The final numbers aren't in yet, but preliminary ratings show that Super Bowl XLIV drew 106.5 million viewers in the U.S., topping the 105.97 million who watched the final episode of M*A*S*H*, which previously held the record for most-watched program ever. At a time when TV audiences are fragmenting and shrinking, the continued mass popularity of the Super Bowl is quite a phenomenon. Also surprising? The continued success of NBC Nightly News, which is currently averaging over 10 million viewers per telecast, or more than any current prime-time NBC program. Network news audiences were supposed to have fled to cable and the internet, but NBC and Brian Williams is clobbering everybody right now. Is the tide turning? Or are these data points just outliers?

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