Super Bowl XLIV was most-watched television show of all time

Staff reports
Saints' head coach Sean Payton hoists the Lombardi Trophy.

The 2009 NFL season concluded with another record as Super Bowl XLIV reached a total audience of 153.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched show in United States television history, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Colts-Saints championship game topped the previous mark of 151.6 million total viewers set last year (Cardinals-Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII).

Super Bowls account for the 19 most-watched programs in history in terms of total audience.

The most-watched programs and the total number of viewers are:

• Super Bowl XLIV (Colts-Saints), Feb. 7, 2010, 153.4 million

• Super Bowl XLIII (Cardinals-Steelers), Feb. 2, 2009, 151.6 million

• Super Bowl XLII (Giants-Patriots), Feb. 3, 2008, 148.3 million

• Super Bowl XXXVIII (Patriots-Panthers), Feb. 1, 2004, 144.4 million

• Super Bowl XL (Steelers-Seahawks), Feb. 5, 2006, 141.4 million

A record average of 106.5 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLIV – topping the previous mark of 106 million for the series finale of M*A*S*H in 1983 and an eight percent increase over last year’s Super Bowl (98.7 million viewers).

Super Bowl XLIV earned a 45.0 household rating marking the highest-rated Super Bowl in 14 years (46.0 rating for Cowboys-Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, January 1996) and a seven percent increase over last year’s 42.0.