Super Bowl drenched in viewers

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NEW YORK -- Sunday's Super Bowl XLI drew 93.1 million viewers, making it the third-most-watched program in television history and second-most-watched Super Bowl.

The Indianapolis Colts' 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears ranks behind only the February 1983 finale of CBS' "M*A*S*H" that averaged 106 million viewers and just behind Super Bowl XXX in January 1996, which averaged 94.1 million viewers for Dallas' 27-17 win over Pittsburgh, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Sunday's viewership was 3% more than last year's Pittsburgh-Seattle game. It also was up 2% in household ratings, with a 42.6 rating/64 share compared with last year's 41.6/62. It was the highest-rated Super Bowl since St. Louis-Tennessee in 2000 (43.3/63).

The rain-soaked game peaked at a 45.0/65 in household ratings from 9-9:30 p.m.

Sunday's game also boosted the crime drama "Criminal Minds," which got the coveted spot after the Super Bowl. "Minds" averaged 26.2 million viewers and a 9.9 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, Nielsen Media Research said. That's the highest viewership for a "Criminal Minds" in its two-year history but well behind last year's Super Bowl lead-out "Grey's Anatomy" (38.1 million on ABC). "Minds" also trailed the post-Super Bowl episodes of "Survivor: The Australian Outback" in 2001 and "Friends" in 1996.

A special edition of "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" also scored with viewers, averaging 5.1 million after midnight EST and reaching the two-year-old late-night show's highest ratings ever.
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