‘ The Big Bang Theory almost had two more seasons, but would it have been better for the show overall? The answer is complicated. Premiering in 2007, the premier sitcom ran for 12 seasons until it wrapped up in 2019. But considering how popular it still was during its final year, it could’ve continued for a couple more years as the network was willing to renew it despite the cast’s massive pay packets, with each core actor supposedly earning $1 million per episode.
Just several weeks before the shocking news that The Big Bang Theory season 12 would be its last, CBS came out and publicly revealed that they were considering ordering another year of the show. But despite the lucrative salary, not to mention the series’ continued success, the decision to end it boiled down to Jim Parson’s choice to exit The Big Bang Theory after playing Sheldon Cooper for more than a decade. The actor subsequently explained that he felt that they’d explored everything in terms of his character and there was nothing else left to do but to move on. Although the rest of his co-stars were all on board to continue the sitcom, they opted to wrap things up altogether instead of continuing with an incomplete cast.
Before Parsons’ decision spelled the cancellation of The Big Bang Theory, CBS was supposedly looking to greenlight at least two more seasons of the show, locking its run until the 2021 TV season. Fans of the show would’ve loved this, but would it have been beneficial to the show in general? The answer is more complicated than one might think. Despite its storytelling issues, not to mention an uneven final season, The Big Bang Theory delivered an emotionally satisfying finale. In it, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) won the Nobel Prize in Physics, meanwhile, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) were revealed to be pregnant with their first kid. Continuing the sitcom past its 12th year would’ve meant undoing its emotional send-off.
There’s also the possibility that Parsons moved forward with his decision to leave The Big Bang Theory. Given his relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik), this would’ve also meant that she, too, would have to exit the show. The idea of an incomplete cast doesn’t sound appealing, but it has its pros since it could’ve resulted in more balanced storytelling. One of the biggest problems of the show in its later years was that it focused too much on Sheldon and his personal arc. So much so that the rest of the cast was relegated to be supporting characters even though it’s supposed to be an ensemble sitcom. If Sheldon moved away with Amy, The Big Bang Theory could’ve finally reshifted its focus to other characters of the show. It’s no secret that after they got married, Leonard and Penny’s collective story was stagnated for a while until they had the pregnancy conflict in the final season. Worse, Raj barely had significant development in his overall narrative.
No one can accurately predict if The Big Bang Theory would’ve survived Parsons’ exit had the sitcom continued. But it has happened before in other shows. Most famously, Shelley Long, who played Diane, in Cheers abruptly left the show in season 5. Yet, the NBC sitcom continued to thrive for six more seasons. Who knows, perhaps, the nerd-centric CBS show could’ve followed suit.