Super Bowl: Julie Beats Madonna!

It’s that time of year again: we are told that the Super Bowl is the most watched program in U.S. television history. (Some stories, like on, have egregiously misleading headlines like “Most watched show in history!”) But the football/Madonna numbers aren’t quite as impressive as you think. Here’s why. Money quote: “In terms of scoring the potential American audience, the 2012 Super Bowl doesn’t come close to all kinds of TV broadcasts throughout the 1950s. For example, the March 31, 1957 broadcast of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” starring Julie Andrews, pulled in an American audience of 100 million, at a time when the country’s population was about 175 million — around 57 percent. By contrast, the 2012 Super Bowl was watched by an average of 111.3 million, when the country’s population is 312 million — a little over one-third.” Rodgers and Hammerstein rule!

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