Why The Big Bang Theory Had To End When Jim Parsons Left The Show

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory

During its 12-season run, The Big Bang Theory become one of the most successful sitcoms in TV history, having brought in huge ratings (and profits) for Warner Bros. and CBS. It’s for this reason that many were shocked when the show was canceled. Most people likely know by now that the decision to pull the plug on the show was mostly due to star Jim Parson’s desire to leave. However, we now have a few more details on the circumstances regarding his departure and the show’s end.

Big Bang Theory production designer John Shaffner recently opened up about the events that led to the series’ cancellation. It had previously been reported that the network wanted to keep the show on the air, and Shaffner reiterated this by confirming that two seasons were being planned:

Warner Bros and CBS wanted to sign for about two more years.

While speaking with Metro, John Shaffner explained that the cancellation news came midway through the 12th season, specifically after the cast and crew returned from their hiatus week. After a quick table read, news of the show’s demise leaked.

Shaffner revealed that the cast actually didn’t know things were about to end, except for Jim Parsons. Apparently, he had spoken with creator and producer Chuck Lorre over the break about his decision to move on:

What had occurred was Jim Parsons had been in touch with Chuck Lorre over the hiatus week and had said he couldn’t come back and do anymore. And Chuck had always said if one member of the cast left the show then the show would have to end.

John Shaffner went on to reveal that some of the cast took the news quite hard. He recalled finding stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco hugging and crying on one of the sets after they learned what was going to happen.

After 12 years together, you can imagine that it was difficult for the cast and crew to say goodbye to the show and each other. The group appears to have become a family, which couldn’t have made Jim Parsons’ choice easy, either.

Luckily, the cast has remained busy since bidding farewell to their beloved characters over a year ago. Kaley Cuoco is now headlining DC Universe’s Harley Quinn series, which is has been well received by comic book fans. Kunal Nayyar is starring in an Apple TV+ project with Uma Thurman, and Mayim Bialik is developing a new comedy with former co-star Jim Parsons. Aside from that, Parsons most recently starred in Netflix’s Hollywood miniseries and still serves as the executive producer and narrator of Big Bang spinoff Young Sheldon.

Some may still be pining for more adventures with Leonard, Penny, Sheldon and the gang from Pasadena, but they can rest easy knowing the cast is still hard at work on new content. Plus, they’ll also be able to stream The Big Bang Theory in its entirety when HBO Max launches on May 27.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.