Not only is the Big Bang Theory a huge hit first-run on CBS, syndicated repeats are also delivering a huge audience as well.
According to Vulture, the series is the top-rated show in syndication for viewers under 50 and it’s delivering huge numbers of the coveted 18-49 demographic for TBS. The ratings are so good that it’s helped TBS unseat USA as the top cable outlet for the first quarter of the year. In the past, USA has been the top dog in the first quarter of the year.
Here’s a few trends about the series to consider:
– So far this year, BBT stands as the No. 1 comedy — first-run or repeat — on all of cable in both total viewers (average audience: 3 million) as well as in the demographically desirable group of adults 18 to 49.
– In overall audience, BBT repeats now beat out first-run episodes of cable comedy champs such as South Park (2.6 million for last week’s season premiere) and Archer (1.7 million). On some nights, repeat episodes of BBT have drawn bigger demo ratings than first-run shows on the broadcast nets.
– By smothering its schedule with Sheldon & Co. (three full hours on Tuesdays; two hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays), TBS has seen its prime-time ratings among viewers under 50 jump an insane 37 percent, rising from an average of 881,000 viewers in the first quarter of 2011 to 1.2 million this winter.
“It’s our tentpole now,” says Michael Wright, who oversees all programming as head of both TBS and sister network TNT. “It’s lifting the entire network, with increased [audience] circulation all around … a halo effect.”
TBS will next try to use to help it establish a toehold in original comedy programming, as Law & Order did for TNT. “Up until Big Bang, we didn’t have an ideal lead-in for [first-run] comedy,” Wright says. “Family Guy is awesome, but it has a very specific audience. And The Office, while it’s a great show, wasn’t a big-tent hit on cable.” He’ll test out his lead-in theory starting May 24, when the new Danny Masterson half-hour Men at Work debuts at 10 p.m., sandwiched between BBT reruns.