This year’s Super Bowl marked the highest rated of all the games to date. It also ranked as one of the top viewed programs of all the time. However, there have been other events airedÂ on television that have been viewed by more people. Here is a look at the fifteen most watched television events of all-time. An event like 9/11, was not included in this article as there is no way to figure out truly how many people were watching all of the events that unfolded that day. All numbers used are the average number of viewers who tuned in to each event.
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15. Super Bowl XLI,Â 93 million viewers
The 2007 Championship game took place on February 4. 2007. The Indianapolis Colts crushed The Chicago Bears by a final score of 29-17. This game would be The Colts first appearance since capturing a win at Super Bowl V. The last time The Bears had made it to The Super Bowl has been 1985, a game which they won. Billy Joel sang the National Anthem and Prince headlined the Halftime Show and sang “We Will Rock You” by Queen.
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14. The O.J. Simpson Car Chase, 95 million viewers
It was over 20 years ago when viewers were glued to their television screens watching a white Ford Bronco driven by former football star O.J. Simpson traveling through the streets of Los Angeles. The entire car chase last an hour and the speed of the vehicle was around 35 mph. Most people did not have a choice to watch anything else, as all basic networks were covering the story. The events even preempted a David Hasselhoff concert.
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13. Super Bowl XXX,Â 95.13 million viewers
The Dallas Cowboys were the victors of the championship game that was held on January 28, 1996 in Tempe, Arizona. Over 76,000 fans watched in person as The Cowboys defeated The Pittsburgh Steelers by a final score of 27-17. Both teams went into the game trying to tie The San Francisco 49ers for the most wins by a franchise. Actress Vanessa Williams sang the National Anthem and Diana Ross performed during the Halftime Show.
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12. Super Bowl XLII,Â 97.5 million viewers
It looked like the New England Patriots were going to defeat the New York Giants in this nail-biter game. As the minutes of the fourth quarter dwindled, it was clear that the Giants would get the victory. Eli Manning was named MVP for completing 19 of 34 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He also had one interception. The event was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium located in Glendale, Arizona with over 71,000 fans in attendance.
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11. Super Bowl XLIII,Â 98.7 million viewers
On February 1, 2009, 98.7 million people watched the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 27-23. Pittsburgh led the game at halftime 17-7, with the help of linebacker James Harrison’s 100 yard interception return for a touchdown. This is still a Super Bowl record. Due to the recent stock market crash, there were less Super Bowl parties this year. That did not stop the game from being the highest rated outing up to that time.
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10.Â Roots Part VIII,Â 100 million viewers
RootsÂ was an 8 part miniseries that aired on ABC in January of 1977. The series was based on the 1976 novelÂ Roots: The Saga of an American FamilyÂ by Alex Hayley.Â RootsÂ would go on to be nominated for 37 Emmy Awards and take home 9. It is estimated that 85% of American households watched at least one of the eight episodes. Each episode is ranked in the top 85 television shows of all time with the final airing ranked at #3.
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9.Â M*A*S*H,Â 105.9 million viewers
It is hard to believe that 105.9 million people would be glued to their TV’s watching the exact same show. That is how many viewers tuned into the final airing ofÂ M*A*S*H.Â It took 11 seasons and over 250 episodes, but the Korean War finally ended. In actuality, the Korean War lasted 3 years.The finale ofÂ M*A*S*HÂ is the most watched television episode in history and has held the title for over 30 years.
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8.Â SuperBowl XLIV,Â 106.5 million viewers
The 2010 Superbowl is the eighthÂ most watched event of all-time. 106.5 million people tuned in to see The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts with a final score of 31-17. By halftime, The Saints were trailing the Colts 10-6. They were able to achieve 18 unanswered points in the final half to earn the victory. Country singer Carrie Underwood sang the National Anthem, while The Who entertained the crowd during halftime.
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7.Â Super Bowl XLVII,Â 108.69 million viewers
The Baltimore Ravens bested the San Francisco 49ers in a close game of 34-31. The event aired on February 3, 2013 and was viewed by over 108 million people. CBS broadcasted the game that featured a halftime performance by Beyonce with a special appearance by her Destiny’s Child cohorts Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. It cost roughly $4 million to have a 30-second commercial during the live event.
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6.Â Super Bowl XLV,Â 111 million viewers
The Green Bay Packers were favored to win the 2011 Super Bowl and they did not disappoint. The Packers defeated The Pittsburgh Steelers by a final score of 31-25. The Packers took an early lead with a 14-0 score at the end of the first quarter. Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named MVP after completing 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards. He scored 3 touchdowns. The Black Eyed Peas performed during the half time show with guest performers Usher and Slash.
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5.Â Super Bowl XLVI,Â 111.3 million viewers
On February 5, 2012, over 111 million fans tunes in to see the New York Giants top the New England Patriots with a final score of 21-17. This would be The Giants fourth Super Bowl win. The team also set a new record for the worst season record by a team that would go on to win a Super Bowl. They had a 9-7 regular season record. 13.7 million tweets were sent out betweenÂ the hours of 3 PM to 8 PM (PST), which is the most tweets sent during any sporting event.
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4.Â Super Bowl XLVIII,Â 111.5 million viewers
The most watched programÂ in television history aired earlier this year. The 2014 Super Bowl was viewed by 111.5 million fans. The Seattle Seahawks almost shut out their opponents The Denver Broncos by winning with a final score of 43-8. By halftime, the Seahawks had a 22-0 lead and would be up by 36 points before the Broncos even got on the board. The Halftime Show featuring Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili Peppers was watched by 115.3 million viewers.
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3. The Gulf War Coverage Day 1, 118 million viewers
The Persian Gulf War began on January 16, 1991 and lasted until April 6, 1991. An average of 118 million people were watching the first day of the 3 month war. Desert Storm would begin with massive air attacks in Iraq, Kuwait. This is also the day that former President George Bush would announce, “We will not fail.” The next day Iraqi President Sadam Hussein would declare, “The mother of all battles is under way.”
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2. The Moon Landing, 125 million viewers
In 1969, traveling to the moon was a big deal. In fact 125 million people watched as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took those historic first steps on the moon and collected rock and bounced around an object we have been staring at from Earth for ages. The event was intended to begin at 2 AM, but the walk began to air at 10:52 PM (EST) on July 20th. The entire event was viewed by over 600 million people but the entire broadcast averages out to the 125 million. The entire coverage lasted 8 days.
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1. The O.J. Simpson Verdict, 142 million
It was October 3, 1995, when we watched former football player O.J. Simpson receive his non guilty verdict for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The trial lasted for 372 days and is the most viewed event in television history. President Bill Clinton was briefed prior to the verdict in case any rioting occurred. It is estimated that because of the verdict happening during work hours, it cost $480 million in lost productivity.
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