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‘Tracker’ Premieres to 18.4 Million Viewers on CBS Boosted by Record-Breaking Super Bowl

The series premiere of “Tracker” reached an average 18.4 million viewers on CBS on Sunday.

Titled “Klamath Falls,” the episode hit this height thanks to massive lead-in from Super Bowl LVIII, which aired directly beforehand and became the most-watched telecast of all time, hitting an average viewership of 123.4 million people. “Tracker” retained at least 15% of the game’s audience.

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It should be noted that the Super Bowl stat accounts for viewership across CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision, CBS Sports and NFL digital properties, while the “Tracker” figure refers only to CBS viewership and will soon increase when data becomes available regarding viewership on Paramount+, CBS.com and the CBS app.

“Tracker” wasn’t the only show to benefit from the Super Bowl’s success: “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” aired next and reached 3.7 million viewers, its best viewership since 2021, while “After Midnight” followed and hit a series high of 2 million viewers. (These figures will also increase with the addition of streaming data.)

As the Super Bowl always marks the most-watched telecast of the year, it’s standard for the programs in the proceeding time slot to enjoy a major viewership boost. But “Tracker’s” performance outdid last year’s post-Super Bowl effect: In 2023, Season 2 of “Next Level Chef” held onto 13.6% of the audience of the game, opening to 15.7 million viewers after 115.1 million tuned in to see the Chiefs play the Eagles.

“Tracker,” “The Late Show” and “After Midnight” likely would have seen even larger ratings bumps had they started earlier, but the game going into overtime — for only the second time in Super Bowl history — pushed the “Tracker” episode until 11:14 p.m. ET, the latest Super Bowl lead-out ever.

The most recent non-news, non-sports broadcast to perform as well as “Tracker” was also on CBS: After the 2021 Super Bowl, the series premiere of “The Equalizer” saw 20.4 million viewers, roughly 22% retention of the Buccaneers-Chiefs game’s 92 million viewers.

Based on the 2019 novel “The Never Game” by Jeffery Deaver, “Tracker” stars Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw, a lone-wolf survivalist who roams the country as a reward seeker, using his expert tracking skills to help private citizens and law enforcement solve all manner of mysteries while contending with his own fractured family. The series was created for television by Ben H. Winters, who executive produces alongside Hartley, Ken Olin and Elwood Reid. Deaver serves as producer. 20th Television is the studio.

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