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Ratings: Super Bowl XLIII scores a weekly win, among other achievements

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No shocker here: Super Bowl XLIII was far and away the ratings winner for the week ending Feb. 1. The big game drew an average of 98.7 million viewers and 151.6 million total watchers. (What’s the difference? Total audience measures viewership for all or part of a broadcast; average viewership measures average viewership per minute. Make sense? Sure hope so.) And actually, as we reported, according to NBC, this year’s Super Bowl — in which the Pittsburgh Steelers eked out a win over the Arizona Cardinals — was the most-watched game in history, coming in just ahead of last year’s showdown, which drew an average of 97.5 million viewers and 148.3 million total. Usually networks don’t talk up total viewership, but since the number is so huge in this case, NBC must have seen that as a reason to boast about it. Needless to say, you can bet that execs at the Peacock are doing a little jig right now.

Using that huge Super Bowl audience as a launch pad, NBC’s The Office filled the coveted post-game slot and ended up at No. 5 for the week, with 22.9 million people tuning in. That special one-hour episode nearly doubled the typically low-rated show’s previous series high, which was 11.2 million viewers for its 2005 premiere; perhaps some of

those new watchers will follow The Office back to its regular Thursday night timeslot. (For what it’s worth, after last year’s big game aired on Fox, an episode of House nabbed an audience of 29 million.)

The rest of the Top 20 also didn’t shock much. Instead of just two entries from American Idol, Fox’s karaoke smash took the Nos. 2-4 spots this week, racking up a total of 77.5 million total viewers over three airings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. CBS turned in six procedurals and a repeat of Two and a Half Men; Fox brought House, new hit Lie to Me, 24, and Fringe; NBC added The Biggest Loser; and ABC turned in Lost and The Bachelor in the Top 20. The full list is after the jump.

addCredit(“Paul Drinkwater/NBC”)

1. Super Bowl XLIII | NBC | 98.7 million
2. American Idol | Fox | 27.4 million
3. American Idol | Fox | 25.5 million
4. American Idol | Fox | 24.6 million
5. The Office | NBC | 22.9 million
6. CSI | CBS | 20.2 million
7. NCIS | CBS | 19.2 million
8. House | Fox | 15.7 million
9. The Mentalist (R) | CBS | 15.2 million
10. Without a Trace | CBS 13.0 million
11. Two and a Half Men (R) | CBS | 12.8 million
12. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 12.7 million
13. 24 | Fox | 12.2 million
      Lie to Me | Fox | 12.2 million
15. Fringe | Fox | 11.6 million
16. Lost | ABC | 11.2 million
17. The Biggest Loser | NBC | 11.1 million
18. Hell’s Kitchen | Fox | 10.9 million
19. The Bachelor | ABC | 10.6 million
20. Criminal Minds | CBS | 10.2 million

1. Super Bowl XLIII | NBC | 98.7 million
2. American Idol | Fox | 27.4 million
3. American Idol | Fox | 25.5 million
4. American Idol | Fox | 24.6 million
5. The Office | NBC | 22.9 million
6. CSI | CBS | 20.2 million
7. NCIS | CBS | 19.2 million
8. House | Fox | 15.7 million
9. The Mentalist (R) | CBS | 15.2 million
10. Without a Trace | CBS 13.0 million
11. Two and a Half Men (R) | CBS | 12.8 million
12. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 12.7 million
13. 24 | Fox | 12.2 million
      Lie to Me | Fox | 12.2 million
15. Fringe | Fox | 11.6 million
16. Lost | ABC | 11.2 million
17. The Biggest Loser | NBC | 11.1 million
18. Hell’s Kitchen | Fox | 10.9 million
19. The Bachelor | ABC | 10.6 million
20. Criminal Minds | CBS | 10.2 million

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