The upcoming season of “The Big Bang Theory” will be the last for the Warner Bros.-produced CBS comedy.
In a joint statement, Warner Bros. Television, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said, “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.”
The decision comes less than three weeks after CBS Entertainment head Kelly Kahl said the network and WBTV were discussing continuing the show beyond Season 12.
“We don’t believe it’s the final year,” Kahl said. “We are in preliminary discussions to renew the show with Warner Bros.”
In a statement Wednesday, Kahl said, “‘The Big Bang Theory’ has been the defining comedy of its generation. 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.”
Series star Johnny Galecki also said back in January that he and the cast would be comfortable ending the show with Season 12.
“The only way we’ve discussed wrapping the show is we’re all going to be very sad when that day comes,” he said. “I think at this point everyone is very comfortable with 12 seasons being a good time to go home and see our families.”
“Big Bang” was renewed for Seasons 11 and 12 last year, with the five original members of the series ensemble — Jim Parsons, Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg — all striking new deals. The previously mentioned stars are said to have taken pay cuts in order to free up funds for pay increases for newer stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik.
The show remains a major force not just on CBS but across all of television. Season 11 averaged a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers an episode in Live+Same Day and was frequently the top shows in Live+7 as well. It is exec produced by Lorre, Bill Prady, Steven Molaro and Steve Holland.
According to sources close the show, the decision not to pursue additional seasons came down largely to timing. Warner Bros. contracts with CBS and with the cast members all expired with the upcoming season, and the appetite for another grueling round of negotiations on all sides was dim. Previous negotiations with the series’ stars took months, with the original five cast members eventually agreeing to a slight pay cut to allow to facilitate raises for fellow actors Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik.
Jim Parsons, who has won four Emmys for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper on the show, had also signaled that he was ready to move on. His is departure would have meant a massive reconfiguration of the series, one that producers were reluctant to undertake.
Ultimately, the principal parties decided that it would be the right to end the show while it was still a strong ratings performer.