The Best TV Show That Aired After the Super Bowl

Since Super Bowl Weekend is upon us, here is the first of my three blog entries inspired by "The Big Game."  The NFL has done an incredible job of marketing their annual championship as the must-watch television event every single year.  It is consistently the highest rated televised program and advertisments during the broadcast cost a hefty premium.  Even non-football fans throw or attend Super Bowl parties, even if it is just an excuse to socialize or to watch the hyped commercials!  The network that airs the Super Bowl often tries to take advantage of the big lead-in audience that the NFL bonanza provides and try to air a show immediately after the game to capitalize on the big ratings and draw attention to either a new show or an existing show.  This year, the Super Bowl is on FOX and the program that will air in the coveted lead-out, post-Super Bowl time slot is Glee

The greatest show of all time that aired after the Super Bowl is The Wonder Years on ABC, premiering in 1988 immediately after Super Bowl XXII.  It became an instant critical darling and a fan favorite.  With a pitch-perfect nostalgic tone, excellent writing that blended comedy and drama, and an endearing cast that included Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Jason Hervey, Alley Mills, Josh Saviano, Danica McKellar, and Olivia d'Abo, (and let us not forget the excellent voice-over narration skills of Daniel Stern), it still holds up as one of my favorite shows on television.

Other series that debuted after the Super Bowl and benefited from the built-in audience included The A-Team, Airwolf, Hard Copy, Homicide: Life on the Street, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Survivor: All-Stars, and Undercover Boss

Sometimes, networks have opted to air special episodes of existing shows to boost interest and reach new viewers -- examples include All in the Family, Friends, The X-Files, 3rd Rock From the Sun, The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, Criminal Minds, and The Office.

Airing a program after the Super Bowl is not an automatic guarantee for success.  Some forgettable ones include The Last Precinct, Grand Slam, Davis Rules, and Extreme.

And for those of you who think that Glee might be an odd choice as a post-Super Bowl show, I argue that it is no worse than the episodes of Lassie that aired in that time slot after the first few Super Bowls.  We shall see if Glee, which is already a huge hit, can benefit even more from its special air time.