Inside USD

“Big Bang Theory” Has Big Surge in Ratings

Monday, October 5, 2009

parsonsYou know you’ve hit the big time when you open the New York Times, turn to the arts section and find a story about the surge in ratings for your red-hot TV show. This morning’s piece, “The Big Surprise of ‘Big Bang’: The Bigger Audience” is a wholly positive story about TV’s “The Big Bang Theory,” which features Jim Parsons ’01 (MFA) as uber-geek/theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper.

The newspaper story relates that so far this fall, the show has “become the highest-rated live-action comedy among the sought-after young-adult demographic group.” In fact, it’s hot on the heels of its lead-in, the wildly successful “Two and a Half Men,” which until now has been CBS’ highest rated comedy.

In conversation in advance of a cover story in USD Magazine a few months ago, Parsons admitted that when he first read the script, he had no idea that the show would be a hit. “Not a clue! I don’t feel like I’m a very accurate judge of what, necessarily, is a good script or bad script. There are things that I’ve enjoyed that aren’t very good; there are things that I have not understood that have been just riveting once they were produced.”

Clearly, something struck a chord, not just with Parsons but with his audience. According to the New York Times, last Monday’s episode drew nearly 13 million viewers, just 5 percent fewer than “Two and a Half Men.” Of course, the publicity around Parsons’ recent Emmy nomination for best actor in a comedy doesn’t hurt.

“It’s fun,” Parsons said, when asked about making the show during that earlier interview. “We’re very fortunate with our writers; they do an excellent job of constructing an episode, and our editors have a really good rhythm. What’s probably most fun is that it just zings along and then it’s wrapped up and then it’s over. It’s gratifying, but a little weird to see all those hours of work condensed into 22 minutes.”

— Julene Snyder

“The Big Bang Theory” airs on CBS Mondays at 9:30 p.m. Read the New York Times story about the show here.

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