‘The Big Bang Theory’ Without Kaley Cuoco — Guess Who First Played Penny… Er, Katie?

It seems amazing that Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting was once not a part of The Big Bang Theory. But when the show was pitched in 2006 to the powers that be, it was actress Amanda Walsh that played the guys’ female friend, who was then named Katie. A FOX News piece revealed the pilot with Walsh was not picked up, and it was later re-shot with Cuoco.

A profile in Vegas magazine, published when the show was in its fifth season, revealed Cuoco actually tested twice for The Big Bang Theory. It was not until the first pilot failed that she was chosen for the series.

Kaley had first met Big Bang producer Chuck Lorre when she was just 14-years-old, while doing a pilot for a series called Nathan’s Choice. Lorre was a writer on the show and at the time told Cuoco they would one day work together again.

In the Vegas profile, Lorre had high praise for Cuoco, who already had a successful sitcom career before joining Theory.

“Kaley is that rare epitome—crazy pretty while also being naturally funny and honest as an actress. Add to that her incredible experience working closely with greats like [8 Simple Rules parents] Katey Sagal and John Ritter, and the result is there for everyone to see. Personally, I think we’re seeing the beginning of a long and great career.”

As Entertainment Tonight describes her, Katie was “a hyper-sexual, a bit more raunchy version of Penny,” who did not fare well with the test audience. Thanks to YouTube, you can see Walsh as Katie in a scene from the unaired pilot. Notable details in the scene are the audacity of Katie — and Leonard’s palpable pain — when she unceremoniously erases the equations on his whiteboard. Apparently, Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science” was also once part of the soundtrack.

Although Cuoco is not in the clip, series anchors Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki both appear.

The Big Bang Theory is currently in its eighth season and airs Thursday nights on CBS.

[Amanda Walsh/Kaley Cuoco Images: Google]