The Big Bang Theory by the numbers: 18 facts about the ratings monster critics hated

The show’s final episode airs tonight.

The Big Bang Theory by the numbers: 18 facts about the ratings monster critics hated
(Left to right) Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter, Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, and Kaley Cuoco as Penny in The Big Bang Theory. [Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.]

After years of entertaining fans and bewildering critics, the long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory draws to a close tonight.


The show centered around five men who “want to unravel the universe but can’t talk to a woman,” so creator Chuck Lorre conceived of a group of assorted geniuses, tried to convince the world that they were undateable losers, and used their scientific endeavors as background props for their feeble attempts to get with the hot girl next door. (Don’t @ me.)

Despite the fact that the show was not well-loved by television critics, it became a runaway hit for CBS as the No. 1 show on broadcast, season after season.

Here’s how the show breaks down by the numbers:

  • Number of seasons: 12
  • Number of episodes: 279
  • How many people watched the show’s most recent episode? 12.6 million live viewers.
  • How many people watched the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones the same week? 12.5 million.
  • How many people, on average, watched the last season: 18.6 million people per episode.
  • How many Emmy nominations the show and its cast have received: 52
  • How many Emmy Awards it has won: 10
  • Cost of a 30-second advertisement spot on the show’s final season: Over $285,000
  • How much has the show has generated for Warner Bros TV overall: $1 billion
  • How much money the show generated in ad dollars in 2016: $1.83 billion
  • Sheldon’s favorite number: 73
  • How many times Stephen Hawking appeared on the show: 7
  • How many times Bob Newhart appeared on the show: 6
  • How much star Jim Parsons was paid per season in 2017: $27.5 million. Co-star Johnny Galecki earned $26.5 million; Simon Helberg, $26 million; and Kunal Nayyar, $25 million.
  • How much the five original cast members were paid per episode: $1 million
  • How much the five original cast members pay decreased per episode to help their female co-stars, Mayim Biyalick and Melissa Rauch, get equal pay: $100,000
  • How much the two female co-stars made per episode after their colleagues took a pay cut: $500,000
  • How much will the cast of The Big Bang Theory make in syndication? TBD. The cast of Friends, which experienced similar success, makes 2% of the show’s annual revenue, which is around $1 billion, resulting in around $20 million per year per cast member in syndication. If The Big Bang Theory makes around the same amount in syndication, they could see similar numbers.

About the author

Melissa Locker is a writer and world renowned fish telepathist.