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In Broadcast programming, counterprogramming is the practice of offering television programs to attract an audience from another television station airing a major event.


The main events counterprogrammed in the United States are the Super Bowl and the Oscars.

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is amongst the most-viewed programs on American television. Thus, counterprogramming focuses on the pre-game period and the halftime show. However, it is a common gentlemen's agreement that the broadcast networks who carry the league's game coverage (and in turn, other cable networks owned by the broadcasters) never counterprogram the Super Bowl, yielding to the game and airing either low profile reruns of their series or a middling film in the timeslot instead. As all four of the five major broadcast networks (ABC is the exception; although its parent Disney owns 80% of ESPN, they are free to counterprogram, and have done so) now have some connection to NFL coverage, this has meant since 2007, that the major networks not airing the game de facto shut down, do not counterprogram, and cede to the network that year carrying the game, which in turn has given many of the post-2007 Super Bowls among the highest viewing audiences in American ratings history.

NBC counterprogrammed the Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX pregame shows with the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions.

In 1992, FOX counterprogrammed the Super Bowl XXVI halftime show with a special episode of In Living...... ...
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