'Big Bang Theory' prequel 'Young Sheldon' picked up straight to series at CBS


It's official: CBS is moving forward with its Big Bang Theory prequel.

The network has handed out a straight-to-series order for the 2017-18 broadcast season for Young Sheldon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The news comes as the comedy created by Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro had been casting ahead of production on the pilot this month. This is the first time that the network and producers Warner Bros. Television have confirmed the project. An episode count has not yet been determined.

Read more: 'Big Bang Theory' Prequel Casts Young Sheldon and His Mother

Young Sheldon recently cast its star, setting Big Little Lies actor Iain Armitage as the young version of Jim Parsons' Sheldon Cooper, with Zoe Perry taking on the role of his mother, Mary Cooper, that was originally played by her mother, Laurie Metcalfe.

See photos from "Big Bang Theory":
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LOS ANGELES - APRIL 19: 'The Line Substitution Solution' -- Pictured: Trevor (Blake Anderson), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar). Sheldon hires Stuart to spend the day with Amy when he'd rather go to a movie screening. Also, Leonard's mother, Beverly (Christine Baranski), comes to town and Penny struggles to make a connection with her, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 5 (8:00-8:31, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 19: 'The Line Substitution Solution' -- Pictured: Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Stuart (Kevin Sussman) and Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg). Sheldon hires Stuart to spend the day with Amy when he'd rather go to a movie screening. Also, Leonard's mother, Beverly (Christine Baranski), comes to town and Penny struggles to make a connection with her, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 5 (8:00-8:31, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 19: 'The Line Substitution Solution' -- Pictured: Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki). Sheldon hires Stuart to spend the day with Amy when he'd rather go to a movie screening. Also, Leonard's mother, Beverly (Christine Baranski), comes to town and Penny struggles to make a connection with her, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 5 (8:00-8:31, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: (L-R) Moderator Alie Ward, executive producers Chuck Lorre, Steven Molaro, Bill Prady, actors Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar attend The Paley Center For Media's 33rd Annual PALEYFEST Los Angeles ÃThe Big Bang Theory' at Dolby Theatre on March 16, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 09: (L-R) Actors Jim Parsons, Melissa Rauch, Kunal Nayyar, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Mayim Bialik and Johnny Galecki perform onstage during the 24th and final 'A Night at Sardi's' to benefit the Alzheimer's Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)
MUST SEE TV: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE TO JAMES BURROWS -- Pictured: (l-r) Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 2: 'The Positive Negative Reaction' -- Bernadette is concerned when Wolowitz freaks out over her pregnancy announcement, and Wolowitz is convinced he must make more money to provide for the baby, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, Feb. 18 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Kunal Nayyar, Simon Helberg, Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 19: 'The Valentino Submergence' -- Sheldon and Amy host a live Valentine's Day episode of Fun with Flags, Leonard and Penny grapple with getting older, Howard and Bernadette find a surprise in their hot tub and Raj is torn between Emily and the cute girl he met at the Comic Bookstore, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, Feb. 11 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Jim Parsons and Kunal Nayyar (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 8: 'The Celebration Experimentation' -- After more than nine years together, the gang finally celebrates Sheldon's birthday, surprising him with a special guest, on the 200th episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, Feb. 25 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Jim Parsons, Kunal Nayyar, Sara Gilbert, Kevin Sussman, Adam West, Simon Helberg, Melissa Rauch, John Ross Bowie, Wil Wheaton, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 2: 'The Positive Negative Reaction' -- Bernadette is concerned when Wolowitz freaks out over her pregnancy announcement, and Wolowitz is convinced he must make more money to provide for the baby, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, Feb. 18 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 30: 'The Pulled Groin Extrapolation' -- Sheldon and Penny wonder how they'll get along when Leonard goes to a wedding as Amy's date. Meanwhile, Howard (Simon Helberg, left) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch, right) spend the weekend with Mrs. Wolowitz, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, Sept. 29 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 23: 'The Workplace Proximity' -- Howard (Simon Helberg, left) finds himself sleeping on Raj'™s couch after a fight with Bernadette, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, Oct. 17 (8:00 -“ 8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Also pictured: Johnny Galecki (right) (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 15: 'The Gorilla Dissolution' -- Howard (Simon Helberg, left) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch, right) struggle to care for Mrs. Wolowitz, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 8 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Kaley Cuoco is seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on September 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Kaley Cuoco is seen in Los Angeles on September 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Kaley Cuoco is seen in Los Angeles on September 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Actress Kaley Cuoco (R) and husband Ryan Sweeting (L) attend HBO's 2014 Emmy after party at The Plaza at the Pacific Design Center on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons are all guests on 'Good Morning America,' 3/13/15, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Actress Kaley Cuoco arrives to the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
BURBANK - JULY 23: Gallery Promo Coverage of CBS' THE BIG BANG THEORY, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 18: Actress Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting arrives at The PEOPLE Magazine Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 18, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - MAY 18: CBS announces their new fall schedule. (Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images) *** CBS presented its 2016-17 prime time schedule today (May 18) at Carnegie Hall, where many of the Networks new and returning series stars were in attendance. Pictured L-R: Melissa Rauch, Mayim Bialik, Simon Helberg, Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons, and Johnny Galecki from THE BIG BANG THEORY *** Melissa Rauch;Mayim Bialik;Simon Helberg;Kaley Cuoco;Jim Parsons;Johnny Galecki
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 9: 'The Hook-Up Reverberation' -- Raj's honesty about his past comes back to haunt him after his girlfriend, Emily, is cold to Penny. Also, the guys consider becoming part-owners in Stuart's comic book store, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Monday, Oct. 6 (8:00-8:31, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Laura Spencer, Simon Helberg, Melissa Rauch, Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
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In picking up the comedy to series, Young Sheldon has also released its formal logline, filled out its cast and set the pilot director. Young Sheldon will revolve around a 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper (Armitage) as he lives with his family in East Texas and goes to high school. The concept was originally described as Malcolm in the Middle with a young Sheldon. Lance Barber, Reagan Revord and Montana Jordan have also joined the cast of the series. Details on their roles are being kept under wraps, though sources tell THR that Revord will play a young version of Sheldon's twin sister Missy; Barber as George, Sheldon and Missy's father and Mary's husband; while Jordan is George Jr., Sheldon's older brother.

Young Sheldon hails from Big Bang Theory creator Lorre and showrunner Molaro. Fellow Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady is not attached to the prequel series. Jon Favreau is set to direct and exec produce the pilot. Parsons will narrate the comedy as Adult Sheldon. Lorre, Molaro, Parsons and Todd Spiewak will exec produce the single-camera series (marking a change from Big Bang Theory, which is a multicamera comedy). A premiere date has not yet been determined.

Read more: 'Big Bang Theory' Sheldon Prequel Series in the Works at CBS

During Big Bang's 10-season run, many references have been made to Sheldon's childhood, growing up as a gifted youngster in Texas with a religious mother. A prequel series gives the writers a lot of material to work with given Sheldon's history, as well as a structure to follow. Big Bang, unlike most series on TV, does not plot out its arcs and seasons ahead of time — the writers take it episode by episode.

Here's what the cast makes per episode:

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‘The Big Bang Theory’ cast's salary per episode
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‘The Big Bang Theory’ cast's salary per episode

Kaley Cuoco Salary: $1 Million Per Episode

On “The Big Bang Theory,” Kaley Cuoco is Penny Hofstadter, wife of Leonard. Currently a pharmaceutical sales rep, Penny moved to Los Angeles to become an actress, but never got her career in show business off the ground.

Cuoco is one of the highest-paid actresses on television, behind only Sophia Vergara of “Modern Family,” reported Forbes. Cuoco has a net worth of $45 million. Since season eight, she has earned $1 million per episode of “The Big Bang Theory” to play Penny, a leap from her previous salary of $350,000, reported Deadline.com. Additionally, her work on the show has earned her a Critics’ Choice Award and a People’s Choice Award.

Unlike Penny, Cuoco found success in acting at a young age. At present, she has nearly five dozen acting credits to her name, dating back to the 1992 TV movie “Quicksand: No Escape.” Some of her most noteworthy roles include playing Bridget Hennessy on the series “8 Simple Rules” and starring as Gretchen Palmer in “The Wedding Ringer.”

Jim Parsons Salary: $1 Million Per Episode

Jim Parsons is Dr. Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.” A theoretical physicist who enrolled in college at the age of 11, Sheldon finds himself to be the perfect human, but his seriously eccentric personality makes him a bit difficult for others to handle. In the Oct. 10 episode of season 10, Sheldon finally decides to move in with long-time girlfriend Amy.

Playing the role of Sheldon has proven incredibly lucrative for Parsons, as he’s been banking $1 million per episode since season eight. His current salary is nearly three times the $350,000 he was earning prior to his contract negotiation, bringing his net worth to $70 million. Beyond monetary gains from the show, he also won a Golden Globe and four Primetime Emmys for his work on “The Big Bang Theory.”

Sheldon is the biggest role Parsons has ever played, but it’s certainly not the only one. He previously appeared on the series “Judging Amy,” lent his voice for Oh in the animated film “Home” and appeared in “Wish I Was Here,” among other projects.

Johnny Galecki Salary: $1 Million Per Episode

Penny’s husband, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter is played by Johnny Galecki. Best friend and former roommate of Sheldon, Leonard is a bit less socially awkward than the rest of his geeky pals and constantly finds himself stuck explaining Sheldon’s peculiar behavior.

Galecki earns $1 million per episode for his work as Leonard on “The Big Bang Theory.” Along with Cuoco and Parsons, he renegotiated his salary to its current rate from $350,000 prior to season eight. In total, Galecki’s net worth is $50 million.

Since starting his career as a child actor in 1987, Galecki has achieved major success. Besides “The Big Bang Theory,” he’s best known for his long-time role as David Healy on the series “Roseanne.” He also starred as Rusty in the cult classic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and the horror film “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”

Simon Helberg Salary: $750,000 Per Episode

Howard Wolowitz is played by Simon Helberg. Prior to settling down with his now-wife Bernadette Rostenkowski, the aerospace engineer considered himself to be quite the ladies’ man. Until she passed away in season eight, Howard had a seriously overbearing mother who tried to control him.

Helberg’s net worth is $45 million, and he earns around $750,000 per episode of the CBS sitcom, reported Deadline. In addition to serious monetary gains, he also won a Critics’ Choice Award for his portrayal of Howard and has received numerous Screen Actors Guild Award nods.

Beyond his work on “The Big Bang Theory,” Helberg recently starred in the film “Florence Foster Jenkins.” He also has a recurring role voicing the character Bian Zao on the series “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness” and appeared in the films “Van Wilder: Party Liaison” and “Old School.”

Kunal Nayyar Salary: $750,000 Per Episode

Better known as “Raj,” Kunal Nayyar is Dr. Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali on “The Big Bang Theory.” For the first six seasons of the show, the astrophysicist suffered from the social anxiety disorder selective mutism, which made it impossible for him to talk to women he wasn’t related to.

Nayyar is paid a salary of about $750,000 per episode to play Raj, which has brought the actor’s net worth to $45 million. “The Big Bang Theory” has proven to be a lucky break for the actor — he picked up the role just a few years into his career.

Lately, Nayyar has been keeping a busy schedule. In addition to his obligations for “The Big Bang Theory,” he’s been lending his voice to a number of animated roles, including Vijay Patel on the television series “Sanjay and Craig” and Dr. Pakij on “Fantasy Hospital” — in addition to Guy Diamond in the movie “Trolls.” Previously, he’s guest-starred on “The Mindy Project,” “Sullivan & Son” and “NCIS.”

Mayim Bialik Salary: $100,000 Per Episode

On “The Big Bang Theory,” Mayim Bialik is Dr. Amy Fowler, Sheldon’s girlfriend. A Harvard-educated neurobiologist, Fowler met Sheldon in the season three finale and has been dating him on-and-off ever since.

Bialik’s net worth is $12 million and she reportedly earns $100,000 per episode for playing the part of Amy, according to numerous media outlets. Earlier this year, the actress told the NY Daily News that she, Cuoco and other cast members were overpaid.

A seasoned actress, Bialik has been recognized with a Critics’ Choice Award and four Primetime Emmy nods for her work on “The Big Bang Theory.” She starred as Blossom Russo on the hit ’90s show “Blossom.” She’s also appeared on a number of television shows, including “7th Heaven,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

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The Young Sheldon series pickup comes as the pricey contracts for the seven lead stars of Big Bang expire at the end of its current 10th season. A new two-year deal is said to be in the works, as new deals with the cast are being drafted.

Young Sheldon is one of multiple spinoffs in the works this season. ABC is also prepping a 1990s-set spinoff of The Goldbergsas well as a college-focused offshoot of Black-ish, starring Yara Shahidi. In an era of dwindling mass-audience TV hits, spinoffs are seen as a proven way to keep bankable franchises going. CBS is also looking to The Good Wife for its All Access spinoff, The Good Fight, and NBC is poised to launch an offshoot of The Blacklist with The Blacklist: Redemption, which will join its deep roster of Dick Wolf's Chicago spinoffs.

Young Sheldon will likely Lorre three shows on CBS next season, with his critically praised comedy Mom also expected to earn a renewal. He also has Netflix comedy Disjointed, starring Kathy Bates, set as part of his massive overall deal with Warner Bros. Television.

Young Sheldon is the latest straight-to-series order for the 2017-18 broadcast season. It joins ABC's Marvel drama Inhumans, produced in partnership with Imax; ABC's Ten Days in the Valley; Fox's Seth MacFarlane dramedy Orville; and NBC's Will and Grace revival.

Keep track of the latest news and castings at THR.com/PilotSeason and bookmark THR's handy guide.

Read more: TV Pilot Season: Which Stars Are Getting All the Offers?


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