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Shifting from Super Bowl to Super Tuesday
February 5, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
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Sunday was the Super Bowl, that amazing, astounding game that made "Super" seem inadequate. Monday the Nielsen ratings came in, anointing it as the most-viewed Super Bowl ever with 97.5 million viewers. Only the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H, which drew an estimated 106 million viewers, ranks higher as a TV show seen by American viewers.

Today, a fraction of those viewers will turn to the next compelling televised national contests: the American Idol auditions on Fox, and, on most broadcast and cable networks, prime-time coverage of the Super Tuesday primary results.

Conventional wisdom says that more people vote for American Idol than in presidential elections, but 2008 may be a different type of year. It was for the Super Bowl, when the promise of watching history being made, either way, drew people in record numbers.

Maybe, just maybe, it'll be that way for the primaries - that people will emerge in unexpected numbers to take part in the process, as they did in the Iowa Caucus. Maybe that'll be true of the TV coverage as well - that people will sense, as they did by tuning in the Super Bowl, that something unprecedented and unforgettable was about to happen.

All I know is, in what could be the waning days of the writers' strike, it's an especially exciting time to be watching television.

My advice for tonight? Start with your favorite news source, then skip around. And around, and around, past the broadcast networks to such disparate sources as Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, Brit Hume on Fox News and Dan Rather on HD Net.

Like reading day-after news stories of the New York Giants' upset victory over the New England Patriots, the facts don't change - but the way they're described and analyzed can be wildly, and enlighteningly, different.

 

1 Comment

 

kristin said:

Hi daddy, I really liked the way you shifted from super bowl to super tuesday. wonderfully written. will be making it home in time for the coverage - class ends at 8:50.

OBAMA FOR CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(That's my 25-year-old, third-year law student daughter, blatantly revealing her political preference. But how can you edit your offspring? -- David B)

Comment posted on February 5, 2008 5:24 PM

 
 
 
 
 
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