The Post-Super Bowl Time Slot Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Premiering after the Super Bowl leads to some big expectations that few TV shows can reach.

“Springland” – As Colter helps a young woman locate her free-spirited sister, he digs deeper into how the sister’s last days may lead to a dark secret she unearthed in this tight-knit town, on the CBS Original series TRACKER, Sunday, Feb. 25 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs)*.
Photo: Michael Courtney | CBS

Believe it or not but the Super Bowl wasn’t always the major media event that it is today.

Before network executives fully understood Americans’ passion for football, the NFL’s championship game received no special treatment. In fact, NBC and CBS didn’t even bother to save their broadcasts of Super Bowl I, recording over the tapes with soap operas. One of the most consequential sporting events in North American history could have become lost media if it weren’t for a handful of fans who made their own bootleg copies.

By now, however, everyone is keenly aware that the most widely-viewed American TV broadcast every year will inevitably be the Super Bowl. Last year’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles was the most-watched telecast ever with an average of 115.1 million viewers tuning in across all platforms. There’s every reason to believe that this year’s contest between the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will achieve similar numbers.

That level of popularity has obviously made the Super Bowl a big get for whichever of the four major TV networks (Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS) snags the rights to it. The Super Bowl isn’t just a way to get millions of people to watch your network, it’s a way to advertise your network’s other offerings to new consumers. Not everyone is going to turn their TV off the moment the game clock strikes zero. Plenty of folks will stick around to see what comes on next. And therein lies the opportunity to highlight a current show or launch a new one with a nice head start.


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