'Glee' Super Bowl ratings are in! Biggest scripted TV telecast in three years, but...

Image Credit: Michael Yarish/Fox

Did Glee score a ratings touchdown after the big game?

Depends how you look at the numbers.

Despite plenty of promotion and that sports-fan-friendly opening performance to “California Gurls,” Glee was down 31 percent from Undercover Boss, which CBS premiered after last year’s game.

Glee was seen by 26.8 million viewers and had an 11.1 adults 18-49 rating. This ranks as the highest-rated Glee episode ever (which you probably figured) and is the top-rated scripted telecast of any TV show in three years (which is rather great). It’s about double the number of the show’s Madonna episode, for instance. Though Glee just barely edged out the previous scripted show to follow the Super Bowl, NBC’s The Office, two years ago. (Read Ken Tucker and Breia Brissey’s recaps of the episode here and here.)

While Super Bowl viewership has been going up to record highs in recent years (see here for the ratings results for last night’s big game), the number of people who stick around afterward has been trending more-or-less down. (Broadcast ratings in general have been declining due to competition from cable). Post-game ratings peaked in 1996 for an episode of NBC’s Friends that drew a stunning 52.9 million, then had its second largest number in modern history in 2001 for the second season premiere of CBS’ Survivor. Fox had the lowest retention in 2005 with an episode of American Dad. Last year, CBS scored a surprisingly strong number for the series premiere of Undercover Boss with 38.7 million. Here’s a chart, showing the Super Bowl and post-game shows using the adults 18-49 rating:

Adults 18-49 rating

Comments (118 total) Add your comment
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  • Jaymii

    The Office, as meh as it is, had a brilliant post-Superbowl opening sequence.

    • Jaymii

      Less a phenominon than Glee too. So I’m not surprised.

      (No idea why only one sentence posted)

      • whereisit

        Oh what a suprise all the Football fans did not stay around to watch Glee. Who would of thunk it?

        HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

      • LOL

        Straight men who watched the Super Bowl were not going to stick around for Glee.

      • D

        Being straight and a man I stayed around to watch Glee. LOL can’t seem to get past his own hateful biases.

      • REASON

        Maybe they were trying to expand their audience. To say straight men don’t watch Glee is both offensive and false.

      • kev

        there is plenty of humor that is most definately aimed at the hetero male.

      • Erin

        Glee was the reward for all the chics that sat through the superbowl for their guys.

      • Besties

        People who don’t know that “would’ve” is NOT a contraction for “would OF” deserve to have a slushie thrown at their face.

      • Joe

        D, I’m sure that plenty of heterosexual man happen to like both sports and GLEE, but the majority of straights equal “musical theatre” with “the buttseks”. It’s idiotic, but that’s the way our society works. Ironic, since kids love music and musical entertainment. Watch any popular kids’ shows, and you will most likely find a musical element, not to mention all those animated film musicals and heck, music videos. But after a certain age, it stops being cool, and watching musicals stops being an awesome entertainment, and starts being “gay”. Stupid stereotypes…

      • Ian

        Joe, a lot of straight men don’t mind musical theatre, and don’t associate it automatically with “gay”, and simply associate bad musical theatre with AWFUL MUSIC. Maybe if Glee did something that didn’t involve terrible, flavor-of-the-month pop music, I’d be more interested. I don’t want to hear music from untalented bimbos who owe their success to computer programs like Pro Tools, like Katy Perry and Britney Spears in any form, whether it’s their own videos or redone on Glee. I love a lot of musicals, and I’m quite straight, but I have taste in music that ivolves substance and not style, therefore Glee does nothing for me. I also refuse to watch it because the creator has a habit of publicly flogging musicians who don’t allow their music to be licensed to the show. He’s called them out and accused them of being against musical education because they said no to the show, which is lame. I can’t respect someone who would try to bully real musicians into allowing their songs to be used for this guy’s profit while he acts like he does the show purely for the benefit of musical education, and not to make a profit on his show. Glad to see Kings of Leon publicly state they were disappointed he made those comments about them after they said no. They said no because they turn down most TV shows, and being on the road constantly, they had no idea what Glee was about other than featuring a lot of music they wanted no association with. I find your generalization about why a lot of people don’t like Glee to be as narrow minded as the generalization by closed-minded bigots that it must be gay, therefore bad. You’re as bad as they are, man.

    • meToo

      Also, the Fox postgame show before Glee didn’t help. That was 15min too long and boring.

      • panda

        Unfortunately, the football game and its ads were what most viewers came to watch. Otherwise, you would’ve been watching that episode of Glee on Tuesday.

    • annie

      mj was the reason why, thriller is timeless,

    • annie

      thriller is the reason why they watched , it’s timeless work,

  • Mikey T

    Might have something to do with the fact that some markets had an hour of local news prior to Glee, which then did not start until 11:45 EST.

  • Jeff

    You’re also not going to get as-high ratings for a scripted show (and one as over-the-top and wild as Glee) over something harmless and “feel good” as a reality show.

    • whereisit

      You’re also not going to get as-high ratings for a show that is as stupid as Glee.

      • Kris

        Wow, what an eloquent speaker.

      • Marcy Runkle

        What’s not eloquent? Seems like a pretty accurate statement to me.

      • carl

        Calling it eloquent — makng a sarcastic comment about the prior comment — lowers you to the same level. Better to explain that calling the show “stupid” is equivalent to saying “I dislike the show,” but fails to convey any information about *why* the commenter dislikes the show, and fails to actually provide any criticism or commentary at all. A virtually meaningless statement. A statement that is, well, stupid.

  • Hannah

    Nothing beats 2003’s spectacular episode of Alias.

    • whereisit

      A perfect FIT for after Football.

    • Tv Food and Drink

      Agreed. One of the best episodes of the entire series!

    • kaydevo

      Agreed.

    • Jesse

      That episode of Alias was the first episode I ever saw and the reason I started watching the show. It spoiled a lot of the show when I went back to start from the beginning but it definitely got me hooked. One of my favorite shows of all time now (even if it did start to go a little downhill at the end).

    • Kelli

      I was trying to remember when that Alias esp was it was driving me crazy yesterday . Glee rocked loved their cover of Need You Now.

  • Kristen

    Whenever you pull out American Idol numbers, you know you’re doing something right.
    That being said, wouldn’t it have been more beneficial for FOX to give the slot to a show that actually needed it??

    • whereisit

      Like Fringe or Human Target or to give Chicago Code a BIG start.

      • B-

        They should have given it to Raising Hope since it’s their most promising new series. Or Chicago Code to give it that boost it needs to come out the gate swinging. Glee has it’s viewers and they won’t expand beyond it’s base. Expect the next airing of Glee to drop back to normal levels.

      • A Man

        I bet the premier episode of Chicago Code would have done a higher number — a male-skewing show with no haters already. But it would have to be a killer episode for the series to survive.

      • Ruby

        Agree with whereisit. One of those shows would have been much smarter. Fox would have retained their male viewers as well.

  • Elle

    Someone should have mentioned to the Glee writers that Superbowl episodes should usually be, you know, good. Not trying to be a hater, but it was very subpar to say the least.

    • Dave

      Agreed. They’re not winning any new fans with that episode.

    • kev

      disagree, I thought it was great! One of the best so far!

      • whereisit

        So you are saying Glee has not been Good so far?

    • john

      As well, maybe the subject matter shouldn’t be painting football players as the ‘bad guys’. I’m sure the male-oriented football audience who did stick around loved to be told they are bad people for not liking glee. That’ll definately retain viewership.

      • Carrie

        It’s “definitely.” And the football players redeemed themselves, so I doubt football fans were that invested in the implications of their actions

    • Dave

      love Glee but that was a weak episode, for sure. everything seem rushed, packed in, and not properly thought out … even the opening Cheerios/Katy Perry number … it was just sloppy.

    • THX

      I would have liked the show much better if it weren’t for the Katy Perry angle. I know she’s hot with the kids right now but I can’t stand her. She’s like a rotten egg wrapped in a kaleidoscope of M&M colors.

  • chris

    the opening to the post super bowl episode is in my opionion the funniest scene they have ever done

    • whereisit

      So you are saying Glee is not a funny show?

  • Kate

    In my area Glee didn’t come on until 11:45 (awful, awful local news in the interim, during which I fought the intense urge not to claw out my eyeballs). I imagine that had some impact.

    • Kate

      *urge to claw out my eyeballs*

      • whereisit

        Give into the urge.

    • Alice

      I wonder about that too. Where I live, it was on at the perfectly reasonable hour of 7:30, but on the east coast, that would have been 11:30… past some people’s bedtimes especially if they had already been watching tv all day and gorging themselves on all manner of unhealthy snacks.

  • Mike

    Grey’s Anatomy & Alias has the strongest post-Super Bowl episodes ever. From the intros, to the explosive endings, without the pace letting up in either hour.. and they caught viewers up to speed. Glee was pretty ‘meh’ for me.

  • Al

    Take the Friends and the 2001 Survivor out of that chart and the ratio of Super Bowl to the following program has been pretty consistent.

  • Boiler

    Agree the late start affected things. Reality harmless and feel good?? Glee was great

  • Darvy

    The late hour definitely could have something to do with it. Why wouldn’t they start the superbowl earlier, like 3:30 or something.

    • Linney

      It is on at 3:30. In California.

  • shawshank

    Can someone please tell me what “Good Life” or “Extreme Special” were?

  • GG

    Glee probably loves EW because they never need to pay for any publicity at all. Whatever they do, EW writes about it first. So Ryan Murphy doesn’t need Twitter wars to get attention– it all happens without the fuss, right here at EW.

    • RK

      gleew.com

    • Mandy

      EW OVERDOES their coverage of Glee. Not everyone watches the show and could care less about the constant stuff about it. EW takes off (or takes out) recaps of other Fox shows so they can make room for the constant pandering of Glee. NOthing like shoving it down peoples’ throats. And Lea Michelle – go away already!!

      Enough already.

  • mee Mee

    they need to bring in new faces.. getting tired of watching the same character every week.

    • nadenna

      What show brings in new faces all the time. do you watch tv shows. this is not a reality show

    • snick

      No, they need to remember there are more cast members than Kurt and Rachel.

      • jacob

        thats bull. why is everyone complaining if Kurt gets a little more air time this season? i dont remember anyone complaining when last season it was the Finn/Rachel/Quinn show? and ever since Furt we barely see 10 minutes of Kurt. the show revolves way too much around Finn and Rachel and while Rachel is a great singer, Finn is not the best male one…or the cutest.

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