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Super Bowl XLV Is Most Watched Program in U.S. TV History

111 million tuned into the showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Super Bowl XLV
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

More than 111 million people tuned into Super Bowl XLV Sunday night, making it the most-watched program in TV history.

106.5 million watched 2010's Super Bowl.

Fox became the first network to exceed 100 million viewers for a night in primetime, according to fast-national ratings released Monday by Nielsen Media Research.

FOX Sports’ broadcast of Super Bowl XLV averaged 111 million viewers and is the most-watched television program in U.S. history, obliterating the prior record of 106.5 set last year during Super Bowl XLIV by 4.5 million viewers and the 106.0 million for the series finale of M*A*S*H, which held the viewership record from 1983 to 2010.

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The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 to capture the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl Championship.

This is the fourth consecutive Super Bowl to set a viewership record, attracting 13.5 million more viewers than FOX’s last Super Bowl broadcast in 2008 (97.5 million) for the New York Giants upset of the undefeated New England Patriots.

No other major sporting event has ever hit a record high in four consecutive years. This also marks the sixth straight year that Super Bowl viewership has increased, and over that span average Super Bowl viewership has increased from 86.1 million in 2005 to 111.0 million, a gain of nearly 25 million viewers.

The halftime show, featuring the Black Eyed Peas, posted a 44.7 from 8 to 8:30 p.m. EST, just 3 percent lower than the game. That's a slightly better audience retention rate featuring The Who in 2010 (-4%), Bruce Springsteen in 2009 (-5%) and Tom Petty in 2008 (-6%).

It is the highest-rated half-time since Michael Jackson performed in 1993 (45.5).

Read the full release after the jump.