‘The Big Bang Theory’ Ratings ‘Explode’ In Monday-Night Debut

The Big Bang Theory started the much-anticipated season 8 last night with two back-to-back episodes. If you tuned in, you were not alone: Entertainment Weekly said the show “exploded” in the ratings race. The debut brought in 17.9 million viewers and a 5.3 share in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

While the numbers were certainly strong, EW reports they were actually down from last year’s premiere. The publication points to the time slot change to account for the decline and the fact that it is still early in the kick-off of the fall programming season. Viewers are still learning what is on and when.

EW also invites jokes that the decline might be due to Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting’s new pixie cut. Reviewer Dalene Rovenstine said Sheldon spoke for the audience when he said: “Your hair is different. You changed your hair. I can’t take this. I’m out.” Cuoco-Sweeting revealed in an earlier interview, as reported by The Inquisitr, that her much-discussed haircut was the result of a summer movie role.

As for the schedule change, it is actually a return to The Big Bang Theory‘s old home. Vulture pointed out in May that Theory was broadcast on Monday nights with the exception of the past four years, when it had secured a spot on Thursdays. The paper notes Thursday nights have been strong for viewership since the days of The Cosby Show.

The Big Bang Theory faced direct competition from the new series Gotham on Fox which also drew in 8 million viewers and a 3.2 share in the 18-49 demographic. Gotham was predicted to have high numbers by industry insiders before the season even began.

As for the episodes themselves, reviewers for EW and Vulture agreed on one thing: change is limited. Rovenstine said:

“Overall, season 8’s first two episodes were like returning home: You’re always happy to arrive, but once you’re there, you realize nothing ever changes. Not that that is always a bad thing, but it would be nice to see some development stick from season to season. And while Sheldon’s character growth may have been very short-lived, at least he played a role in the action. Leonard and Raj are still on this show, right?”

Writing in Vulture, Kimberly Potts ends on a single point.

“As much as some things change, Sheldon stays the same.”

When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, show runner Steve Molaro said the concept of change is central to Sheldon’s character, at least in the premiere episode.

“He feels good about [his train adventure] and is ready to move forward and deal with all the changes that happened in the season seven finale, which were the reason that he got on the train.”

Mark your calendars – The Big Bang Theory airs new episodes Monday nights on CBS.

[Big Bang Theory Image: Google]