Over the last several months, we've heard a lot of whispers regarding The Big Bang Theory and whether or not the show will return for an 11th season after all of the actors' contracts are up. While there has been no official news on that front, CBS is certainly looking at ways to keep The Big Bang Theory in the fold. News today broke that the Eye Network is looking to add a Big Bang Theory prequel to the lineup next year, and that prequel would follow Sheldon's early years.
The comedy is being described as a family comedy that would be Malcolm In The Middle-ish, except with a genius as the main kid in the story. None of the other main characters from The Big Bang Theory universe would be involved in this prequel, as it would reportedly follow Sheldon in his teenage years or even younger. Per THR, the spinoff is coming from Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. The current showrunner on The Big Bang Theory, Steve Molaro, would also be involved. Along with the obvious differences, it looks as if a potential comedy spinoff would be a single camera endeavor rather than a multi-camera comedy.
The timeline makes me wonder if we would potentially get to meet Sheldon's father, as George Cooper, Sr. reportedly died in 1994, when Sheldon was in middle school. We also know that Sheldon was bullied a lot growing up and spent a lot of time attending church with his mother, who was an avid Evangelical Christian; he's now an atheist, so that latter part of his childhood should be interesting. Sheldon also has a couple of siblings and grandparents, who would presumably be around.
Sheldon Cooper is a beloved TV character, and there might be interest in a spinoff, but I do wonder how different The Big Bang Theory universe might be if we had to see Sheldon struggle to figure out who he wants to be while being forced to watch football with his father and attend church with his mother. Sheldon Cooper is great because he is uncompromising and is exactly who he is at all times. I'm not sure the childhood version would be quite the same thing.
CBS is a huge fan of spinoffs. Shortly after The Good Wife ended, the network announced a spinoff would be airing on CBS All Access. The network also has spinoffs to NCIS and Criminal Minds currently in rotation and has attempted other spinoff shows in the past. A prequel is a different sort of deal for the network, and a prequel for a comedy is even more outside-the-box (while still capitalizing on the popularity of The Big Bang Theory.) It's not the worst idea I've ever encountered.
Those involved with the comedy have noted in the past that they can't imagine what a Big Bang Theory spinoff might look like, but it looks right now as if they might have figured it out. Reports indicate the follow-up project is moving forward with a penalty attached, so it looks like CBS is serious about the prequel's potential. Obviously, that doesn't mean it will go to series, but it's intriguing news, nonetheless. For now you can catch new episodes of The Big Bang Theory on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET.