UPDATE: EW has learned exclusively that Warner Bros. TV and CBS decided to end The Big Bang Theory at the end of the upcoming 12th seasons because star Jim Parsons was ready to say goodbye to the hit sitcom.
EARLIER: Shock news: The Big Bang Theory will end in 2019.
Warner Bros. just announced the CBS mega-hit comedy will have its final episode next year.
The conclusion will mark the end of the longest-running multi-camera series in television history.
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 12 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 12th and final season of The Big Bang Theory will debut Monday, Sept. 24 on CBS before moving to its regular time period on Thursday, Sept. 27 and will presumably conclude next May.
Last season, Big Bang Theory averaged a whopping 18.6 million viewers (more than any other series, including NBC’s Sunday Night Football) and a 4.4 rating among adults 18-49 (second only to ABC’s now-defunct Roseanne).
While the conclusion may come as a surprise to fans, the show was considered to have a steep hill to climb for another season despite its popularity. Shows tend to get more expensive with each passing season and at this point, TBBT is presumably the most expensive comedy to produce on TV. In 2017, stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar signed new deals with each reportedly making around $1 million per episode.
The series, which debuted in 2007, has received 52 Emmy nominations and 10 wins to date (though has never won for Outstanding Comedy Series). It’s also survived by a prequel spin-off, Young Sheldon, which debuted last season to strong ratings.