The Big Bang Theory Broke A Ratings Record Thanks To Sheldon And Amy Having Sex

For weeks, The Big Bang Theory promoted the hell out of the big night where Sheldon and Amy would finally explore each other’s bodies in a most sexual (and offscreen) manner. And it looks like that massive lead-up was all worth it, as it not only earned the episode huge ratings in general, but it also helped Big Bang break the record for the largest Live+7 audience ever. If only sex allowed us all to break personal records.

The episode “The Opening Night Excitation,” which aired back on December 17, was initially watched by 17.2 million, which already made it one of the series’ best episodes in years. But with a delayed audience of 7.18 million checking the episode out in the following week, it managed to break the Live+7 record previously set by the series premiere of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, which brought in 6.95 million after the episode’s initial airing. As well, the combined totals made it the most-watched scripted episode of the entire TV season so far.

How big was this delayed boost? Well, 7.18 million people is not only already a bigger crowd than many TV series earn on a weekly basis, but it was also larger than the combined Live+7 audience totals for 58 of that week’s 85 primetime broadcasts. That’s a stat worthy of a live studio audience “oohing” in awe. Even if we were only talking about the key 18-49 demographic rating from the Live+7 lift, which was a 2.9, then the episode would still reach the #10 spot on the main list. (Obviously Big Bang Theory’s Live+7 demo rating topped everything else that week, with Scorpion’s 1.0 demo rating taking the second spot.) Incredible, even if it was a week where not all broadcast shows were airing new episodes.

The Big Bang Theory was hardly the only CBS series to show up in the ten shows with the highest Live+7 lifts. In fact, a whopping 9 of the 10 programs were CBS series, including NCIS, Elementary and NCIS: Los Angeles. (The only exception was NBC’s concert special Adele: Live in New York.) On the list of Live+7 demo ratings, all 10 series were from CBS. So not only is it the most watched network, but it’s sitting pretty far above everything in second place.

We already knew that The Big Bang Theory has been a leader when it comes to DVR audiences, but this is the epitome of proof. (And it probably makes that lawsuit a little easier to think about.) Will you be tuning in to see what the aftermath of Amy and Sheldon’s bedroom shenanigans will be? The show will return to CBS (opens in new tab) on Thursday, January 7.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

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.