Fox’s decision to schedule the season-three premiere of The Masked Singer behind the Super Bowl paid off with a massive (if expected) ratings boost for the network’s camp-tacular unscripted competition. Per Nielsen, 23.7 million watched last night’s singing showcase, easily making it the most-viewed episode of the still young franchise to date. The show also did great with Fox’s target audience of adults under 50, averaging an 8.1 rating in the demo. While The Masked Singer easily improved upon the tuning in for CBS’s postgame telecast of The World’s Best last year (22.2 million), the show didn’t come close to the numbers for NBC’s 2018 telecast of This Is Us (nearly 27 million).
The Masked Singer was helped by the fact that Sunday’s game ended relatively early (allowing the show to start at 10:40 p.m. EST) and, per early Nielsen numbers, appears to have improved a tad over CBS’s 2019 Super Bowl telecast. While TV-only numbers weren’t available as of Monday afternoon, Fox says the game drew an average audience of 102 million across the Fox network, the Spanish-language Fox Deportes, and streaming platforms. A similar cumulative audience estimate by CBS put the audience for last year’s game at 100.7 million, of which 98.2 million watched on the CBS network. Assuming a similar breakdown this year, the Fox-only portion of the Super Bowl audience should come in a tick below 100 million viewers — also up from last year.
In terms of Masked’s performance versus other recent post–Super Bowl entertainment offerings, the singing competition easily outdid Fox’s most recent postgame show, the 2017 telecast of 24: Legacy, which settled for just 17.6 million viewers in 2017. It couldn’t quite catch the network’s 2014 broadcast of a special, Prince-boosted episode of New Girl, however: The now-departed sitcom attracted 26.3 million viewers. Nevertheless, Fox execs are likely very happy with how Masked did, even if there’s a case to be made that the network’s new drama 9-1-1: Lone Star, which premiered to big numbers a few weeks ago, could’ve benefited more from the postgame slot.