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Lead-out programming

It's great to have half the country tune in to your network for a night and rake in all that commercial cash. Back in 2011, the NFL renewed its broadcast deal with CBS , Fox and NBC through 2022 and increased its take from $1.93 billion per year to $3.1 billion.

That boosted the NFL's revenue by as much as 60% over the life of the deal, but it also locked in those networks' rotating Super Bowl rights for the next decade. That tends to mean great things for the shows that follow the big game, which have drawn more than 20 million viewers apiece since 2003. That year, ABC's airing of the Jennifer Garner vehicle Alias after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 48-21 rout of the Oakland Raiders managed only 17 million viewers.

This year, CBS is throwing its modern-day Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary into the mix after the big game. It's the last true drama that's run after the Super Bowl since Fox's House drew 29 million viewers after the New York Giants stunned the until-then undefeated New England Patriots in 2008. CBS has to like its chances, however, as the 38.6 million viewers who watched its premiere of Undercover Boss after a New Orleans Saints victory in 2010 was the largest Super Bowl lead-out audience since 43 million people watched CBS' Survivor after the Baltimore Ravens' last Super Bowl appearance in 2001.

The lead-out crown, however, goes to NBC. Though 17 years have passed and Jennifer Aniston's produced a string of romantic comedies since, its two-part Friends episode The One After The Super Bowl that aired in 1996 is still the most-watched post-Super Bowl show ever. It drew nearly 53 million viewers and took up 46% of U.S. television screens.