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What's Up With The Big Bang Theory's Ratings?

the big bang theory sheldon sad ratings
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of CBS)

You know the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't remove the tools to remedy the situation." (I may be paraphrasing.) One has to wonder if that concept is attached to The Big Bang Theory's surprisingly noticeable ratings decline in Season 10. Just a week away from the big finale, the CBS stalwart has reached a new series low in the ratings, so is there any way to climb back up from here?

Thursday night's episode of The Big Bang Theory, titled "The Gyroscopic Collapse," featured the return of Breaking Bad vet Dean Norris as Captain Williams, as well as a return of Sheldon and Amy's bedroom shenanigans. (And not on a birthday, either.) But while viewers were all about that initial loss of Sheldon's virginity, this third time wasn't the greatest charm, as The Big Bang Theory fell to a 2.4 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, which is a new low for the CBS mainstay.

As for the total viewership, The Big Bang Theory's penultimate Season 10 episode was watched by 11.88 million people, which is just barely lower (but still lower) than the 11.89 million-strong crowd that watched two episodes ago. Those two are the lowest stats the hit sitcom has brought in since all the way back in Season 4. To be sure, both Big Bang Theory's total viewership and the demo rating are still aces when compared to plenty of other shows currently airing, but it's been the king of the mountain for so long, it's not quite clear if something will assertively take its place, or if the mountain just won't exist as is anymore.

Of course, the numbers were fairly normal earlier in the season, when episodes were regularly bringing in around 14-15 million pairs of eyes on a weekly basis. It was 2017 itself, for some reason, that brought on the scourge, as The Big Bang Theory faced a nine-week decline in the numbers before last week's temporary rise. Could things really get better in Season 11 and Season 12?

To reiterate the intro a bit, has The Big Bang Theory's relatively massive changes over the years turned portions of its central fanbase away, or is it just the natural swing of things? I mean, the show started as a centered comedy about dorky dudes and a hot woman, dishing out nerdy references and catchphrases. Now there are more main characters, tons of tertiary characters, more apartments, two marriages and a baby; and one of those marriages is having its own problems, while Sheldon and Amy might be destined for strange times as well after the finale airs. Fans might not always want to tune in to watch domestic life crumbling along to a studio audience's laughter.

The Big Bang Theory has just one more episode left in Season 10, though we obviously have a lot more coming in the future. It airs Thursday, May 11, at 8:00 p.m. ET. While waiting to see what happens next with Sheldon and Amy (and everyone else), head to our summer premiere schedule to see everything hitting your TVs in the coming months. And head to our big finale rundown to see when all your favorite shows are ending soon.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.