Super Bowl, Olympics give NBC TV’s highest ratings in two years

A Bengals player preparing to throw a football is grabbed from behind by a Rams player.
Rams defensive end Aaron Donald pressures Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow into throwing an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The combination of Super Bowl LVI and seven nights of Winter Olympics programming gave NBC the largest prime-time audience of any network since Fox aired Super Bowl LIV in 2020.

NBC averaged 23.33 million viewers for its 22 hours of prime-time programming between Feb. 7 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen. Fox averaged 25.09 million viewers for its 16 hours of programming the comparable week of Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2020.

An average of 99.178 million viewers watched the Rams’ 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on NBC, the largest viewership for a program on any U.S network since Super Bowl LIV averaged 101.324 million viewers.


The total average viewership for Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium was 112.3 million viewers, the most for any program since 2017 and a 16.5% increase over last year’s game. The average also included 11.2 million watching on the Peacock streaming service and other digital platforms and 1.907 million watching on Telemundo for the first Spanish-language Super Bowl broadcast in the United States.

The streaming audience was the largest ever for an NFL game.

Following the 15-minute Super Bowl postgame show that averaged 54.065 million viewers, Olympic coverage on NBC averaged 21.277 million viewers, the most for a prime-time Olympics telecast since Feb. 11, 2018, when the first Sunday of NBC’s coverage of the Pyeongchang Games averaged 22.676 million viewers.

The week’s highest-ranked non-sports prime-time program was the Fox procedural drama “9-1-1: Lone Star,” 10th for the week, averaging 5.177 million viewers.

Episodes of “Jeopardy! National College Championship” were ABC’s top four programs of the week, topped by the Friday episode, which averaged 4.6 million viewers, 11th for the week.

CBS’ top-ranked program was “Super Bowl Greatest Commercials: All-Time Classics,” 12th for the week, averaging 4.595 million viewers. CBS also had the week’s most-watched comedy, a rerun of “Young Sheldon” that was 15th for the week, averaging 4.289 million viewers; the most popular 10 p.m. program, a rerun of “FBI: Most Wanted” that averaged 3.423 million viewers, 23rd for the week; and the top-rated first-season program, a rerun of the comedy “Ghosts,” 27th for the week, averaging 3.347 million viewers.

ABC finished second for the week, averaging 2.75 million viewers, followed by CBS, which averaged 2.64 million.


Fox averaged 1.81 million viewers for its 15 hours of programming. The CW averaged 340,000; its ratings leader was the special “World’s Funniest Animals: Valentine’s Day,” which averaged 599,000 viewers, 160th among broadcast programs. Its overall ranking was not available.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl LVI and its 15-minute postgame show; seven Olympics programs on NBC; Fox’s “9-1-1: Lone Star”; the four episodes of ABC’s “Jeopardy! National College Championship”; four CBS entertainment programs; the Thursday edition of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Tucker Carlson Tonight”; and ABC’s coverage of the Lakers’ 117-115 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

For the third consecutive week, five editions of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” were at the top of the cable rankings. The Monday edition finished first, averaging 3.673 million viewers, 19th for the week.

Fox News Channel won the cable network race for the fourth consecutive week following four consecutive second-place finishes behind ESPN, averaging 2.304 million viewers. Winter Olympics coverage enabled USA Network to finish second for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.478 million viewers. MSNBC was third for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 988,000.

CNN finished 18th, one spot lower than the previous week, averaging 476,000 viewers, 12.8% less than the 546,000 viewers it averaged the previous week.

CNN also trailed Hallmark Channel (889,000), HGTV (873,000), ESPN (714,000), History (736,000), Discovery (642,000), TNT (619,000), TBS (610,000), Food Network (596,000), TLC (574,000), Investigation Discovery (555,000), Lifetime (533,000), Travel Channel (501,000), A&E (489,000) and Syfy (480,000).


“The Tinder Swindler” was the most-streamed English-language movie on Netflix for the second consecutive week, with viewers spending 64.7 million hours watching the true-crime documentary in its first full week of release, 41.3% more than the 45.8 million hours watched the previous week when it was available for five days.

The romantic comedy “Tall Girl 2” was second with 27.44 million hours watched in its first three days of release.

Netflix’s most popular television program was “Inventing Anna,” with viewers spending 58.15 million hours in its first three days of release watching the nine-episode limited series about a reporter (Anna Chlumsky) investigating an Instagram-legendary German heiress (Julia Garner) who stole the hearts — and money — of New York’s social scenesters

The 10-episode second season of “Sweet Magnolias” rose three spots to second in its first full week of release with 58.15 million hours watched, 35.2% more than the 43 million hours watched the previous week when the romantic drama was available for three days of release.