'The Big Bang Theory' draws highest ratings yet: Why its popularity is growing

Yahoo Contributor Network

The most popular comedy on TV is only getting more popular. "The Big Bang Theory" is already the highest-rated sitcom and TV, and now it can claim its highest viewership so far. The episode that aired on Nov. 15 pulled in 17.6 million viewers, a new record for the show. Considering that "The Big Bang Theory" is in its sixth season, that number is much more staggering. Typically, shows start to level off by this point in their run. Instead, "The Big Bang Theory" is only getting stronger. Why is this happening? In addition to the smart writing and brilliant humor, here are a few other reasons why "The Big Bang Theory" continues to grow in popularity.

The new characters helped

When "The Big Bang Theory" first began, there were five main characters. Every episode dealt with the beautiful Penny trying to relate to four nerdy guys. That premise worked well, but the producers were smart enough to realize that there were only so many storylines they could milk from that theme.

In the past couple of seasons, Amy and Bernadette have brought a whole new element to the show. Both characters started in small roles and that allowed fans to slowly get used to them. Now they fit perfectly into the show, and they've allowed Penny's character to expand beyond just her storylines with the guys. It's not easy to incorporate new characters while still keeping the heart of a show, but "The Big Bang Theory" has done it brilliantly.

The show doesn't use gimmicks

"The Big Bang Theory" has managed to draw ratings without using gimmicks, such as themed episodes or guest stars. Remember the infamous "Seinfeld" episode that went backward? There's been nothing like that with this show. The same is true of guest stars. The majority of guests on "The Big Bang Theory" have come from the science community, with a few coming from sci-fi or comic book movies. That's a far cry from the A-list stars that have appeared on shows like "Modern Family." While guest stars might draw in viewers once, only a consistently strong show can keep them. "The Big Bang Theory" has attracted and maintained its audience by keeping its own formula.

Syndication has helped

In case you didn't know, "The Big Bang Theory" is enjoying major success in syndication. It currently airs on a variety of affiliates, but the real boost comes from TBS. Viewers can watch the show four nights per week on the popular cable network. Not surprisingly, it dominates the syndicated ratings, as well. This is significant for two reasons. First, it provides plenty of chances for new fans to discover the show. Second, it allows people to catch up on seasons they might have missed. Those two factors encourage more people to tune in when the show's new episodes air on Thursday nights. That's a winning recipe for a show to remain ratings strong.
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