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A Best Buy customer looks at a display of flat panel televisions at a Best Buy store February 1, 2007 in San Francisco. - 

"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" just has a packed slate of guests for his live episode Sunday following the Super Bowl.

Colbert is the first late night host to directly follow the game; that enviable time slot is usually reserved for promising young shows the network wants to give a big ratings boost. The Super Bowl pulled in a record 114 million viewers last year, and it's about the best lead-in you could ask for, but it's not a ratings guarantee.

Let's look at how Super Bowl ratings have grown over the years, along with the available ratings for programs that aired afterword, from TV by the Numbers:

Super bowl sunday viewership super bowl viewers %28millions%29 lead out viewers %28millions%29 chartbuilder

The TV landscape and viewing habits have changed over time, so lets zoom into the past 25 years and focus on the really important number: what portion of the Super Bowl audience was the network able to keep tuned in to their next show?

Viewers retained after the super bowl viewer retention chartbuilder

That number has varied quite a bit, as ratings for the game itself have broken new records almost every year. So what makes for a good lead-out show? Here's a brief history:

Follow Tony Wagner at @tonydwagner