A Best Buy customer looks at a display of flat panel televisions at a Best Buy store February 1, 2007 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A short history of the post-Super Bowl TV show

Tony Wagner Feb 5, 2016
A Best Buy customer looks at a display of flat panel televisions at a Best Buy store February 1, 2007 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“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:

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?

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:

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.