How ‘Young Sheldon’ Successfully Rode the Turmoil in TV

On Thursday, “Young Sheldon,” the successful CBS spinoff of “The Big Bang Theory,” will air its final episode, concluding a seven-year run.

“Young Sheldon” never quite captured the same spot in the zeitgeist as its predecessor. But the series does have an unusual distinction: The overall run of the show mirrors the story of the television business over the last seven years. Here’s how.

A ‘Peak TV’ Beginning

On the one hand, “Young Sheldon” had the ingredients for a surefire hit. “The Big Bang Theory” was a big success, and could help bring a strong lead-in audience. The new show had the CBS hitmaker Chuck Lorre behind it. It was, in the words of one top CBS executive, “the quickest pitch and the quickest ‘yes’ in the history of television.”

“Young Sheldon” was born during the height of so-called Peak TV, when a record number of shows were being produced and media companies were spending huge amounts of money to make them.

The producer Chuck Lorre, co-creator of “The Big Bang Theory,” at Warner Bros. studios in 2009.Credit…Kevin Scanlon for The New York Times

On the other hand, there were numerous challenges.

In 2017, the year the show first aired, broadcast television was losing viewers to streaming video and social media, and runaway network hits were becoming vanishingly rare.

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