This week's cover: Inside the phenomenon that's 'The Big Bang Theory'

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Nearly 14 billion years ago, a massive explosion in outer space resulted in the formation of the universe. Much more recently, another significant blowup occurred at 8 p.m. Thursdays on CBS.

The Big Bang Theory became a TV phenomenon.

Buoyed by strong viewership (16 million) and an omnipresent run in syndication (where it’s the most popular show on TBS and the No. 1 program among all reruns in adults 18-49 and 25-54),  the 2011-12 season marked TBBT’s most successful to date. Not only did it rank as the comedy’s most-watched year, the CBS series also saw its 18-49 audience jump an astonishing 23 percent from the previous season. With five nominations under its belt going into Emmy weekend — including its second consecutive one for best comedy — is another big bang in store for the four Cal Tech brainiacs and the waitress who loves them?

“I never thought I would be saying this about anything that’s lasted after five seasons, but I’m believing and hoping we go another five, only because it all still feels very new,” star Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter) told EW. “We just haven’t wasted fuel. It doesn’t feel like we are struggling to find the stories.”

In this week’s issue of EW, Lynette Rice goes behind the scenes of CBS comedy (which premieres Sept. 27 at 8 p.m.) to not only chat up the actors about the show’s success but to meet the writers who are responsible for turning Leonard into such a confident bachelor and Sheldon into such a delightfully self-absorbed scientist. (Hint: One of the scribes likes to dress up as the Doppler Effect at costume parties). You can also check out exclusive video interviews with the cast on EW’s Facebook page.

For more on The Big Bang Theory, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands this Friday.

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