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Super Bowl mashes TV record

An average of 111 million people watched Super Bowl XLV Sunday, making it the most-watched show in the history of American television.

The game on Fox easily surpassed the 106.5 million who watched last year on CBS, a figure that finally ended the 27-year reign of the M*A*S*H series finale (106 million) as the most-watched program.

Viewership totals generally are aided by the rising U.S. population, but ratings - which measure the percentage of homes watching - have trended lower for most of television in recent years, given the ever-widening array of media options.

That is what makes this figure perhaps more remarkable than the viewership record: 46.0 percent of homes watched Sunday, matching Super Bowl XXX 15 years ago as the highest-rated Super Bowls of the past quarter century.

Only eight Super Bowls have exceeded a 46 rating, all of them played between 1978 and '86.

Pittsburgh and Milwaukee tied for first among individual markets with 59.7 ratings. Counting only homes with a television in use, 87 percent in Pittsburgh and 85 percent in Milwaukee were watching the game.

In the New York area, an average of 42.6 percent of homes watched, the highest in 28 years for a Super Bowl not involving a New York team.

New York Sports