‘The Big Bang Theory’ Sets Time-Shifting Ratings Record with Sheldon-Amy Romance

The Big Bang Theory Sheldon Amy
Courtesy of CBS

The most recent episode of CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” in which Sheldon and Amy consummated their relationship, has set a ratings record when it comes to time-shifted viewing.

According to Nielsen, 7.18 million viewers caught up with the Dec. 17 episode of television’s No. 1 comedy in the seven days after its premiere. It had averaged 17.25 million viewers in same-day viewership, and the time-shifted lift via VOD and DVR playback brings its total to 24.43 million — eclipsing the show’s season premiere (23.73 million) to stand as the television season’s most-watched scripted telecast in “live plus-7.”

The “Bang” lift may have been especially big this time around because the show’s linear airing came during a week when many people are distracted by holiday happenings.

See More: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Explores the Sex-‘Star Wars’ Nexus (SPOILERS)

The 7.18 million-viewer lift breaks the previous U.S. television record for an L+7 lift, set by the series premiere of ABC drama “How to Get Away With Murder” (6.95 million) in September 2014. The largest L+7 lift for AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was 6.3 million last February opposite NBC’s highly rated “SNL 40th Anniversary” special.

On an average basis this season, “Big Bang Theory” and “Walking Dead” are the biggest time-shifted gainers, growing by 5.6 million viewers from “same-day” to “live plus-7.” They’re followed by NBC’s “Blindspot” (5.5 million), Fox’s “Empire” (5.1 million), NBC’s “The Blacklist” (4.9 million) and ABC “Quantico” rookie (4.4 million).

In adults 18-49, the Dec. 17 episode of “Big Bang Theory” grew 2.9 ratings points (or 71%) from a 4.1 in same-day rating to a 7.0 in live+7. The previous season high for the show in L+7 (6.8) came for its season premiere, which grew 2.1 points from its 4.7 same-day rating.

CBS dominated the playback numbers for Dec. 14-20, claiming all of the week’s top 10 biggest 18-49 broadcast lifts. That allowed it to leapfrog NBC for the week’s victory in the demo (2.4 vs. 2.2)


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  1. js says:

    It’s a bit strange but I have a question Rick. Is L3 VOD audiences accounted for Live-plus-3 ratings or Live-plus-seven ? I’m curious about nielsen’s non-linear measurment.

  2. cadavra says:

    The show aired the night of the “Star Wars” premiere, which was the topic of the episode itself (in effect, it was occurring in “real time”). Given the enormous fanboy overlap, I predicted here a couple of weeks ago that the L+7 would be enormous, and I was right.

  3. B. Hope says:

    This lets us know how many low-classed, immoral people watch the Big Bang Theory!

  4. GC says:

    Networks call it a ‘time shifted lift’. Viewers call it ‘skipping commercials’. LOL!!

  5. JoeMcG says:

    It also garners an audience where time-shifted viewing is the norm…

  6. Gabe says:

    it happened

  7. “The “Bang” lift may have been especially big this time around because the show’s linear airing came during a week when many people are distracted by holiday happenings.”

    LIIIIKE the Star Wars premiere happening the same night?

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