In the television industry, networks such CBS or ABC tend to care about two things when it comes to popular TV sitcoms. The first thing they're looking for is the number of viewers (in millions) the show is attracting each week. This is important because networks use these numbers to set the prices for advertisers. Since the ten minutes of advertisements per every half an hour of TV is where the real money is made, networks want to get as many pairs of eyes as possible to watch their shows along with commercials. The second aspect is what percent of everybody watching TV during that time were tuned in to any particular show.
In the recent weeks CBS's Big Bang Theory has been the highest rated out of all the popular TV sitcoms. Across all age and gender demographics, Big Bang Theory has been drawing in approximately 12.4 million viewers each week. The most watched show used to be CBS's Two and a Half Men. Since it has been airing reruns lately, and with the departure of Charlie Sheen, it is doubtful the show will still be able to reclaim the coveted title of most watched sitcom. Speaking of CBS, freshman show Mike & Molly has been pulling in a good amount of viewers each week considering that it is still in its first year. On average, Mike & Molly bring in 11.1 millions viewers a week. What might be helping it is the fact that it has been paired up with Two and a Half Man on Monday nights.
Below those three shows rests ABC's Modern Family, currently on its second season and bringing in 10.1 million viewers a week. A lot of critical acclaim has been given to Modern Family, leading it to win a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, an award that for the past three years had gone to NBC's 30 Rock. Speaking of NBC, their recent experiment of three hours of comedy on Thursday nights doesn't seem to be paying off. Their six sitcoms include veteran shows The Office and 30 Rock paired with the two sophomore shows Parks & Recreation and Community along with freshman shows Perfect Couples and Outsourced.
None of these shows come even close to reaching the number of viewers CBS has been drawing in. The Office has been watched by 6.2 million viewers, nearly half of what Big Bang Theory pulls in. NBC is probably a little nervous with Steve Carell leaving in a few weeks. That show in the anchor for NBC's Thursday night line-up. 30 Rock, winner of three Primetime Emmy Awards, is only watched on average by 4.5 million viewers.
To sum up, the five most popular TV sitcoms at the moment are: Big Bang Theory (12.4 million), Two and a Half Men (11.5). Mike & Molly (11.2), Modern Family (10.1), and The Office (6.2). This selection made up solely of half-hour sitcoms and is not taking consideration for hybrid, hour long dramas such as Desperate Housewives and Glee. Shows like that are an entirely different category.