It’s time to have an uncomfortable talk about mortality. Television as we know it is in the process of dying a slow, painful death. The “big” networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and The CW) are scrambling to fix their ratings downturn. But it ain’t gonna happen. Today’s viewers are watching sitcoms on their DVRs, their cell phones, their iPads—anything but a creaky old television set. And cable TV is flat-out kicking broadcast television’s ass in the ratings game.
It’s official: This past Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIV was the most-watched event in television history. Neilsen estimates put 106.5 million sets of eyes on the showdown between New Orleans and Indianapolis. That beats a 27-year-old record of 105.97 million viewers set by the series finale of “M*A*S*H*” back in 1983. That’s fairly impressive. Sure, there were fewer TVs back in 1983; but there were also significantly less viewing options. This year’s record ratings also mark a big improvement over last year’s Super Bowl match-up between Arizona and Pittsburgh. That contest attracted only 98.7 million viewers.