Most Viewed TV Programs of All Time in the US

Updated April 23, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The biggest broadcasts of all time

There's a lot of TV, and the viewing public can have radically different taste and viewing habits. But, some broadcasts manage to occupy a massive share of the country's screens.

For sake of interest, we've only listed the most-viewed Super Bowl figures. Super Bowls occupy 29 of the top 30 slots, and every single Super Bowl has attracted a big audience. 

In a similar fashion to the Super Bowl in the U.S., the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup hold all of the top viewership records. The ICC Cricket World Cup, Winter Olympics, and the boxing matches of Muhammad Ali also all consistently appear in the rankings. 

If we include individual broadcasts that are not part of a program, series, or scripted special, the Moon Landing would be the top broadcast. Nixon's resignation speech would be the third most viewed, and the police pursuit of O.J. Simpson would be the fifth.

Rank Program Network Total Viewers (millions)
1 Super Bowl XLIX NBC 114
2 M*A*S*H (Finale) CBS 105
3 Dallas ("Who Done It") CBS 83.6
4 Cheers (Finale) NBC 80.5
5 1994 Winter Olympics (Women's Figure Skating) NBC 78.8
6 The Day After ABC 77.4
7 Roots (Part VIII) ABC 76.7
8 Seinfeld (Finale) NBC 76.0
9 The Fugitive (Finale) ABC ~73–78 (25.7 million households)
10 Bob Hope's Vietnam Christmas Special (1970) NBC ~65 million
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