Ten years into its run on CBS, The Big Bang Theory has racked up high ratings, a constant presence in reruns and made stars out of its lead actors Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki. The show has also aged considerably, as the character arcs have largely been exhausted, and the show's future past its current season remains up in the air.
So, how does the network continue with its cash cow when it seems like the series is possibly coming to an end? It pledges to go back to the beginning, focusing on the show's central character, the quirky Sheldon Cooper, and the childhood -- or pre-Big Bang Theory life -- he must have had.The Hollywood Reporter revealed Monday that's what is in the cards, but with a welcome twist for Big Bang Theory fans: Jim Parsons, who plays the adult Sheldon, will executive produce the new show. Big Bang Theory show runners Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, and Steve Molaro will oversee the project. The website quoted "insiders" about the upcoming program but noted that both CBS and Warner Bros. Television declined to comment.
According to THR, the cast is indeed in negotiations for Season 11 of The Big Bang Theory, but all seven stars -- Parsons, Cuoco, Galecki, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg -- are seeking pay raises. Back in 2014 when the core group of three (Galecki, Parsons, Cuoco) agreed to another three years on the air, they inked deals that would pay them a reported $1 million per episode.
Variety reported last month that it costs about $9 million to produce one episode of The Big Bang Theory, mostly because of cast salaries. Syndication deals with TBS and local television stations have brought in an estimated $1 billion in revenue since 2011. However, those deals are also soon to be re-negotiated. As Variety noted, there are already plenty of episodes of The Big Bang Theory to air as reruns. Will 211 already in the can, the shows can air five nights a week and still not repeat for 11 months. Therefore, another lucrative syndication deal for Season 11 and beyond seems unlikely.Back in September, Kaley Cuoco told Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night program that an eleventh season was a "very expensive question," as Vulture reported. Over the summer, Kunal Nayyar told a UK television program that the show's future was uncertain, but the cast appreciated its success.
"All of us on the show realise how lucky we are on the show and we treasure it. We're not sure if there will be another show like this, we know it is special.Jim Parsons co-owns a production company with his partner Todd Spiewak, "That's Wonderful Productions." Variety reported last week that the outfit had a pilot order for a new comedy called Lakeside VA, about workers in an understaffed, high-stress VA hospital. The comedy is based on the real-life experiences of writer Shelly Gossman. The Hollywood Reporter said the Big Bang Theory spinoff would focus on a "young and potentially teenage version of Sheldon." The show was at CBS with a "sizable penalty," which likely means any other network that wants the show would have to pay big bucks to get the rights.
"I don't know to be honest, it could be the end, hopefully it's not… The decisions are not up to us. I hope it isn't."
Over 10 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, much has been revealed about Sheldon's childhood, including that his father died when he was 14. In a recent episode of the show, Sheldon revealed to Penny that he once encountered his father in a romantic circumstance with a woman not his mother, an incident father and son never discussed.
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursday nights on CBS.
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