As if its enduring popularity needed further confirmation, a mere repeat of The Big Bang Theory has trounced reality TV monster American Idol in the US ratings war.
Fans apparently can't get enough of Chuck Lorre's CBS sitcom based around the lives of four bookish nerds living in a Los Angeles apartment block – so much so that even previously aired episodes are getting record viewing figures.
Indeed, while the widely watched American Idol's top five results show – which saw Janelle Arthur get the axe – drew an impressive 11.9 million viewers and a 2.9 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, a new episode of The Big Bang Theory was pulling in 11.2 million viewers and an unequivocal 3.0 rating.
Popular: Kunal Nayyar, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco and Simon Helberg (WENN)
To add insult to injury, a repeat that went on air just an hour later at 9:00pm bagged 10.8 million viewers and a 3.2 rating – meaning the half-hour, 8-8:30 time slot shared by the rival shows saw The Big Bang Bang Theory beat American Idol with 11.2 million viewers to their 11.
The sitcom has developed a loyal following since its launch in 2007, with regulars Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar becoming household names amongst fans.
Star of the show: Kaley Cuoco is just one of the stars of The Big Bang Theory to get a massive pay increase thanks to its enduring popularity (WENN)
According to reports, the stars of the show – primarily Galecki, Cuoco and Parsons – have received massive pay increases as a result of its enormous popularity, with the trio's salary rising from $60,000 to $200,000 per episode during the fourth season.
It's understood that per-episode pay will go up by $50,000 every season, resulting in a whopping pay-day of $350,000 an episode when season seven kicks off in 2014.