Counterprogramming: technically, it means programming that occurs during the Super Bowl’s halftime period, but no station that engages in counterprogramming would mind if you forgot to return to NBC (the 2012 Super Bowl’s home network). Successful past examples of counterprogramming include “In Living Color,” with its special football-themed episode, and the “Lingerie Bowl,” which typically airs on Pay-Per-View. Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” has been picking up viewers, as well.
You might say that it’s counterintuitive to even think of programming against the Super Bowl; with over 40% of America’s television sets tuned in and multiple viewers in front of each set, some stations appear to just throw up their hands and embrace their lack of audience. ABC, for example, is going with episodes of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Wipeout.” All the same, the Super Bowl is not for everyone, so what strategies do other networks and cable channels use to compete with each other for the leftovers?
What will you be watching Sunday?
Robert Thompson, trustee professor, Television and Popular Culture, Syracuse University; founding director, The Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture