Many were surprised when CBS’s TBBT became one of the most popular sitcoms of the twenty-first century, attracting millions of viewers each week while showing the antics of four nerdy male scientists & their interactions with women, and colleagues, family, and one another.
12. Season 1: 8.4 Million viewers
Season 1 of a long-running TV show is usually one of the lowest in viewership, if not the lowest. The first season must establish the cast and their dynamics, the setting and locations, and the show’s format (in this case, a sitcom).
11. Season 2: 10 Million
This season begins where the previous one left off, with Leonard & Penny going on their first date, establishing the dynamic that will continue throughout the rest of the show, eventually leading to marriage.
10. Season 4:13.4 Million
Ideally, viewership numbers should increase each season, but The Big Bang Theory demonstrated that even perfection isn’t perfect, with one million fewer average viewers than the previous season. While the figure is nothing to scoff at, it undoubtedly came across as a letdown in comparison.
9. Season 3: 14.4 Million
There’s something to be said for shaking up the show’s relationship dynamics. This season marked their character development with Penny and Leonard’s rekindled romance and Penny’s budding but sometimes antagonistic relationship with Sheldon.
8. Season 5: 15.9 Million
Season 5 had a strong comeback after Season 4, which was undoubtedly aided by the new dynamic between Sheldon and Amy and the love triangle between Leonard, Priya, & Penny (with Raj having a slight role in that, as well).
7. Season 12: 17.44 Million
Season 12 became the show’s final due to Jim Parsons’ decision to leave his role as Sheldon regardless of what the network did. CBS made a similar decision, concluding the show at season 12 after completing that it would not survive without Parsons.
6. Season 11: 18.63 Million
Despite having the lowest average episode score on IMDb, Season 11 managed to pull in excellent ratings compared to other TV shows & ranks in the middle of the pack for the entire show.
5. Season 10: 18.99 Million
Season 10 may have benefited from the popularity of the previous four seasons. As they all received more viewers than this one. However, by almost tying Season 6, Big Bang Theory demonstrated that it could still maintain an audience after nine years on the air.
4. Season 6: 19 Million
By this point, The Big Bang Theory had hit its stride and become a pop-culture phenomenon, with old episodes in syndication helping to introduce new viewers to the show’s meme-worthy quotes. Few catchphrases have become as popular in the twenty-first century as “Bazinga.”
3. Season 8: 19.3 Million
While TBBT is known for its laughs, it also has its tender moments, and one of the standouts of Season 8 is how it handles Howard’s mother’s death in “The Comic Book Store Regeneration.”
2. Season 9: 20.37 Million
TBBT entered season 9, riding high on the success of the previous three seasons, with the prospect of airing its 200th episode, so it did not disappoint.
1. Season 7: 20.4 Million
TBBT Season 6 premiere, “The Bakersfield Expedition,” had more than 20 million viewers (TV by the Numbers). However, Season 7 was not only the first season to have at least 20 million viewers but also had the highest average number of viewers per episode.