UPDATED ON 2/3/2009 AT 5:46PM:
The Super Bowl actually drew an all-time record 98.73 million. Click here for an updated look at the ratings.
NBC’s telecast last night of Super Bowl XLIII drew 95.4 million viewers, making it the second most-watched Super Bowl in history, trailing only last year’s telecast, which drew 97.5 million viewers.
“The Super Bowl, once again, proved its ability to captivate America,” said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports. “The National Football League should feel a great sense of pride in providing a day of enjoyment to American families — especially those who are struggling in these difficult times. Many people doubted this matchup, but it’s the Super Bowl not the matchup that draws an enormous audience.”
“We are in a great place to be in relation to last year’s historic and unimaginable game when an undefeated powerhouse was upset by an underdog from the country’s largest media market,” he added. “Recording the two biggest Super Bowl audiences in history in two consecutive years proves that the NFL is stronger than ever.”
Lead-out The Office while impressive (it drew 22 million viewers and a 10.6 rating among adults 18-49), drew less viewers than more recent post-Super Bowl shows, including last year’s House on Fox which drew over 29 million viewers. The show did, however, improve by more than double over its previous series high. It’s the least watched post-Super Bowl episode since 2005 when Fox aired an hour of The Simpsons and American Dad.