LOS ANGELES -- In the ratings battle between titans "The Big Bang Theory" and "Game of Thrones," laughs won out.
CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" was last week's top-rated program, with 12.5 million viewers tuning in to the sitcom in its home stretch. The final episode of its 12-season run will air Thursday, May 16.
HBO's "Game of Thrones," also nearing the end after eight seasons, placed second, according to Nielsen figures released Tuesday.
The fantasy drama drew 11.8 million viewers to the episode that debuted last Sunday, edged out by the sitcom it had bested the week before.
"Game of Thrones," which ends May 19, reached a total 17.2 million viewers with figures for streaming, on-demand and a Sunday rerun included. That's a slight dip from the big battle episode that aired April 28 and drew 17.8 million across HBO's platforms.
A 2 percent uptick in viewership for NBC's "Billboard Music Awards" was small but meaningful: most major music awards shows have seen double-digit, year-to-year losses, with the Grammys and its 1 percent increase reflecting a rare exception.
With eight of the 10 most-watched shows, CBS cruised to an overall weekly ratings victory with an average 5.96 million viewers. ABC had 4.64 million, NBC had 4.55 million viewers, Fox had 2.64 million, Telemundo had 1.36 million, Univision had 1.31 million, ION Television had 1.24 million and the CW had 740,000.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.4 million viewers in prime time. TNT had 2.36 million, MSNBC had 1.7 million, ESPN had 1.58 million and HGTV had 1.2 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.4 million viewers, with NBC's "Nightly News" second with 7.6 million. "CBS Evening News," which will be replacing anchor Jeff Glor with Norah O'Donnell this summer, averaged 5.7 million viewers.
For the week of April 29-May 5, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships:
1. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 12.5 million.
2. "Game of Thrones," HBO, 11.8 million.
3. "NCIS," CBS, 11.7 million.
4. "Young Sheldon," CBS, 10.7 million.
5. "FBI," CBS, 8.9 million.
6. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 8.1 million.
7. "Billboard Music Awards," NBC, 8 million.
8. "Mom," CBS, 7.89 million.
9. "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.6 million.
10. "American Idol" (Sunday), ABC, 7.5 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.