List of Super Bowl lead-out programs

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The classic show Lassie was a frequent lead-out program during the early years of the Super Bowl when the game was broadcast on CBS (1967 after Super Bowl I, 1968 after Super Bowl II, and 1970 after Super Bowl IV).
The episode of the NBC sitcom Friends (starring Jennifer Aniston) titled "The One After the Superbowl"—which aired in 1996 following Super Bowl XXX—is the highest-rated Super Bowl lead-out program ever, as well as the highest-rated episode of the entire series.
The Super Bowl lead-out time slot has occasionally been used by networks to debut new series. Among such shows is ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2003 following Super Bowl XXXVII.

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), and typically the highest-rated single U.S. television broadcast of any given year. In turn, the program aired immediately following coverage of the game in the U.S. is typically also one of the year's most watched television programs. This article is a list of programs which have aired immediately following the Super Bowl.


The Super Bowl provides an extremely strong lead-in to the programming on the channel following the game, the effects of which can last for several hours. For instance, in discussing the ratings of a local TV station, Buffalo, New York television critic Alan Pergament noted on the coattails from Super Bowl XLVII, which aired on CBS: "A paid program that ran on Channel 4 at 2:30 in the morning had a 1.3 rating. That’s higher than some CW prime time shows get on WNLO-TV, Channel 4’s sister station."[1]

The Super Bowl lead-out[2] is typically aired across most U.S. markets simultaneously, and is usually one hour in length, although before the game adopted its standard kickoff time of just after 6:00 p.m. ET in the early 1990s, it was not uncommon for longer programs to be broadcast. When the game moved into a later time slot in 1983, the game and its associated post-game programming would be scheduled until 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time, allowing for only one hour of network programming until the late local news. These programs are almost inevitably delayed, due to the extended length of the pre-game, halftime, and post-game festivities. It is common for affiliates in the home markets of the competing teams to delay the lead-out show further, until after additional local post-game coverage.

In 1979, 1999, and 2010, and largely from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, this slot was used to showcase a new series or movie, such as The A-Team or The Wonder Years, or broadcast a special episode of an "up-and-coming" series. However, many of the series were ultimately unsuccessful, with some being canceled within a matter of weeks.[3] Since then, virtually all of the programs in the post-game timeslot have been special episodes of series that had already aired for at least one season.

The most recent Super Bowl lead-out program to have also been a series premiere is Undercover Boss, which was launched following Super Bowl XLIV on CBS (which also attracted the largest peak half-hour viewership of any Super Bowl lead-out program to date with 75.474 million viewers by the February 2010 debut telecast[4]). Three other series have had their season premieres following the Super Bowl: two editions of Survivor, the Australian and all-star series (which followed Super Bowls XXXV and XXXVIII), which aired on CBS, and The Voice, which launched its second season following Super Bowl XLVI on NBC.

Although Fox almost never programs time slots after 10:00 p.m. except on Saturdays (instead encouraging its affiliates to air local news in the slot), Fox has aired lead-out programming after the Super Bowl ever since it began airing the game in 1997, which normally preempts local newscasts. The Fox affiliates in the market of the winning team do not necessarily have to do this (an example is Fox flagship WNYW, which aired a post-Super Bowl news broadcast following Super Bowl XLII and delayed the start of the House episode that was Fox's lead-out program until the newscast's conclusion).

Currently, a regular-length episode of a drama series will usually air, although in some cases a one-hour episode of a sitcom (normally 30 minutes in length), or two episodes of different sitcoms paired together, may air instead. Quite often the selected series is one of the "prestige" shows for the network showing the game that year, or a moderate hit (e.g. The X-Files on Fox, Criminal Minds on CBS, or Grey's Anatomy on ABC), which the network wants to give a higher profile. The Simpsons has aired in the slot twice, with both airings being paired with the premieres of animated sitcoms (Family Guy in 1999 and American Dad! in 2005). An occasional practice used to maximize the effect of the lead-out is to make the Super Bowl episode a cliffhanger, with a story that concludes later in the week in the program's regularly scheduled timeslot.

Because the Super Bowl is on a Sunday, networks do not usually air a new episode of their late night talk shows after the game, lead-out program and local news. However, on four occasions, new episodes of late-night shows have aired after the mentioned programs, each to give an additional promotional push to those shows rarely found on American television: the premiere episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live after Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012 after Super Bowl XLVI, finishing a week of shows recorded from Indianapolis, and in 2013, a special episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson from New Orleans after Super Bowl XLVII. In 2015, Jimmy Fallon had another new episode after Super Bowl XLIX from Phoenix, this time as the host of the The Tonight Show.

The most common lead-out program is the news magazine 60 Minutes, which has aired after four Super Bowls (VI, XIV, XVI, XXVI). Two other series have followed the big game three times—Lassie (I, II, IV) and The Wonderful World of Disney (I, VII, XI). Two more series have appeared in the time slot twice—The Simpsons (XXXIII, XXXIX) and Survivor (XXXV, XXXVIII)

List of lead-out programs[edit]

The following is a list of shows that have aired after the Super Bowl in the United States:[5]

Date Super Bowl Network[5] Program[5] Episode U.S. viewers
Share Refs
January 15, 1967 I CBS Lassie "Lassie's Litter Bit" &
NBC Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color "Willie and the Yank: The Mosby Raiders" (Part II) &
January 14, 1968 II CBS Local programming, then
"The Foundling" &
January 12, 1969 III NBC G.E. College Bowl &
January 11, 1970 IV CBS Lassie "The Road Back" 34%
January 17, 1971 V NBC Bing Crosby National Pro-Am golf tournament 36%
January 16, 1972 VI CBS 60 Minutes 36%
January 14, 1973 VII NBC The Wonderful World of Disney "The Mystery in Dracula's Castle" 44%
January 13, 1974 VIII CBS Local programming, then
The New Perry Mason
"The Case of the Tortured Titan" 15.058 20%
January 12, 1975 IX NBC NBC Nightly News 15.924 28%
January 18, 1976 X CBS Phoenix Open golf tournament 22.363 31%
January 9, 1977 XI NBC The Big Event Raid on Entebbe 42.816 37%
January 15, 1978 XII CBS All in the Family "Archie and the Super Bowl" 35.472 47%
January 21, 1979 XIII NBC Brothers and Sisters "Pilot" 31.722 32%
January 20, 1980 XIV CBS 60 Minutes 40.746 50%
January 25, 1981 XV NBC CHiPs "11-99: Officer Needs Help" (originally aired January 18, 1981) 26%
January 24, 1982 XVI CBS 60 Minutes 36%
January 30, 1983 XVII NBC The A-Team[3][6] "Children of Jamestown" (first regular episode) 21.910 39%
January 22, 1984 XVIII CBS Airwolf[3][6] "Shadow of the Hawke" (two-hour pilot) 27.874 36%
January 20, 1985 XIX ABC MacGruder and Loud "Pilot"[7] 38% [3][6]
January 26, 1986 XX NBC The Last Precinct "The Last Precinct" (pilot) 39.729 25% [3][6][8]
January 25, 1987 XXI CBS Hard Copy[9] "Pilot" 33% [3][6][10]
January 31, 1988 XXII ABC The Wonder Years[3][6] "Pilot" 28.976 31%
January 22, 1989 XXIII NBC The Brotherhood of the Rose[6] Television film (part 1; two hours) 36%
January 28, 1990 XXIV CBS Grand Slam "Pilot" 30.765 30% [3][6][11]
January 27, 1991 XXV ABC Davis Rules[3][6] "A Man for All Reasons" (pilot) 26.695 25% [12]
January 26, 1992 XXVI CBS 60 Minutes[6]
48 Hours
60 Minutes was an abbreviated 13-minute edition and was apparently a last-minute addition to the schedule, consisting of an interview of Bill and Hillary Clinton addressing the Gennifer Flowers affair.[13]
The length (i.e., 47 or 60 minutes) of the edition of 48 Hours which followed is not clear.
24.821 30%
January 31, 1993 XXVII NBC Homicide: Life on the Street[6] "Gone for Goode" (Pilot) 28.121 31% [14]
January 30, 1994 XXVIII NBC The Good Life "Pilot" 23.012 22% [15]
The John Larroquette Show "Eggs" 17.708 22% [6]
January 29, 1995 XXIX ABC Extreme "Pilot" 22.594 25% [6][16]
January 28, 1996 XXX NBC Friends "The One After the Superbowl" (Parts 1 and 2) 52.925 46% [17]
January 26, 1997 XXXI Fox The X-Files "Leonard Betts" 29.098 29% [6]
January 25, 1998 XXXII NBC 3rd Rock from the Sun "36! 24! 36! Dick" (Parts 1 and 2) 33.662 34% [17]
January 31, 1999 XXXIII Fox Family Guy
The Simpsons
"Death Has a Shadow" (Pilot)
"Sunday, Cruddy Sunday"
22.005 21% [6]
January 30, 2000 XXXIV ABC The Practice at 10:18 p.m. ET "New Evidence" (Part 1) 23.847 27% [6]
January 28, 2001 XXXV CBS Survivor: The Australian Outback at 10:19 p.m. ET[6] "Stranded" (season premiere) 45.369 39% [17]
February 3, 2002 XXXVI Fox Malcolm in the Middle at 10:38 p.m. ET "Company Picnic" (Parts 1 and 2) 21.445 21% [6]
January 26, 2003 XXXVII ABC Alias at 11:15 p.m. ET
Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:35 a.m. ET
"Phase One"
Premiere episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
ABC aired a post-game Bon Jovi performance before Alias, leading to lower ratings.
17.362 20% [6]
February 1, 2004 XXXVIII CBS Survivor: All-Stars at 10:58 p.m. – 12:06 a.m. ET "They're Back!" (season premiere) 33.535 32% [17]
February 6, 2005 XXXIX Fox The Simpsons at 10:45–11:17 p.m. ET
American Dad! at 11:18–11:55 p.m. ET
"Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass"
23.074 22% [6]
February 5, 2006 XL ABC Grey's Anatomy at 10:05–11:15 p.m. ET "It's the End of the World" 37.8 27% [17]
February 4, 2007 XLI CBS Criminal Minds at 10:20–11:25 p.m. ET "The Big Game" 26.314 26% [6]
February 3, 2008 XLII Fox House at 10:30 p.m. ET "Frozen" 29.045 27% [6][18][19]
February 1, 2009 XLIII NBC The Office at 10:45 p.m. ET "Stress Relief" (two-hour episode) 22.905 21% [6][20]
February 7, 2010 XLIV CBS Undercover Boss at 10:15 p.m. ET "Waste Management" (first episode) 38.654 32% [21]
February 6, 2011 XLV Fox Glee at 10:35–11:40 p.m. ET "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" 26.796 25% [22][23]
February 5, 2012 XLVI NBC The Voice at 10:15–11:25 p.m. ET[24] "Episode 1: The Blind Auditions, Part 1" (season premiere) 37.611 31%
February 3, 2013 XLVII CBS Elementary at 11:15 p.m. ET "The Deductionist"[25] 20.800 23% [26][27]
February 2, 2014 XLVIII Fox New Girl at 10:20 p.m. ET
Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 10:55 p.m. ET
"Operation: Broken Feather"
February 1, 2015 XLIX NBC The Blacklist at 10:38 p.m. ET "Luther Braxton" (Part 1) 25.724; 30.489 (live+7)[29] [30]
February 7, 2016 50 CBS
February 5, 2017 LI Fox
February 4, 2018 LII NBC


  1. ^ Pergament, Alan (February 6, 2013). “American Idol” Slipping Here and Nationally. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  2. ^ "The Top 5 Super Bowl Lead-Out Shows Ever"., Inc. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Davidson, Casey; "Super Bowl Bump", Entertainment Weekly, February 12, 1993
  4. ^ "TV Ratings: Super Bowl XLIV, Post Game and Undercover Boss Dominate Weekly Viewing". 9 February 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d Gorman, Bill (February 1, 2014). "The Programs After The 'Super Bowl': How Will 'New Girl' & 'Brooklyn 9-9' Do? (Poll+Ratings History)". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Best & Worst: Post-Super Bowl TV". Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  7. ^ Buck, Jerry (February 16, 1985). "For Harrold, new ABC series is next best thing to a Western". Deseret News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Sunday, January 26, 1986". TV Time Capsule. January 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Sunday, January 25, 1987". TV Time Capsule. January 25, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  11. ^ "Sunday, January 28, 1990". TV Time Capsule. January 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  12. ^ "Sunday, January 27, 1991". TV Time Capsule. January 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  13. ^ "Clintons to Rebut Rumors on '60 Minutes', The New York Times, January 25, 1992
  14. ^ "Sunday, January 31, 1993". TV Time Capsule. January 31, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  15. ^ "Sunday, January 30, 1994". TV Time Capsule. January 30, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  16. ^ "Sunday, January 29, 1995". TV Time Capsule. January 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  17. ^ a b c d e "On Average, Halftime Show Performers Score 555% Post Game Sales Bump". Nielsen Wire. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  18. ^ 'House' to follow Super Bowl - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety
  19. ^ Seidman, Robert (February 4, 2008). "Nielsen Ratings for Sunday, Feb 3: Super or Not so Super?". Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  20. ^ "Super Bowl 'Office' Scores Jack Black". December 15, 2008. 
  21. ^ "CBS To Premiere Undercover Boss After Super Bowl". December 12, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  23. ^ Franich, Darren (2011-02-07). "'Glee' Super Bowl ratings are in! Biggest scripted TV telecast in three years, but... | Inside TV |". Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Buck, Jerry. "Elementary Receives Coveted Post-Super Bowl Slot". 
  26. ^ Post-Super Bowl 'Elementary' delivers 20.8 Million Viewers. 7.8 Rating in Adults 18-49
  27. ^ No Record for Super Bowl XLVII - 108.4 Million Viewers Makes It 3rd Most-Watched Ever; 'Elementary' Averages 20.8 Million Viewers
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^

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