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Monday, February 8,2010

Highest-rated Super Bowl in 23 years, CBS says

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

LOS ANGELESCBS Corp. on Monday reported its highest ratings ever in metered markets for Sunday's Super Bowl in which the New Orleans Saints scored their first NFL championship over the favored Indianapolis Colts.

CBS averaged a 46.4 percent rating, or all households were tuned to Super Bowl XLIV, in which the Saints defeated the Colts 31-17. The network's share, or portion of homes with their televisions turned on, was 68 percent, CBS said in a press release.

The ratings measure overnight performance in a number of markets, and are the highest since Super Bowl XXI on Jan. 25, 1987, when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos.

This year's ratings also are up more than 10 percent from last year's contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, the network said

Thanks to a late interception by New Orleans cornerback Tracy Porter, the Saints thwarted a drive by quarterback Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts that could have tied the game. Porter ran back the interception for a touchdown, putting the Saints ahead by two touchdowns with minutes left to play.

Manning, the regular-season most valuable player in the league, tried to bring the Colts back later in the game, but his efforts failed when his pass fell incomplete on fourth down with less than a minute to play.

As a result, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees took MVP honors for the game. The victory completed the Saints' long quest for their first championship; the team entered the league in 1967 as an expansion franchise.

Adding to the drama was New Orleans' struggle to recover after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and flooded three-fourths of the city.

Not surprisingly, New Orleans posted the highest ratings of all metered markets, with a 56.3 percent rating and 82 percent share. Snowbound Washington, D.C., was second with a 56 percent rating and 73 percent share.

Indianapolis came in fourth, behind Nashville, with a 54.4 percent rating and 73 percent share.

(c) 2010, MarketWatch.com Inc.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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