By James Hibberd
February 05, 2013 at 09:24 PM EST

The Super Bowl’s epic power loss was Animal Planet’s gain.

The cable network’s cuteness-counter-programming special Puppy Bowl IX scored record viewership this year. A total of 2.6 million viewers tuned in for the show’s annual two-hour  premiere, up 64 percent from last year. (Also, a total of 12.4 million sampled the telecast — watching 6 minutes or more — across all its repeats, which is also a record).

During the New Orleans’ Superdome’s 34-minute blackout on Sunday, viewership of a Puppy Bowl repeat climbed to 1.1 million viewers — a 54 percent increase compared to the prior segment. So the Super Bowl may have fallen short of breaking its viewership record, but the Animal Planet managed to lap up a few extra viewers.