The Super Bowl draws in the largest TV viewing audience of the year, so it makes sense that the network that hosts the Big Game takes advantage of the ratings bump by showcasing either new or fan-favorite television shows. This year, New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine will air immediately following Super Bowl XLVIII. Here are 7 TV shows that made their TV debuts after the Big Game.
1. The Wonder Years // Premiere date: January 31, 1988
In 1988, the single-camera comedy-drama The Wonder Years premiered after Super Bowl XXIII on ABC. The series’ pilot episode retained over a third of the Big Game’s viewing audience—approximately 29 million viewers of the Super Bowl’s estimated 80 million. Over the years, The Wonder Years would go on for 114 additional episodes over six full seasons of television after ending its original series run in 1993.
2. The Good Life // Premiere Date: January 20, 1994
In 1994, after the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII, NBC premiered new series The Good Life. The comedy was set in Chicago and starred comedian John Caponera as a middle manager of a lock company and Drew Carey as his best friend and co-manager. After 13 episodes, The Good Life was unceremoniously canceled that May.
3. AirWolf // Premiere Date: January 22, 1984
In 1984, after Super Bowl XVIII, CBS aired the two-hour series premiere of the action TV series Airwolf. The show centered on the crew of a top-secret high tech military helicopter, codename: “Airwolf.” Although the new series failed to retain at least 50 percent of the game’s estimated 77 million viewers—about 28 million tuned in—Airwolf managed to find a fan base and stay on the air for four complete seasons, ending its original run in 1987.
4. American Dad! // Premiere Date: February 6, 2005
After Super Bowl XXXIX, Fox kicked off a new animated series from Seth MacFarlane, American Dad!, after a new episode of The Simpsons in 2005. The show followed the misadventures of a CIA Agent and his eccentric family. American Dad! is currently in its 10th season and is part of Fox’s Animation Domination Sunday lineup, which also includes The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers.
5. Davis Rules // Premiere Date: January 21, 1991
In 1991, ABC premiered a new sitcom, Davis Rules, after Super Bowl XXV. The comedy followed actor Randy Quaid as Dwight Davis, an elementary school principal who—after the death of his wife—is also a single father. Dwight’s father Gunny Davis, played by Jonathan Winters, moves in with his son to help him raise his boys. Winters won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on Davis Rules.
Despite the Super Bowl lead-in, Davis Rules was canceled after one season, but it was picked up for a second season on rival network CBS in 1992. The comedy was re-tooled, adding Giovanni Ribisi and Bonnie Hunt to its cast, but the network change and new castmembers didn't help: The series was canceled again after 16 episodes.
6. Undercover Boss // Premiere Date: February 7, 2010
Based on the British reality series of the same name, the American version of Undercover Boss premiered after the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. The reality show placed upper management of major companies undercover, performing entry-level positions to find the shortcomings of their corporate brand. Undercover Boss only managed to retain about 38 million viewers from the Super Bowl’s estimated 106 million for its series premiere—but the show also gained the largest audience for a new TV show following the Super Bowl since 1986.
Undercover Boss is now in its fifth season with its season finale due to air on March 14, 2014.
7. Family Guy // Premiere Date: January 31, 1999
In 1999, Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy made its debut on Fox with the episode “Death Has a Shadow” after Super Bowl XXXIII. The animated series quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, but also drew some harsh criticism for its similarities to another animated Fox show, The Simpsons. While Family Guy grew in popularity, Fox canceled the show after its third season in 2003. However, Fox brought back Family Guy after strong DVD sales and high ratings on Comedy Central in 2005.