It feels like The Big Bang Theory has been topping the TV ratings since the beginning
of time but it won't be around for much longer.
The sitcom juggernaut about a group of nerdy geniuses and their friend Penny debuted on
CBS in 2007, and has only grown in popularity over the decade.
It's still massively successful as it heads into its twelfth season, which will make it
the longest-running multi-camera comedy in American TV history.
But the next season will also be its last.
How could CBS let this happen?
Here's a look at the real reasons The Big Bang Theory is ending.
"Bazinga" means "I'm outta here"
Jim Parsons was a character actor best known for commercials and a minor role in Garden
State before he landed the role of annoying mega-genius Sheldon Cooper.
The show has made him not only famous, but also award-winning, and extremely rich in
2017, Forbes reported that he earned $27.5 million a year.
It's also made him an in-demand actor, and since he doesn't have to worry about money,
Parsons can take on whatever projects he wants.
In recent years he starred in HBO's adaptation of The Normal Heart, and has also appeared
in a Broadway revival of the classic play The Boys in the Band.
After 12 years in one role, Parsons is ready to try new things.
How bad does he want to spread his wings?
He may have turned down $50 million to stay with The Big Bang Theory for another two seasons
so make no mistake, he really wants out.
Here's how series co-creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre announced the show was
According to Deadline, Lorre summoned the cast to his office after a table read in late
August, where he let Parsons have the room.
Parsons tearfully told his castmates that the season they were shooting would be his
Lorre then announced that the 12th season would also be everybody's last, as he'd opted
to end the show rather than continue on without Sheldon.
The decision had been made just days prior, with many executives trying to convince Parsons
to change his mind.
When Parsons wouldn't budge, Lorre decided to put the show to bed, rather than attempt
the difficult task of reformulating it without one of its leads.
He's had to do that before, you know?
Galecki going, too?
Parsons isn't the only one ready to walk away from the series.
The show's other male lead, Johnny Galecki, hinted in January 2018 that he was also ready
for new things, sparking some early speculation that the 12th season of Big Bang could be
Speaking to reporters, he said,
"... we're all going to be very sad when that day comes.
But I think at this point everyone's very comfortable with 12 seasons being a good time
to go home and see our families."
Cost of doing business
TV series get expensive as they get older, with actors in mega-successful shows able
to extract much more money from their corporate overlords once a show's taken off.
The network needs to keep casts together, and will offer actors big money to make it
The cast of Friends famously got $1 million each per episode toward the end of that show's
run, just a bit more than the weekly $900,000 that Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley
Cuoco will earn in their show's final season.
In 2017, the cast signed contracts for two more seasons, extending their commitments
to the spring of 2019.
With the show's end now being confirmed, no one will have to trouble with contract negotiations,
which likely would have sent the cast members' salaries even more sky-high.
Time to go
After the news hit, Kaley Cuoco took to Instagram to share her thoughts.
Cuoco wrote that the series "has been a dream come true and as life changing as it gets.
No matter when it was going to end, my heart would have always been broken in two.
Drowning in tears, we promise to bring you the best season yet."
Kunal Nayyar shared his love for the show's fans on Instagram, writing, "There are no
words in any language that can describe what my heart wants to say.
The love that I feel for all of you is boundless."
Mayim Bialik expressed similar sentiments on her personal blog, writing while the news
was still fresh.
She couldn't help but express disappointment that her long-time job was ending, writing,
"Am I happy?
Of course not."
But while the news is hard to deal with, she's still ready to face it and move on.
The Big Bangin' future
The end of The Big Bang Theory doesn't necessarily mean that the character of Sheldon Cooper
will disappear from television.
In fall 2018, CBS will debut its second season of Young Sheldon, a prequel show which depicts
the often difficult childhood of a boy genius in a Texas town that doesn't know what to
make of him.
Parsons is actually a part of that show's cast as the series' narrator which he will
reportedly continue to do for at least the immediate future.
Fortunately for CBS, Young Sheldon proved successful in its freshman season, but it
will still have a lot to shoulder as its parent series heads off into that long goodnight.
But even with that show continuing, it's a tough time ahead for the CBS lineup as they
work to replicate the fortunes of an historically successful show.
It all started with a big bang let's hope the show goes out with one too.