TV Zone

News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.

Fox's Super Bowl 2014: A 'Super' TV record

Fans gather on the Super Bowl Boulevard in

(Credit: AP / Evan Vucci)

Fox's telecast of Super Bowl XLVIII was a hit -- a major hit, a great hit, and in fact, the biggest TV hit of all times.

The number: 111.5 million viewers. (The previous record holder was the 2012 game (111.3  million.) Some reports have indicated Sunday night was a TV record -- and I am checking, but that does appear to be true.

So while this was the most viewed Super Bowl, it was also the most viewed TV program. Fascinating, considering both teams were smaller market ones and the game wasn't particularly good; but the point is, the Super Bowl is a meta-event, seemingly independent of matters like game quality or market size.

Super Bowl XLVIII best ad of them all: Seinfeld's

"SEINFELD": It aired one time as "The Seinfeld

(Credit: NBC)

We have a winner and the winner is Jerry. Jerry Seinfeld stole the ad bowl of Super Bowl XLVIII, and that, my friends, is a wrap.

Why did I love this ad, which almost didn't seem like an ad -- which may have answered my own question? Clip below.  In part because I'm a fan of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" -- which this promoted -- and because "Seinfeld" remains TV's greatest comedy 75 years in, so a nice little minishow in the big show, which happened to have been set in New York (or New Jersey, but you get the point) made it even better.

  The top of my piece for the best Super Bowl ads in Monday's Newsday:

1.) "Seinfeld Reunion/Crackle:" That old tease, Jerry Seinfeld, told listeners of WFAN last week that his "Seinfeld" reunion wasn't a Super Bowl commercial, then amended that by saying it was "not not" one either. The dead giveaway there. But as it appeared last night, at Tom's Restaurant, with Jerry and George, and Newman supplying the kicker, this was the Super Bowl ad we all live for -- a fun, well-executed surprise that made us (me) miss "Seinfeld" all over again. Plus, his "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" is worth the plug.

  And here's more. Seinfled has sent out this quote, which I suppose is his way of wiggling out of saying he wasn't doing a Super Bowl ad:

 “Fox approached Larry and me about doing some kind of ‘Seinfeld’ reunion for the halftime broadcast because of the New York connection. So we thought throwing Jerry, George and Newman into a 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ was a fun way to do it. Larry and I wrote the script in one sitting, just like old times, and working with him, Jason and Wayne was a total blast as it always was.”

(Newsday app readers please go to




The most unforgettable Super Bowl ads of all time? Here's a handy chart as your guide

An extra football crosses in front of Denver

(Credit: AP)

What have been the most popular — that is to say, the best — Super Bowl ads over the years — over 47 years? Good question! And rather than go year to year, go to this chart, produced by King of Prussia, Pa.-based digital and interactive marketing firm, Cadient Group. A few words about what you will see: First off, the bigger the box means the larger the audience for that particular year, relative to other Super Bowls. Second, Cadient has made some "editorial" decisions about "most popular" commercial, which is what everyone else does as well, including USA Today, which has a long-standing tradition of gauging most popular ads. My cursory glance here, however, tells me that Cadient got these right. And once again, maybe the only somewhat-objective way to gauge a Super Bowl ad's effectiveness is to gauge how memorable a particular ad was. (If you remember something from 25 years ago, then — ipso facto — it is memorable and — also ipso facto — effective. My thanks to Cadient for this.


'The Amazing Spider Man 2' Super Bowl tease

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and

(Credit: Handout)

As faithful readers may know, the "tease" is the big trend in this year's Super Bowl XLVIII commercial bonanza -- many advertisers foregoing full commercial pre-release in favor of something designed to quite literally force you to watch the full ad during the game -- and this one for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is certainly one of the more effective examples.

See what happens next.

(App readers go to to also see if one single hair on Andrew Garfield's head is ever out of place -- ever:)


'Full House' reunion on 'Jimmy Fallon,' new Dannon Super Bowl ad

From left, Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and Uncle

(Credit: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon via YouTube)

Suddenly, "Full House" is everywhere. Or at least the key cast members, Dave Coulier, Bob Saget and John Stamos. (No Olsen twins, however.) The guys reunited on Wednesday night's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" a few days after the release of their Dannon Super Bowl commercial.

Shall we watch together? Yes, let's!

My critical opinion? The Fallon sketch is funny, but the Dannon ad, released...

Read more »

Super Bowl XLVIII: Budweiser 'Puppy Love' commercial is overwhelmingly cute

Scene from Budweiser's "Puppy Love" Super Bowl commercial.

(Credit: Budweiser via YouTube)

Budweiser, which commands the Super Bowl almost as much as the NFL, has had some of the most memorable, even beloved, ads in telecast history. Many of them -- most of them -- have nothing to do with beer, unless there's something subliminal about beer consumption and Clydesdales.

But Wednesday morning, Budweiser pre-released one of its game ads: Think puppy. And a puppy so cute, so adorable, that a hundred million viewers will instantly go "awwwww" Sunday night when it airs. But don't be one of them.

Watch the ad now, and go "awwwww..." By the way, the track is by Passenger. "Let Her Go" has been played more relentlessly on radio and elsewhere this past year than even Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." (Newsday app readers, watch here: Unfortunately, this content is unavailable on mobile phones.)

MORE SUPER BOWL: Stars live-tweet the game | Photos: Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers | Photos: Celebrity fans | 13 biggest halftime shows ever | 15 most memorable Super Bowl ads of all time

Super Bowl XLVIII: Cheerios to feature biracial family again

The national ad featuring an interracial family will

(Credit: YouTube)

The key to Super Bowl advertising is to stand out from the pack, and this in-game commercial from Cheerios should almost certainly accomplish exactly that - starring the same biracial couple, and child,  from a commercial that aired last May. Cheerios said at the time that so much racist vitriol was directed at the ad that it disabled comments during its YouTube run.  With this new ad, Cheerios effectively tells the haters: Lump it. As with the first one, it's carefully crafted to convey a post-racial message of not merely tolerance but love (which happens to be the one-word tag.) 

 Here it is, and the "Today" show story on the controversy, such as it was, last spring,. My thanks to Adweek for posting the particulars of this story online today...


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Super Bowl XLVIII presents...The year of the advertising tease

Stephen Colbert will be pushing pistachios in a

(Credit: Stephen Colbert)

Super Bowl XLVIII is about to land on your doorstep with a loud and ferocious whump, but days before this happens, there will be many small and intriguing whumpettes: Brief ad snippets or teases that promise something of great and enduring interest if you just pay attention to that $4 million in-game ad that is being teased...

 It's the trend du jour of 2014 - the ad for the ad...

 The tease...

 There are teases everywhere, or at least "everywhere" as defined by YouTube. Certainly not every major marketer has one out there, but many do, like Wonderful Pistachios and M&Ms, to mention just two. (Check back here and I'll post more.)

 It's not a new idea, heaven knows, but rather an old idea with fresh legs: A couple of years ago, advertisers figured that they could get some social media  mileage out of their in-game spot by pre-releasing it. Good idea in principal, except that when people saw the ad (or worse, a shortened version of the pre-released ad), they ran to fridge. Why sit through the thing again?! Hence, there was believed to be a certain degree of cannibalization that took place with the pre-release.

 But the tease theoretically solves that...If you can tease something, you are not giving away the store, and maybe even promising something that would forestall that trip to the fridge. 

  Here's a good ABC News reel on the trend. And meanwhile, keep this in mind - the "tease" is but one trick up the marketers' collective sleeve; there are others, and we'll get to those later. 

 To the tease! 


SodaStream's Super Bowl ad bubbles over with controversy

Scarlett Johansson arrives for the premiere of the

(Credit: Getty Images)

To have your commercial become banned by a Super Bowl network is to a.) save $4 million; b.) Ensure that you will then get $4 million in free publicity. (Which, I suppose, means you are net $8 million ahead, right?) In any case, I'm talking about SodaStream. 

Fox banned this ad presumably because it mentions Coke and Pepsi, but of course that was the method to its madness -- mention Coke...

Read more »

The best Super Bowl commercial of 2014? Maybe this one

Volkswagen Kombi minibuses are lined up during an

(Credit: Getty Images)

And so it begins: The beginning of Super Bowl 2014 commercial pre-releases in an attempt to get all of those who have a blog -- which is to say everyone -- to post them. But as the hordes of ads come forth, surely there's one that must stand out, even days before the game? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Volkswagen.

This "tease" -- not quite an ad, but a subset of an ad designed to tease an ad -- is quite good. It's what you might call "meta," or one of those clever ads that's somehow above and apart from the rest of the ad kingdom. But something indeed is being sold here besides "attitude." See if you can see what that is...

Meanwhile, check out the Squarespace pre-release, too (third ad below). They almost mirror one another, visually ... and as mini-commentaries on the excesses of good ol' American culture. 

 And also: You may now watch the "Volkswagen Wings" commercial; released just a little while ago; this is another winner...

advertisement | advertise on newsday

What’s on TV tonight

advertisement | advertise on newsday