February 2010 in TV

Continuing our look at the year’s most notable television events, here’s what happened in February 2010.

106.5 million viewers watch Super Bowl XLIV, in which the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts, on CBS. According to Nielsen ratings, that made it “the most watched telecast in history”, breaking the record set by the final episode of M*A*S*H (106.5 million vs.105.97 million) in 1983.

Superbowl ad space averages at about $2.6 million per commercial, with Coca-Cola featuring characters from The Simpsons, a Yo Gabba Gabba character appearing as a daydreaming toy inside a Kia Sorrento, and a spot for The Late Show With David Letterman that features the host watching the game with Oprah and Jay Leno.

After the game, CBS debuts the reality series Undercover Boss. Also new to TV this month is NBC’s The Marriage Ref and FOX’s Past Life, but Boss goes on to become one of the highest rated series of the season.

Captain Phil Harris of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch dies from complications of a stroke at age 53. Cameras were rolling at the time, and Harris’ death was later featured on the show, with the support of his family.

The sixth and final season of Lost premieres on ABC.

The 2010 Winter Olympics begin airing on NBC and related networks. The opening ceremony was highly elaborate and expensive, but the focus moved on to moving tributes to luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died during a training run accident earlier on that day.

While her afternoon talk show has been renewed through 2014, Ellen DeGeneres debuts as an American Idol judge. Idol’s ratings rise 12%, but DeGeneres will later announce that she won’t be returning for the show’s next season.

HBO premieres the self titled biopic of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who majored in animal sciences, invented the “hug machine”, and lobbied for the humane treatment of livestock. The movie would later go on to win five Primetime Emmy Awards.