LOS ANGELES: In its last blast, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ topped the TV ratings by a light-year.
The back-to-back, two-episode finale of the nerdy CBS comedy’s 12-season run drew 18.5 million live viewers Thursday night to easily win the week, the Nielsen company said Tuesday.
Sunday night’s much-ballyhooed finale of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ was a distant second with 13.61 million live viewers.
‘Game of Thrones,’ however, had a comparable 18.4 million viewers when HBO’s same-night reruns and streaming services are included, making it the most-watched episode of any kind in the history of the cable channel.
Despite mixed fan reaction to the eighth and final ‘Thrones’ season, it was a ratings winner throughout, competing with and usually beating shows that appear in three times more homes. The viewer numbers also grew as the season progressed, with the season premiere setting a record that was topped by three subsequent episodes.
‘Big Bang’ was a colossal ratings winner that helped keep CBS the top network for much of its record run of 279 episodes, the most ever for a multi-camera series.
Thursday night’s hourlong finale saw the show’s group of geeky misfits take one last trip together to support married couple Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) after they won the Nobel Prize in physics.
A prequel spin-off, ‘Young Sheldon,’ is pulling similar numbers in its second season and will extend the life of the franchise. It finished third in last week’s ratings in a time slot just after the finale.
‘Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell,’ a special that aired later the same night, was fourth.