The Big Bang Theory is going out on top. Despite recent remarks by CBS that it was in talks for more seasons of the highly-rated series, the network, producing studio Warner Bros. TV and executive producer Chuck Lorre just announced that the comedy will end its run in May 2019 with its upcoming 12th season. The Big Bang Theory still will rank as the longest-running multi-camera series in television history, spanning 12 seasons and a record-breaking 279 episodes.
“We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past twelve seasons. We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show’s success and aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close,” WBTV, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said in a joint statement.
The final season of The Big Bang Theory will debut Monday, September 24 on CBS before moving to its regular time period on Thursday, September 27.
The announcement about The Big Bang Theory coming to an end comes just two weeks after CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said at TCA that “we don’t believe it’s the final season; we are in preliminary discussions to renew he show with the studio that produces it, Warner Bros.”
Eleven seasons in, The Big Bang Theory remains one of the biggest shows on television. Season 11 averaged 18.9 million viewers, even with Season 10. It was the second most watched series of last season, edging Sunday Night Football and only behind the now-canceled Roseanne. Among adults 18-49, Big Bang slipped a bit (4.4 in Live+7 vs. 4.9 last season) but still ranked as the second highest-rated entertainment program behind only NBC’s This Is Us.
“The Big Bang Theory has been the defining comedy of its generation,” Kahl said today. “All of us at the Network take exceptional pride in this series that uniquely combines creative genius, commercial ratings success, cultural influence and characters who became so popular, they are easily known by just one name. We’re incredibly grateful for our partnership with Warner Bros., Chuck Lorre Productions and a brilliant cast and crew that has made such a ‘big bang’ and lasting legacy on the television landscape.”
According to sources, the decision to end the series was largely a creative one made by the producers. It had been perceived that Season 12 would be the show’s last when CBS in 2017 renewed Big Bang for seasons 11 and 12 after WBTV closed new two-year deals with the cast. To go beyond 12 seasons, Warner Bros. TV would’ve had to negotiate new contracts with the actors. The show’s original quintet are the highest-paid actors on TV with paychecks of around $1 million an episode.
The Big Bang Theory, which debuted in 2007 and airs in syndication around the world, has received 52 Emmy nominations and 10 wins to date (though has never won for Outstanding Comedy Series), and 7 Golden Globe nominations.
Since its off-network launch, Big Bang has been a syndication powerhouse and continues to deliver big ratings for TBS and the stations that carry it, with its success possibly marking an end of an era and may never be matched again.
The Big Bang Theory is executive produced by Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, Steven Molaro and Steve Holland. The series stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch. The Big Bang Theory is produced by Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. Television.
In 2015, the first-ever UCLA scholarship created by and named for a television series, The Big Bang Theory Scholarship supports undergraduate students in need of financial aid who are pursuing their higher education in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
And some fun facts: In addition to centering many of its episodes in the worlds of science and technology, The Big Bang Theory enjoys a healthy appreciation and support from the scientific community at large, including having a bee species (Euglossa bazinga), a jellyfish species (Bazinga Rieki) and a monkey at the Columbus Zoo (Dr. Sheldon Cooper) named in the show’s honor.
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