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For nearly three decades, the M*A*S*H series finale has held the record for being the most watched TV program of all time. Last night that record was broken. The Super Bowl XLIV now holds the title, though the margin was relatively small.
According to TVGuide.com, last night’s Super Bowl was viewed by 106.5 million people, topping the M*A*S*H series finale, which was viewed by 105.97 million people. M*A*S*H held the record for 27 years.
Naturally, CBS president of news and sports Sean McManus is “thrilled” with this rating and extremely proud of how the network produced the broadcast.
Twenty-seven years is most of my lifetime. So why did it take so long for M*A*S*H’s record to be broken? Not having grown up watching the series, I couldn’t say if it was simply that no program has ever managed to live up to M*A*S*H since then. I’m more inclined to believe that since M*A*S*H, the steady increase in TV channels and programming has split the viewers’ attention enough to leave the series’ finale record untouched in the ratings. It makes sense that only something like the Super Bowl could unite TV viewers enough to bump M*A*S*H from the top spot.