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Viewers would rather watch old Super Bowl ads than new dramas

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Kate Upton

Okay, this is a tad embarrassing for all involved: CBS’ annual special Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials delivered more viewers by far (10.8 million) than any other broadcast show Monday night, and was within a tenth of a point of matching the highest-rated series among the coveted adults 18-49 demographic (with a 2.1 rating).

Yup, re-watching old Budweiser and Doritos ads struck more viewers as a fine way to spend the evening than checking out ABC’s The Bachelor, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow or NBC’s State of Affairs. In fact, this was the special’s highest ratings since 2010, up 11 percent from last year. It’s unclear if this says something really positive about the craftsmanship of yesteryear’s big game commercials … or something rather negative about the current broadcast TV options on Monday night (or a little of both). 

Also last night: As much as networks jockey for awards, they don’t typically seem to make much of a difference in the ratings—just look at AMC’s Mad Men, which remains a relatively modestly viewed series through years of being showered with Emmy gold. Yet for The CW’s freshman drama Jane the Virgin, there does appear to be some impact from the show’s star Gina Rodriguez winning the Golden Globe for best comedy actress earlier this month. Or maybe more people are simply catching onto the show’s charms on their own.

Monday’s Jane hit a series high 1.6 million viewers and a 0.6 rating among adults 18-49. Not exactly blockbuster numbers, but this is better than how Jane was doing pre-Globes, when it was tied for the lowest-rated broadcast drama on TV in the demo. In fact, along with a season-high The Originals (1.7 million, 0.7) this marks The CW’s most-watched Monday night in three years.

Also-also Monday, most shows were within a tenth of a point in the demo of last week, including Fox’s Gotham (6.1 million, 2.1), Sleepy Hollow (4.3 million, 1.4), NBC’s State of Affairs (5.8 million, 1.0), ABC’s The Bachelor (7.9 million, 2.2), and NBC’s The Apprentice (6.4 million, 1.8).