Super Bowl XLVIII wasn’t the only big ratings winner on Sunday. Animal Planet’s 10th annual Puppy Bowl also scored some big numbers.
The annual gathering of the world’s cutest puppies in a miniature football stadium set a new ratings record for Animal Planet with 13.5 million viewers who tuned into the 12-hour puppy footage marathon. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the 111.3 million viewers that the Super Bowl racked up for FOX, a new ratings record that made it the most watched program in television history. However, it’s still impressive considering the huge competition it faced from the Super Bowl and the fact that it’s just a program that airs footage of puppies being puppies.
It’s also impressive since this is the first year that the Puppy Bowl had some serious competition with other animal themed “bowl” shows. The Hallmark Channel entered the fray by unleashing a new show featuring the puppy’s natural enemy: the kitten. The cable network’s first annual Kitten Bowl was pretty much the same as the Puppy Bowl except it featured a field of cute, adorable (you guessed it!) kittens and it racked up more than 1 million viewers. That also may not sound like an impressive ratings finish but it’s pretty good for a first-year program that once again was just another show that featured footage of nothing but playful kittens being playful kittens.
Nat Geo Wild also tried to get a piece of the Super Bowl diversion programming wars but it wasn’t nearly successful. Their Fish Bowl (get it?!?) featured four hours of swimming fish and it only managed to rack up 27,000 viewers. That’s probably because it was more interesting to watch Peyton Manning slowly swim through a sea of mediocrity for four hours.