewership ended a four-year streak of declines as Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl LIV drew 1.5% more viewers than Super Bowl LIII on CBS.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday averaged 99.91 million viewers. The average audience grew to 102.1 million when viewership from digital sources — Fox, NFL, Verizon, Chiefs and 49ers properties — and the Spanish-language broadcast from Fox Deportes is added, according to Fox. Nielsen does not measure audiences for streaming programming.

The official audience was the 10th largest for a Super Bowl.

CBS’ coverage of the Rams’ 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII officially averaged 98.48 million viewers, the smallest audience for a Super Bowl since 2008. Super Bowl LIII was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl.

Super Bowl viewership began declining after the 2015 game on NBC averaged a record 114.44 million viewers for the Patriots’ 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

For the week, CBS had the five highest-rated programs and seven of the top eight in the first six days, led by “NCIS,” which averaged 12.13 million viewers to finish fifth among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Jan. 27 and Sunday.


The Super Bowl gave Fox its sixth weekly victory of the 19-week-old 2019-20 prime-time television season, averaging 25.09 million viewers for its 16 hours of programming for the week, enabling it to pass previous leader CBS and NBC into first in the season-long ratings race.

CBS was second, averaging 5.18 million, followed by NBC, which averaged 3.45 million, and ABC, which averaged 3.25 million.
CBS, NBC and Fox each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming.

On cable, all but one of the 15 highest-rated programs was Fox News Channel programming related to President Trump’s impeachment trial, led by the Friday edition of the political talk show “Hannity,” which averaged 4.50 million viewers, 30th overall.

The only non-Fox News Channel program to break into the cable top 15 was ESPN’s coverage of the Lakers’ first game since retired star Kobe Bryant’s death, which averaged 4.41 million viewers, fourth among cable programs and 36th overall.

Fox News Channel was the highest-rated cable network for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.84 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 2.66 million, followed by MSNBC, which averaged 1.79 million.