The Big Bang Theory Tops Survey Of Most-Loved TV Shows

the big bang theory season 12 johnny galecki leonard
(Image credit: Image courtesy of CBS)

The Big Bang Theory has been winning huge ratings and earning lots of laughs from fans for more than a decade now, and CBS will be a different place next fall when the long-running show does not return to the airwaves. According to a recent survey, The Big Bang Theory actually ranks at the very top of a list of most-loved TV shows. Bazinga!

A 2018 survey by Uniting Generations found that The Big Bang Theory scored the highest in all-ages appeal in the group questioned, with a 47% all-ages appeal. This means that at least 47% of people in each individual age group responded that they enjoy The Big Bang Theory. The participants were split up into five age groups:16-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, and 55+.

Interestingly, The Big Bang Theory was the top show in all age groups except for 55+, where 50.7% of persons polled favored the NCIS franchise. The Big Bang Theory scored 46.5% in 55+, which was presumably rounded up to the 47%. In all-ages appeal, The Big Bang Theory is followed in the top 10 by Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, NCIS and NCIS spinoffs, The Voice, Modern Family, American Idol, Grey's Anatomy, The Good Doctor, and Dancing with the Stars.

Given that the youngest participants were presumably 16, at least we can take this to mean that no youngsters or preteens were tallied as fans of Law & Order: SVU! There doesn't seem to be any notable trend or pattern to the shows that made the top ten, although the crime procedurals are all sequential and the two medical dramas are side-by-side.

There are also some shows that scored quite large percentages in multiple age groups but so low in others that results are skewed. The top 4 most divisive shows impacted by the age discrepancy among fans are Blue Bloods, The Walking Dead, Hawaii Five-0, and MacGyver. These shows are evidently lacking that special something that has made The Big Bang Theory a hit among many demographics.

Now, all of this said, we shouldn't take the results of this survey as 100% and irrefutably representative of overall viewership. Only 2,018 residents of the United States were polled in September 2018, and they were asked about 30 shows selected for their ratings in 2017-2018. News and sports broadcasts were omitted, and Game of Thrones was added as an exception due to high ratings.

That's a relatively small sample size overall, and each person was asked to select one of these three options for each show: dislike, neither like nor dislike, like. Game of Thrones' status as an outlier both as a series that was off the air during 2017-2018 and not on broadcast television like the rest of the 30 shows may have skewed data as well, even if it didn't make the top 10. Then there's the fact that not all were necessarily airing new episodes in September 2018.

Are these results going to be interesting to many? Sure. But we can't say for sure that they're absolutely and accurately representative of viewership that could be tallied by a much larger sample size. Still, I think it's safe to say that The Big Bang Theory would probably be in the top 10 even with a much larger sample size. It's one of the biggest hits on television, and my money is on CBS missing the show once its twelfth and final season ends in 2019.

The Big Bang Theory finished its run for 2018, but you can find it back on the airwaves starting Thursday, January 10 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. For more upcoming viewing options, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).