It's difficult to predict anything in the world of television, but here's one prognostication that's bound to come true:
Most of you will be watching the Super Bowl this afternoon.This silver anniversary edition of football's biggest game features the AFC champion Buffalo Bills and the NFC champion New York Giants. But no matter who makes it to the Super Bowl, it's pretty much guaranteed that America will be watching.
In an average week, the most-watched show on television will attract maybe 35 percent of the homes in America, if it's lucky.
The least-watched Super Bowl in history attracted 62 percent of American homes. That's the least-watched.
And the audience has ranged all the way up to 78 percent of the households in the U.S.
Ratings levels in New York City and Buffalo are just about guaranteed to reach into the stratosphere this afternoon. But those two cities won't be alone - viewers in every city from Miami to Spokane, Boston to Salt Lake City will be watching.
Surveys show that people who don't normally watch football on TV tune in for the Super Bowl. For some Americans, it's the only football game they watch all year.
Even the score doesn't seem to matter. Five of the last seven Super Bowls have been blowouts - including last year's 55-10 San Francisco win over Denver - but viewing levels remain high.
The Super Bowl is an American institution. It's an excuse for a party in late January. Family and friends gather for food and fun.
It's not only Americans who will tune in to see the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV this afternoon. ABC estimates the worldwide audience will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 750 million viewers.
Super Bowl Sunday isn't quite an all-day affair, although it can certainly seem that way. The pre-game show begins on ABC (Ch. 4 locally) at 2 p.m. MST - more than two hours before the kickoff. A "Kickoff Special" follows at 3:45 p.m. The game itself is scheduled to begin at 4:20 p.m.
ABC is planning on the action wrapping up about 8 p.m., and the network will follow with a half-hour post-game show.
That's a total of 61/2 hours for those of you keeping track.
Brent Musburger will host the network's pre-game and post-game activities - a job he's handled in the past while working for CBS. ABC's "Monday Night Football" trio - Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford - will be in the booth for the game itself.
- ON THE COVER: Dan Dierdorf, Al Michaels and Frank Gifford will be in the broadcast booth for ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XXV on Sunday afternoon.