'The Big Bang Theory'
CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" commands more than $325,000 for a 30-second ad spot. CBS

Is “The Big Bang Theory” the next “Friends?” The CBS sitcom about a group of awkward but endearing geeks has always been a ratings hit, but the show’s record-breaking first episode of 2013 has it earning numbers close to one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The Big Bang Theory’s” first episode of 2013, “The Egg Salad Equivalency,” brought in a whopping 19.25 million viewers on Thursday night, breaking records for the show.

Even more impressive was the show’s record-breaking Nielsen rating of 6.1 in the 18-49-year-old demographic, meaning that not only is the show extremely popular, it’s extremely popular with the most popular audience for advertisers.

All those numbers combined mean that “The Big Bang Theory” might just be the most consistently popular sitcom since “Friends” went off the air in 2004. Toward the end of its run, “Friends” was consistently pulling in about 20 million viewers per episode, according to Yahoo.

While “The big Bang Theory” isn’t quite there yet, it still has a bit of time to catch up to the success of “Friends.” The show is currently in the middle of its sixth season, while “Friends” didn’t dominate the airwaves that completely until closer to its eighth season.

“The Big Bang Theory” follows the lives of four geeky guys, Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Rajesh, alongside their much more socially competent friend Penny. After premiering in 2007, the show quickly became a ratings smash hit.

Creator of “The Big Bang Theory,” Chuck Lorre, also created another of the most popular sitcoms on TV, “Two And A Half Men.” So we can assume that Lorre is swimming in a pool full of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck at this point.