The most monumental sitcom run in TV history came to end on Thursday night, as CBS aired the last-ever episode of The Big Bang Theory. The hour-long series finale brought tears to the eyes of fans, saying goodbye to its beloved characters after 280 episodes on the air. Unlike some other long-running scripted series, The Big Bang Theory hasn't limped into retirement. In fact, Thursday night's finale was the highest-rated episode of the show in the last three years.
A whopping 18 million people tuned in to watch The Big Bang Theory's final episode, delivering a 3.1 rating in the coveted 18-49 year old demographic. Those numbers mark 43% and 55% jumps week to week, but the success goes back much further than that. Big Bang hasn't had an audience that big since September 2015, and the highest demo score in more than a year.
The success didn't stop at the end of The Big Bang Theory. Follow-up spinoff Young Sheldon also saw a massive spike in the ratings. 13.7 million viewers saw the season finale live, with a 2.2 rating in the demo. It was certainly helped by the lead-in Big Bang Theory finale, but also by the promise to tie in to its mothership series.
Young Sheldon's finale brought the storyline of Big Bang Theory full circle. The final episode of Big Bang had a lot to do with Sheldon and Amy's push to win the Nobel Prize, which they eventually did. That saga was mirrored in Young Sheldon, as the child version of the character did everything he could to watch the announcement of the Nobel Prize winner live on TV. After being disappointed by who won the award, Sheldon told himself that he felt alone, and wondered if there was anyone else who would ever understand him. The show then faded to other rooms around the country, showing young versions of Leonard, Penny, Howard, Raj, Bernadette, and Amy. Sheldon's narration then explained that he wasn't at all alone in the world, he just didn't know it yet.
What did you think of The Big Bang Theory's finale? Let us know in the comments!