The upcoming season of The Big Bang Theory will be the last for the Warner Brothers-produced CBS comedy.
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 twelve 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 decision comes less than three weeks after CBS Entertainment head Kelly Kahl said the network and WBTV were discussing continuing the show beyond Season 12.
“We don’t believe it’s the final year,” Kahl said. “We are in preliminary discussions to renew the show with Warner Bros.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Kahl said, “‘The Big Bang Theory’ has been the defining comedy of its generation.
“All of us at the network take exceptional pride in this series that uniquely combines creative genius, commercial ratings success, cultural influence and characters who became so popular, they are easily known by just one name.
— The Big Bang Theory (@bigbangtheory) August 22, 2018
“We’re incredibly grateful for our partnership with Warner Bros., Chuck Lorre Productions and a brilliant cast and crew that has made such a ‘big bang’ and lasting legacy on the television landscape.”
Series star Johnny Galecki also said back in January that he and the cast would be comfortable ending the show with Season 12.
“The only way we’ve discussed wrapping the show is we’re all going to be very sad when that day comes,” he said.
“I think at this point everyone is very comfortable with 12 seasons being a good time to go home and see our families.”
There are many ways to look at the dozen years of Big Bang Theory as we draw to a close, but for me it will be the family that gathered each week to create a true labor of love. I will treasure my Big Bang family to the end of my days.
— Bill Prady (@billprady) August 22, 2018
Big Bang was renewed for Seasons 11 and 12 last year, with the five original members of the series ensemble – Jim Parsons, Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg – all striking new deals.
The show remains a major force not just on CBS but across all of television, with season 11 averaging 14 million viewers in the US.
According to sources close to the show, the decision not to pursue additional seasons came down largely to timing.
Warner Bros. contracts with CBS and with the cast members all expired with the upcoming season, and the appetite for another gruelling round of negotiations on all sides was dim.
Jim Parsons, who has won four Emmys for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper on the show, had also signalled he was ready to move on.
His departure would have meant a massive reconfiguration of the series, one that producers were reluctant to undertake.
Ultimately, the principal parties decided it would be the right to end the show while it was still a strong ratings performer.