AMC’s red-hot “The Walking Dead” jumped in the ratings last week, but the gain to an immensely-impressive 5.4 adults 18-49 rating was not enough to win the week.

Thursday’s final ratings report reveals that CBS’ similarly-scorching “The Big Bang Theory” delivered a 5.5 rating this week, which will lock up its victory among entertainment programs.

Surely benefiting from its wide exposure in syndication and on cable, the sixth-season “Big Bang” is in the midst of its best ratings stretch to date, topping even viewership numbers from season three, when it aired out of the then-dominant “Two and a Half Men.” In addition to the strong demo performance, the show also attracted a whopping 17.3 million viewers Thursday night.

Granted, one can easily deem numbers for “The Walking Dead” more impressive. Unlike CBS’ “Big Bang,” “Dead” airs on cable. It also airs an immediate encore each Sunday, and when one takes that rating into account–a 1.6 this week–the show attracts far more young adult viewers than “Big Bang” on premiere night.

A far younger-skewing show, its total viewership performance is significantly lighter. This week’s premiere airing averaged 10.4 million.

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