About The Big Bang Theory

Group PictureThe Big Bang Theory was an American sitcom from Chuck Lorre Productions and Warner Bros. Television that ran for twelve seasons on CBS.

The Big Bang Theory premiered on September 24, 2007, and the hour-long series finale aired Thursday, May 16, 2019.

The Big Bang Theory starred Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch. The Big Bang Theory was created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady.

The Big Bang Theory was centered on physicists Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter, whose geeky and introverted lives were changed when Penny, an attractive waitress and aspiring actress, moved into the apartment across from theirs. Penny quickly became a part of Sheldon and Leonard's social group, which included the equally geeky engineer Howard Wolowitz and astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali. The group later expanded to include Howard's wife Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz and Sheldon's wife Amy Farrah Fowler.

Development History

The Big Bang Theory was originally developed for the 2006/07 season, though the series did not get picked up. The pilot was markedly different from the version which would eventually go to series. Only Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki were part of the original pilot, which featured a much tougher character in the role that would morph into Penny.

Broadcast History

When the show was redeveloped for the 2007/08 season, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar were cast in the new roles of Penny, Howard and Raj, respectively. The retooled show was picked up by CBS in May 2007 with a thirteen-episode order for the 2007/08 season. The network gave the show the 8:30 time slot on CBS's popular Monday night comedy block, sandwiched between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.

The Big Bang Theory premiered on September 24, 2007 and ran eight episodes before the 2007/8 Writers' Strike halted production. Following its modest ratings success in the Fall, CBS renewed the show for a second season in February 2008. The Big Bang Theory moved to Mondays at 8:00 in March 2008 when new episodes resumed following the strike. The show finished the 2007/08 season ranked #68 in the ratings. The Big Bang Theory returned for its second season on September 22, 2008 and saw its ratings continue to rise. The show got a two season pick-up in March 2009, taking it through to its fourth season in 2010/11. The Big Bang Theory finished its second season at #44 in the ratings.

CBS moved The Big Bang Theory to Mondays at 9:30, following the then-#1 sitcom Two and a Half Men, for its third season. The show would finish the season as the #12 ranked show on TV. For its fourth season, CBS moved The Big Bang Theory to Thursdays at 8:00 where it would lead a new comedy block. The Big Bang Theory was renewed for a further three seasons in January 2011, taking it through to its seventh season in 2013/14. The show finished its fourth season as the 13th most-watched show on TV.

The Big Bang Theory's popularity continued to rise in its fifth season, during which it reached 100 episodes and started airing in syndication. The Big Bang Theory became the US's top-rated sitcom in the 2011/12 season and was the 8th most-watched program on TV. The sixth season saw ratings rise further, hitting twenty million viewers for the first time. The Big Bang Theory averaged 18.68 million viewers during its sixth season and was the 3rd highest-rated program on TV.

The Big Bang Theory was renewed for another three seasons in March 2014, taking the show through to its tenth season in 2016/17. During The Big Bang Theory's seventh season, the show ranked as the top-rated scripted program on U.S. television, overtaking CBS drama NCIS. Before production on the eighth season of the show began, the five original cast members all signed new contracts to return to the show for the next three years. Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch had already signed new contracts in September 2013.

After CBS won the rights to air Thursday Night Football matches between September and November 2014, the network made the decision to move The Big Bang Theory to Monday nights for the start of its eighth season. Six episodes of the eighth season aired on Monday between September 22 and October 20. The show moved back to its regular Thursday night time period on October 30. Although The Big Bang Theory's ratings fell year-to-year during its eighth season, the show remained the #1 sitcom on U.S. TV.

The Big Bang Theory began its ninth season on Monday, September 21, 2015, starting the season on Monday nights to make room for Thursday Night Football. The Big Bang Theory moved back to its regular Thursday night slot on November 5, 2015. The Big Bang Theory's ninth season consisted of twenty-four episodes with the season finale broadcast on Thursday, May 12, 2016. During the 2015/16 season, The Big Bang Theory was the highest-rated and most-watched sitcom on television. The Big Bang Theory had an average of over 15 million viewers per episode and an average rating of 3.7 in the key 18-49 demo for its ninth season.

The Big Bang Theory returned for its tenth season on CBS in the fall of 2016, starting the season on Monday nights at 8/7c because of Thursday Night Football. The tenth season premiere aired Monday, September 19, 2016 and the show moved back to its regular Thursday night time period from October 27, 2016. The tenth season finale aired Thursday, May 11, 2017.

In March 2017, CBS renewed The Big Bang Theory for an eleventh season in 2017/18 and a twelfth season in 2018/19. The five original cast members all signed new contracts at that time, while Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch reached new deals in April 2017. The Big Bang Theory's eleventh season premiered Monday, September 25, 2017 and moved back to Thursday nights on November 2. The eleventh season finale aired Thursday, May 10, 2018.

On August 22, 2018, CBS and Warner Bros. announced that The Big Bang Theory will end after a twelve-season run. The Big Bang Theory's twelfth season premiered with a special broadcast on Monday, September 24, 2018. The show moved back to its regular Thursday 8/7c time period on September 27. The final episode of The Big Bang Theory was taped on April 30, 2019. The hour-long series finale aired Thursday, May 16, 2019.

In September 2019, TimeWarner announced that the upcoming HBO Max service would be exclusive streaming home of The Big Bang Theory in the United States. The Big Bang Theory had not appeared on a streaming service in the U.S. during its run. At the same time, cable network TBS renewed their rights to The Big Bang Theory in syndication through to 2028.

Young Sheldon

A The Big Bang Theory spin-off, Young Sheldon, following the early life of Sheldon Cooper growing up in Galveston, Texas was ordered in March 2017 for the 2017/18 season. In August 2017, Steve Holland was promoted to showrunner of The Big Bang Theory as Steven Molaro, who had held that position since Season 6, took that job on Young Sheldon.

The special series debut of Young Sheldon aired Monday, September 25, 2017 following The Big Bang Theory's eleventh season premiere. Young Sheldon returned on Thursday, November 2 when The Big Bang Theory moved back to Thursday nights. CBS ordered an additional nine episodes of Young Sheldon in September 2017, taking the first season up to twenty-two episodes. The first season finale aired Thursday, May 10, 2018.

In January 2018, CBS renewed Young Sheldon for a second season to air in 2018/19. The second season of Young Sheldon premiered Monday, September 24 and moved back to its regular Thursday night slot on September 27. The second season finale will air Thursday, May 16 at 9/8c after the series finale of The Big Bang Theory.

In February 2019, CBS gave Young Sheldon a two season renewal, taking the show through to its fourth season in 2020/19.

The show stars Iain Armitage (Big Little Lies) as nine-year-old Sheldon and Zoe Perry - the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who plays Sheldon's mother on The Big Bang Theory - as Mary Cooper. The cast also includes Lance Barber (George, Sr.), Montana Jordan (George, Jr.), Raegan Revord (Missy). Annie Potts (Designing Women, Ghostbusters) will play Meemaw. The show is a single-camera comedy produced by Chuck Lorre, Steven Molaro, Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak.

Learn more about The Big Bang Theory

This page has been updated to episode 1124. The Bow Tie Asymmetry