Popular CBS comedy staple, The Big Bang Theory, ends tonight after a decade of viewership dominance on the network.

The show about socially awkward nerds has run for 12 seasons and slowly became a network darling, routinely helping CBS maintain its status as the most-watched-network. Yet, as the series comes to a close, what does it mean for TV programming as a whole.

The Big Bang Theory was an oddity when it debuted on television in 2007.

The multiple-camera setup, live audience attendance, and laugh track were products of a bygone era of television harkening back to Seinfeld and Friends. Shows like these were quickly disappearing, as single camera comedy shows like Community and serialized television were becoming the norm.

The show’s original pilot had failed to garner interest, but the charm of its central duo, Leonard and Sheldon, played by Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons, earned them a second pilot. With the addition of Kaley Cuoco to the cast, CBS ordered a full season.

Yet, The Big Bang Theory wasn’t a rating success at the time, the show ranked 68th among the other TV shows. And with the 2007-2008 WGA strike, CBS might have cancelled it after its first season.

But, the show’s audience slowly grew, and by the time of the fifth season, the show was topping the Nielsen ratings and earning critical acclaim. The Big Bang Theory had become a staple of modern television with its geek pop culture humor and warm sensibilities.

And while the landscape of television has changed since the advent of streaming services, Bang Theory was always a reliable ratings hit and averaged more than 12 million in viewership each episode.


The show may be ending tonight but television is going to adapt and continue on as it’s done before in its lifetime.

The Big Bang Theory will officially end at 8:00 p.m. EST with two back-to-back episodes, followed by the season finale of Young Sheldon, and a special called Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell, which will take viewers behind the scenes of the popular show.

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