LOS ANGELES — In its last blast, ‘‘The Big Bang Theory’’ topped the TV ratings by a light-year.
The back-to-back, two-episode finale of the nerdy CBS comedy’s 12-season run drew 18.5 million live viewers Thursday night to easily win the week, the Nielsen company said Tuesday.
Sunday night’s much-ballyhooed finale of HBO’s ‘‘Game of Thrones’’ was a distant second with 13.61 million live viewers.
‘‘Game of Thrones,’’ however, had a comparable 18.4 million viewers when HBO’s same-night reruns and streaming services are included, making it the most-watched episode of any kind in the history of the cable channel.
‘‘Big Bang’’ was a colossal ratings winner that helped keep CBS the top network for much of its record run of 279 episodes, the most ever for a multi-camera series.
Thursday night’s hour-long finale saw the show’s group of geeky misfits take one last trip together to support married couple Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) after they won the Nobel Prize in physics.
Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, and Simon Helberg also starred on the long-running comedy.
A prequel spinoff, ‘‘Young Sheldon,’’ is pulling similar numbers in its second season and will extend the life of the franchise. It finished third in last week’s ratings in a timeslot just after the finale.