According to ratings agency Eurodata TV Worldwide, House and his team of canny diagnosticians last year gathered more than 81.8 million viewers in 66 countries, representing a potential 1.6 billion viewers.
Wait a second. How do they get from "81.8 million" to "a potential 1.6 billion"? For answers, I searched the internet, as I so often do. Most of the articles I found linked back to the yahoo story, which of course does not explain how they can make such a leap. I did find another article that stated,
The Fox network Television show reportedly came in at the number one slot with over 81 million viewers across 66 countries for 2008. That’s 1.6 billion viewers tuning into the show’s outlandish, but captivating medical mysteries.
These people drop the "potential" completely, and just flatly state that "House" gets 1.6 billion viewers. This, after stating in the previous sentence that "House" gets "over 81 million viewers." I do not understand.
Some articles drop the "1.6 billion" number entirely:
House has more than 81.8 million viewers in 66 countries.
In other words, I think we can safely say that these numbers don't really mean anything at all. The first number is an estimate based on some kind of tracking that we're not given information about, and the second number is entirely made up.
In a related story, my blog gets over 10,000 visitors a month, which is over 10 million visitors every month.
Hugh Laurie not as House, in "Blackadder The Third."