CBS and Warner Bros. TV made the decision to end The Big Bang Theory in 2019 because star Jim Parsons was ready to walk away from the hit sitcom, EW has learned exclusively.
With a reported salary near $1 million per episode, Parsons — along with his four original costars Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg — stood to make more than $50 million including profits if he agreed to stay on TBBT for two more years, which is what CBS was trying to negotiate.
But Parsons was ready to say goodbye to the ensemble sitcom that made him a household name. Since there is no show without Dr. Sheldon Cooper, next spring’s 12th season finale of The Big Bang Theory will mark the end of the longest-running multi-camera series in TV history.
EW has reached out to Parsons’ representatives for comment.
Twelve years is a long time for any actor to stay on a show, even if it leads to four Emmy wins, one Golden Globe, a voice-over role in the spin-off Young Sheldon, and choice gigs in film and on Broadway. But Parsons deserves the right to walk away, especially at a time when his character has, frankly, done and said it all. In the 11th season finale, he and his longtime girlfriend Amy (Mayim Bialik) finally tied the knot.
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. Kathy Bates and Teller Return will return Amy’s Parents, and Neil deGrasse Tyson will guest star as himself.