After spending six hours on the pregame, the game, and the postgame, what’s the best way to unwind after a long day of watching TV? Watching more TV!
• In the early years of the Super Bowl, the game was played and broadcast earlier in the day, not in primetime. Nor was it the TV event or near-holiday it is today. Now the game coverage ends around 10:30 p.m. eastern time, and subsequently earlier in the western time zones. This gives the network airing it (it rotates among the Big 4 broadcast channels each year) an ample opportunity to present a new show or expose an existing show to a potentially huge audience. The concept began in earnest in 1984, when NBC used its post-Super Bowl advantage to help launch The A-Team.
• The most-watched post show was Friends in 1996. More than 52 million viewers stayed on after the Super Bowl to watch an episode with guest stars Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
• The least-watched post-game show of the past few years was CBS’s Elementary, in 2013. The Sherlock Holmes show suffered because it didn’t begin airing until 11:11 p.m.—game coverage had gone extra-long because of a mid-game stadium blackout.
• The show that’s aired after the most Super Bowls: 60 Minutes. The most famous installment occurred in 1992, when the show aired a special 13-minute edition consisting entirely of an interview with presidential candidate Bill Clinton, and his wife, Hillary Clinton, responding to rumors that the former Arkansas governor had had an extramarital affair.
• Among the long-running TV series that debuted immediately after a Super Bowl: The Wonder Years (1988), Family Guy (1999), Jimmy Kimmel Live (2003), and Undercover Boss (2010)
• Not every show with a post-Super Bowl slot went on to become a TV classic or enjoy a long run. Among the shows that launched in that prime spot that were cancelled after less than a year:
-The Last Precinct (1986), an NBC sitcom starring Adam West as the captain of an inept group of police officers
–MacGruder and Loud (1985), an ABC police drama about two cops that had to keep their marriage a secret
–The Good Life (1994) an NBC family sitcom co-starring Drew Carey
–Extreme (1995), an ABC action show starring James Brolin as a search-and-rescue operative.