The Big Bang Theory will come to an end in May 2019 after its 12-season run, CBS announced on Wednesday. The show will wrap with a record-breaking 279 episodes, marking 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.”
Set in Pasadena, California, the series originally focused on two physicists (Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons) and their aspiring actress neighbour (Kaley Cuoco). The Big Bang Theory has attracted more than 18 million viewers every year since its sixth season aired in 2012. It reportedly averaged 18.6 million viewers per episode in its 11th season, more than any other show on US television.
The series has received 52 Emmy nominations, 10 wins and 7 Golden Globe nominations – including 4 Outstanding Lead Actor wins for Jim Parsons, who plays the socially inept character Sheldon Cooper.
In 2016, the principal cast earned about $1 million per episode (although they accepted a pay cut to ensure other cast members got raises). Reports suggest that these large salaries and the show’s many years on the air meant it was probably the most expensive show to produce on television – which may explain why it was not picked up for a 13th season.