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The Big Bang Theory is gone, but the Chuck Lorre magic is still rolling strong on CBS. We know the network is feeling good about Bob Hearts Abishola given the recent news about it, but one has to wonder how executives feel about Young Sheldon's numbers without the franchise's parent show on the air. So, how are the ratings looking for the prequel series without The Big Bang Theory?
To start, no one should be worrying about Young Sheldon getting cancelled soon. Season 3's most recent episode pulled in about 8 million total viewers, and ended up beating out Grey's Anatomy in the timeslot by a couple of million viewers, numbers-wise. It also scored a 1.0 in the 18-49 demographic, only .2 away from Grey's Anatomy. Of course, the ratings winner that night was still Thursday Night Football, which hauled in a 4.2 ratings share and 13.68 million viewers.
It's a big gap between Young Sheldon's numbers now and this time last year (via TVByTheNumbers). Season 2 was pulling in viewership of 10.5 to 11 million viewers, and had a ratings share of live and delayed viewing of around 2.6-2.8. In Season 3 it's starting off nearly a point down in delated viewing in the 18-49 demo, bringing in around a 1.8 or 1.6 ratings share during its first 2 weeks, compared to a 2.8 and 2.5 in the first two weeks of Season 2.
It's clear that Young Sheldon has taken a hit in viewership and ratings now that The Big Bang Theory is off the air. That's not a huge surprise given the other show was a ratings and viewership juggernaut, and now Young Sheldon is sitting in its 8:00 time slot as the big ticket primetime show that is currently serving as the lead in for The Unicorn.
While The Big Bang Theory's end is a factor, it's not like this drop in viewership can be squarely attributed to it neccesarily. Young Sheldon exists in an era where cord-cutting is increasingly on the rise, as part of the golden age of television we live in. More people may also be watching in delayed viewing far later than in prior seasons, potentially because there's something else they'd rather be watching live around that time. There are multiple factors that could be at play here.
With all that said, Young Sheldon isn't filling the massive shoes left behind by The Big Bang Theory in demographic ratings or overall viewership, though it may not need to. As mentioned, it's the lead in for The Unicorn, and CBS was pleased enough with that series' ratings and viewership that it recently handed a full season order to the Walton Goggins' true-life drama.
CBS would probably prefer if Young Sheldon is beating out Grey's Anatomy in the ratings, and even with the viewership drop it's not like this is out of the realm of possibility. As long as this is just a viewership adjustment and Young Sheldon doesn't start hemorrhaging viewership even further at the end of this season, it should survive on television without The Big Bang Theory to help it out.
Young Sheldon airs on CBS Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to stick with CinemaBlend as this fall season continues for all the latest news on how shows are performing, and for a look at what's coming down the pipeline in the world of television and movies.