Despite a giant money lure, star Jim Parsons’ eagerness to walk away from The Big Bang Theory was behind the decision to end the show after 12 seasons, it has been claimed.
Entertainment Weekly reported that CBS and Warner Bros TV made the call on the geek comedy’s future based on Parsons wanting to walk away.
CBS tried to negotiate with the four-time Emmy winner to change his mind, EW said.
With a reported salary near $1.37 million per episode, the actor — with his four original co-stars Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg — stood to make more than $68.5 million including profits if he agreed to stay on for two more years.
The money wasn’t enough of a lure for Parsons, who on August 12 finished a Broadway run in The Boys in the Band, to keep playing abrasive physicist Dr Sheldon Cooper, EW reported.
Parsons told The New York Times last year that doing voice-over narration for spinoff series Young Sheldon had been “a nice way for him to deal” with the inevitable end of The Big Bang Theory.
“Hopefully it won’t feel as much deathlike when that day comes.”
The day came on Thursday. News that The Big Bang Theory will end its record-breaking 12-year run in May 2019 was couched in sombre terms, with Cuoco tweeting she was “drowning in tears”.
Some viewers, not so much.
While Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, said in a statement the show had “been the defining comedy of its generation”, the announcement did not generate universal mourning.
For every fan who took to social media to bemoan Big Bang’s implosion – “I love this show too much for it to end”– there were 10 times as many who were rejoicing.
“The real question is: Who the hell has been watching the Big Bang Theory long enough for it to get to 12 seasons?” one user asked.
Said another, “America can finally begin to heal after all these years.”
A third said, “The bang in The Big Bang Theory is the sound of a self-inflicted gunshot when you watch the show.”
Sex is good but have you ever gotten the news that The Big Bang Theory is ending?
— Aaron J. Amendola (@ImAaronJ) August 22, 2018
Soon after Warner Bros TV and CBS made the announcement, Twitter was awash with GIFs and memes:
Me hearing that the big bang theory is ending next season pic.twitter.com/Z5TelbrehF
— Josh (@fuentez94) August 22, 2018
Fans were much kinder when Cuoco posted the news on her Instagram account, named for her dog Norman.
Being on the show “has been a dream come true and as life changing as it gets,” the star wrote.
She was flooded with crying face emojis from fans praising the show as “so relevant and loved”.
“I am heartbroken,” one of her fans wrote.
This ride 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. To the fans, our crew, families, Chuck Lorre, Warner Brothers , CBS, and everyone who has supported us for so many years, thank you. We are goin out with a bang 💫 @bigbangtheory_cbs
A post shared by @ normancook on
Warner Bros TV, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said the show would clock up 279 episodes when it ends its run next May.
That will see it become the longest-running multi-camera series in TV history, overtaking Cheers which had 275 episodes when it ended on NBC in 1993.
The TV networks and production company promised the final season and season finale will bring the show “to an epic creative close”.
First aired in 2007, The Big Bang Theory has racked up 10 Emmy wins from 52 nominations and airs in syndication around the globe.
Last season it averaged 18.9 million viewers each week in the US.
“We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past 12 seasons,” the statement said.
Kuoco said in March she “actually can’t” imagine her life without the show.
“And I don’t think there really will be my life without it. I think it’ll always be there. It’s always going to be a part of me,” she told People.
Her co-star Kunal Nayyar said the ending would be “very sad” because “I grew up on this show. I was a kid out of grad school.”
Producer Chuck Lorre said “all shows except The Simpsons” have to end.