Saying that a lot of people watch The Big Bang Theory every week is like saying the sun comes up every morning. It goes without saying, and it surprises no one. But even so, last Thursday night’s episode, in which Sheldon and Amy finally went around the bases, was watched by an almost surprisingly large number of fans by the time the weekend was done, as the Live+3 results revealed that over 23 million people watched TV’s most celebrated virgin reaching his metaphorical manhood.

Even when we’re just talking about the people that tuned into the episode on Thursday night – which was over 17.2 million – the totals were as massive as it gets for non-sports programming. And the successive boost wasn’t just notable for being a massive number. It serves as Big Bang Theory’s biggest L+3 audience in almost two years, and no other scripted program this season has earned a bigger L+3 audience. We knew the CBS sitcom was doing well when it came to DVR results, but it looks like it’s pretty much doing better than everything else. It’s possible those results were built up by audiences who had to miss the episode when it aired live.

The network is noting the delayed audience tally roped in nearly 6 million additional viewers, and the numbers for the key 18-49 demographic jumped up from a 4.1 rating to 6.4, which was the show’s biggest demo jump since the season premiere earlier this year. The presence of Thursday night NFL almost certainly takes away from Big Bang’s live audience, and the Shonda Rhimes line-up on ABC might also draw eyes away, but that doesn’t stop fans from catching up whenever they get some free time.

The episode, “The Opening Night Excitation,” was heavily promoted in the previous weeks as being the episode where Sheldon and Amy finally had sex after years of holding off, so that definitely helped. As well, it was basically the second episode where the couple were back together after months of taking a break, so viewers were just settling back into that as well. And the presence of a Star Wars-related subplot on the night that Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn’t hurt. Nor did a hilarious guest spot from Bob Newhart, who knows a thing or two about bringing in the ratings.

With impressive numbers like this still coming during Season 9 of The Big Bang Theory, it seems like everyone involved would be interested in keeping this show on the air as long as possible. But there has been much talk recently of the show coming to an end after the already set Season 10. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The Big Bang Theory will return for presumably more high-rated episodes on Thursday, January 7, 2016, only on CBS.

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