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5 Weird Examples of Super Bowl Counter-Programming

January 21, 2015

It’s the Super Bowl! But what else is on?

superbowl counter programmingThe top 20 most-watched TV broadcasts in American history are all Super Bowls, attracting well over 100 million viewers each time. (Last year’s is #1, with 167 million tuning in.) If people are watching TV on Super Bowl Sunday, they’re overwhelmingly watching the Super Bowl. But all the other channels still air stuff, some even trying to compete, or counter-programming with shows that will bring in as many people as possible that have little to no interest in football.

  • In 2009, the DIY home improvement cable channel ran a marathon of shows about bathroom repair. They called it…”The Toilet Bowl.”
  • While most of the broadcast networks air reruns while the competition shows the big game, in 2010, Fox aired new episodes of its little-watched sitcom Til Death. Why? It was contractually obligated to air them at some point.
  • Since 2005, Animal Planet has aired the Puppy Bowl, a freeform show in which puppies frolic and play in a little room made up to look like a football field. (A referee will call a “foul” if the puppies get into a fight or pee where they shouldn’t.)
  • NBC is part of the same corporate family as the Bravo cable channel. During the 2004 Super Bowl, the network aired reruns of Bravo’s then-popular reality show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
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