Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What gives it such a Big Bang?

This past Monday, CBS' sitcoms Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother scored record ratings.  For Big Bang, it was both the highest overall and adults 18-49 ratings ever.  For HIMYM, it was also the show's record best in the demo, and its second highest overall numbers ever.

And so one of the questions reporters asked CBS' President Nina Tassler at the TCA conference in Los Angeles this morning:  why do you think Big Bang Theory has taken off this season?  Is it a matter of scheduling, or has the show just gotten -- to borrow a phrase from HIMYM's Barney -- awesome?Tassler's theory:  it's all in the writing, yes, but particularly in the supporting characters.  "One of the things great showrunners do," she said, "is ensure that they fully dimensionalize the supporting characters.  And so there have been episodes with Koothrappali and Wolowitz this season that have been truly hysterical."  By opening up a show's story potential by enriching the lives of not just the leads but of all of its characters, a writer/showrunner like Chuck Lorre is constructing a template for a comedy whose comedy will hold up even "into its later seasons."

Sounds like CBS is high on Big Bang -- and they have every right to be.  The show, and another CBS newbie Gary Unmarried on Wednesday, are the sole new multicamera hits to be introduced on the Big 5 networks in years.  And this morning, when Tassler was asked about CBS' future plans and development, she repeatedly mentioned the network's pride in having successfully opened a new night of comedy on Wednesday, with Gary and a relocated The New Adventures of Old Christine.

More news from Tassler and CBS to come...

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