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The post-Super Bowl timeslot has lost its luster in recent years

  • "The Super Bowl lead-out is as big a megaphone for an emerging show as could exist, funneling some tens of millions of viewers directly to a show that is allowed to make its case," says Daniel D'Addario. "That will make The Equalizer as much a part of the night’s entertainment as the celebrity-packed ads or the Weeknd performing at halftime; unlike the rest of the night’s happenings, though, it doesn’t quite feel like an event. It’s not that there is, or should be, a tradition of pure quality as the guiding light for networks’ post-Big Game offerings. (Indeed, trying to bring taste to bear on any element of the annual tribute to American excess seems misguided.) But, given that this is a berth with a potential viewership in the tens of millions and thus a huge promotional opportunity, what’s noticeable in networks’ handling of the lead-out in recent years has been the degree to which sensibility is absent, too. The Equalizer is an OK crime show, placed in an extremely noticeable position. But maybe airing after the big game isn’t so big at all anymore." Previously, he says, the timeslot featured "episodes specially constructed with an eye towards massive spectacle and grabbiness, like the mega-sized, star-packed Friends spectacular, still the most-watched of the lead-outs, or launches of shows that felt somehow special and unique, not just attracting viewers catching a cultural wave. This still happens: NBC’s decision to place the big reveal of This Is Us character Jack Pearson’s death after the Bowl in 2018 felt momentous, and The Masked Singer was at the peak of its novelty in 2020. But more often, lately, the programming feels rote, plugged in because something must be. The 2017 relaunch of Fox’s 24 — a franchise that had barely had time to cool off — is a good example, as is The World’s Best, an unscripted show with a muddled concept and unclear value proposition. Similarly, The Equalizer is as good as much of the rest of CBS’ crime-drama slate, but little about it feels urgent. CBS might get fortunate enough to see many people leave their TVs on after the game. But in programming square-down-the-middle fare on their most-watched night of the year, they’re making a statement that those just visiting CBS for the night needn’t check back in soon."

    TOPICS: The Equalizer (2021 series), CBS, Super Bowl LV, The World's Best, Super Bowl