The Big Bang Theory The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory was Monday's top-rated show, posting the biggest number of overall viewers in the series' history.

Big Bang was watched by 14.7 million viewers, and dominated the competition in the adults-18-to-49 demographic. The show got a boost from a strong lead-in from Two and Half Men (15.2 million viewers), the night's most-watched show.

CBS' comedies benefited from holiday programming on other networks, as How I Met Your Mother (9.1 million viewers) and Accidentally on Purpose (8.3 million viewers) defeated ABC's Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (8.4 million viewers) and Fox's Carrie Underwood Christmas special (8.1 million viewers over two hours).

ABC's holiday programming and weak lead-in, Find My Family (5.4 million viewers), hurt Castle (8.4 million viewers), which came in well ahead of The Jay Leno Show (5.9 million viewers) but well behind CSI: Miami (12.9 million viewers). On the CW, One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl attracted 2.6 million viewers and 2.2 million viewers, respectively.

On cable, Men of a Certain Age debuted to 5.4 million viewers, the best series premiere on basic cable of the year. The Closer kicked off its winter season with 6.2 million viewers.  Also, Sunday's Dexter was watched by 2.1 million viewers, the show's largest audience ever and the highest single telecast for Showtime since 1999.