How Nerds Can Save Network TV

Big Bang Theory succeeds where less brainy sitcoms fail
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2008 11:44 AM CST

(Newser) – Why is a physics-quoting comedy one of network TV's only successful sitcoms? And with so many Americans turning to cable, the Internet, and reality programming, what does that mean for the future of prime time? The Wall Street Journal looks at The Big Bang Theory, an unlikely hit that actually includes accurate physics facts.

For Big Bang, 10 million viewers is a great ratings night, sparking co-star Johnny Galecki to reminisce about his days on Roseanne: "We were bummed if we were under 28 million." Says a TV comedy expert: "Sitcoms are like the American car industry—there's still great potential there, but the question is how do they succeed when people have gotten used to all the other options."