The Super Bowl is the biggest television event of the year. The sheer volume of viewers tuning in for the big game -- 111 million watched the Giants beat the Patriots last year -- ensures the show that plays post-Super Bowl enormous ratings potential. And in recent years, the networks have seized on the timeslot as a way to support their young hit shows.
Last year NBC took the opportunity to unofficially declare that "The Voice" was coming for "American Idol" and "The X Factor." The year before, Fox aired its "Thriller" and zombie-themed episode of "Glee," which turned out to be a ratings disappointment by post-Super Bowl standards.
Different networks have used various post-Super Bowl strategies over the years: NBC was rewarded for going the comedy route in 1996 when its post-Super Bowl "Friends" episode netted over 50 million viewers; CBS has had ratings success with reality shows, particularly "Survivor" and "Undercover Boss"; and ABC scored surprisingly high numbers with an outrageous episode of "Grey's Anatomy" in 2006.
Back in the days before premium cable, the networks used the post-Super Bowl timeslot to premiere shows with high potential. Both "The Wonder Years" and "The A-Team" debuted after Super Bowls in the '80s.
This year, CBS decided to go with its new procedural crime drama "Elementary," a choice that doesn't fit the traditional mold. The network might have been able to generate "Friends"-like ratings with "The Big Bang Theory" or a repeat performance with "Survivor: Caramoan" (which premieres on Feb. 13), but decided to go with a rookie show that's been averaging close to 10 million viewers per episode. To be fair, it is the highest-rated new drama of the 2012-2013 TV season.
Check out the slideshow below for a look back at how nine notable post-Super Bowl shows did in the ratings and whether they were able to sustain their post-Super Bowl ratings momentum throughout their seasons.
How do you think "Elementary" will do Sunday night? Share your thoughts in the comments.
"Elementary" will air at approximately 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 3 after Super Bowl XLVII on CBS.
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