Though The Big Bang Theory wrapped up with a tear-filled finale on May 16, 2019, old episodes of the popular sitcom continue to be beloved by millions of fans. Given the crazy success of the show — the comedy finished season 12 as the most-viewed entertainment show in all of network television — it's hard to imagine why the Emmy-winning series would suddenly end. The answer? Apparently, Jim Parsons, who stars as Dr. Sheldon Cooper, opted not to renew his contract.
Though The Hollywood Reporter claims that CBS and producers at Warner Bros were talking about a potential 13th season, Jim was ready to move on.
"It was the first time in my life of doing this show that it occurred to me that I might want to not do another contract after [season] 12 was up," Jim told the outlet in May 2019. "I don't know if it's because I'm an Aries or just because maybe I'm in touch with myself. Whatever it is, once I had that thought, I was like, 'Well, that's your answer.'"
While further explaining his point to Entertainment Weekly, Jim made it clear that it would be tough to say goodbye to his co-stars Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg.
Related: Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak’s adorable love story
"There is no negative reason to stop doing Big Bang. It felt like we have been able to do this for so many years now, it doesn’t feel like there is anything left on the table," he explained. "Not that we couldn’t keep doing it, but it feels like we’ve chewed all the meat off this bone."
When learning that Jim was out, co-creator Chuck Lorre knew that The Big Bang Theory simply couldn't continue on without Sheldon.
"I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of going on without the whole ensemble — and the whole ensemble is why we succeeded," Chuck said to THR. "In pulling it apart and re-approaching it as a fraction of what it was just never felt right to me. I've seen other shows try and fail to take a character out of their realm and carry on ..."
And with that, the long-running series, which logged a total of 279 episodes, came to an end after 12 years. On the bright side though, Jim is still very much involved as an executive producer and the narrator of The Big Bang Theory prequel spinoff Young Sheldon, which follows the childhood of the brilliant fictional scientist.
"What [the show creators] have done with it is really miraculous, in my opinion," Jim gushed on CBS This Morning about Young Sheldon. "It is its own show, its own memory play, origin show."
Young Sheldon is expected to return for its fourth season later this fall (pending the cast can shoot the series safely amid the coronavirus pandemic). As for The Big Bang Theory, reruns can be enjoyed on HBO Max, Netflix, CBS All Access, and Amazon apps and weeknights on TBS (check your listings!).
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