- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - As proven again this year, nothing comes close to the Super Bowl as a television event.

The 114.4 million people who watched New England beat Seattle on Sunday set a record as the most-watched program in U.S. television history, an achievement that is becoming routine.

The Oscars are often the second most popular TV event of the year. Even though the 43 million who tuned in to the Academy Awards last winter was the most for that show in a decade, it was still less than half of the audience for football’s biggest game, according to the Nielsen company.

“The Super Bowl is a unique point of the year,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group, which had its turn broadcasting Sunday’s game. “It’s essentially an undeclared national holiday.”

NBC used this year’s game to draw attention to “The Blacklist,” the drama it is moving to Thursday night. An episode of the series that ran after the Super Bowl drew 25.7 million viewers, by far its largest sampling.

The series finale of “Parenthood” on NBC was seen by 5.5 million on Thursday. Adding in time-delayed viewing within three days, and the show was up to 7.8 million viewers, its largest audience in four years, Nielsen said.

Pumped up by the big game, NBC won the week in prime time with a 22.5 million viewer average. CBS was second with 8.1 million, ABC had 5.2 million, Fox had 4.5 million, Univision had 3.1 million, the CW had 1.8 million and Telemundo tied with the ION Network at 1.2 million apiece.

Cable network averages were not immediately available from Nielsen.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.9 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight” was second with 9.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 8 million viewers.

For the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Super Bowl: New England vs. Seattle, NBC, 114.44 million; “Super Bowl Post Game Show,” NBC, 72.51 million; “The Blacklist,” NBC, 25.72 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 17.25 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 12.89 million; “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 11.87 million; “Mom,” CBS, 11.78 million; “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 11.72 million; “Empire,” Fox, 11.36 million; 10. “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 11.28 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

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