Everything we know about 'The Big Bang Theory's final season

The Big Bang Theory is gearing up to go out with one last bang!

CBS' top comedy will end its run after the upcoming 12th season, airing its final episode in May 2019, it was announced Wednesday. 

“We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past 12 seasons," Warner Bros. Television, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said in a joint statement. "We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show’s success and aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close.”

Big Bang, which scored a huge two-season renewal in March 2017, will end its run as the longest-running multi-camera series in television history, with a record-breaking 279 episodes. Here's what we know so far about the show's upcoming 12th and final season:

The season will pick up following Sheldon and Amy's wedding.

Showrunner Steve Holland told ET's Leanne Aguilera back in May that writers weren't yet sure exactly how much time will have passed between seasons. "We could start at the reception, we could start at the honeymoon, we have lots of fun opportunities."

At the show's panel during San Diego Comic-Con in July, Holland confirmed that fans will see Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) on their honeymoon, joking, “It’s going to be the hardest we’re pushing the boundaries with CBS!”

 

The show was always looking at major character milestones for a possible end point.

"I mean, it's interesting – we've talked about it a lot every season before," Holland recalled of discussing the inevitable series finale. "In seasons past, we'd always talked about where we wanted to leave these characters and it's sort of evolved over the years. There were times when we would say, 'Leonard and Penny getting married – that could be the end of it.' or, 'Sheldon and Amy having sex for the first time – that could be it.' There were all of these moments that then became milestones as we just kept moving forward.

11 PHOTOS
Sheldon and Amy's wedding on The Big Bang Theory
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Sheldon and Amy's wedding on The Big Bang Theory
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured Behind the Scenes: Mrs. Fowler (Kathy Bates), Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Mr. Fowler (Teller). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Mark Hamill (Himself). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 23: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Mr. Fowler (Teller) and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 23: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Mrs. Fowler (Kathy Bates) and Mr. Fowler (Teller). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 23: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Mr. Fowler (Teller), Mrs. Fowler (Kathy Bates) and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Missy (Courtney Henggeler). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24: 'The Bow Tie Asymmetry' - Pictured: Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). When Amy's parents and Sheldon's family arrive for the wedding, everybody is focused on making sure all goes according to plan -- everyone except the bride and groom, on the 11th season finale of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 10 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)
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"So it's always an ongoing discussion and I don’t want to say specifics because I don’t know if we'll do them or not," he added, "but everyone has very sort of strong opinions about where they'd like these characters to end up."

 

They almost went for 13. 

The announcement of Big Bang'sfinal season came as something of a surprise, considering CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl revealed earlier this month at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that CBS was hopeful for a 13th season. CBS still has Big Bang prequel spinoff, Young Sheldon, on its slate.

“We don’t believe it’s the final season," Kahl said at the time of the upcoming season possibly being Big Bang's last. "We are in preliminary discussions to renew the show with the studio that produces it, Warner Bros.” 

In March, ET caught up with Big Bang stars at PaleyFest, where they dished on the future of the show.

"There's been no group discussion. There's been no 'come to Jesus' about this," Parsons said.

Added Johnny Galecki: "We think [season] 12 will be it. Anything beyond that, we're just thinking about the very tearful wrap party we'll have."

But Kaley Cuoco seemed open to the idea of continuing with the series: "I love being a part of the show and I think it'd be really stupid to say no. There's just nothing better. Season 13 does sound kind of cool."

Cuoco's post following the announcement of Big Bang'sfinal season echoed a similar sentiment. 

"This ride has been a dream come true and as life changing as it gets," the actress wrote on Instagram. "No matter when it was going to end, my heart would have always been broken in two. Drowning in tears, we promise to bring you the best season yet. To the fans, our crew, families, Chuck Lorre, Warner Brothers, CBS, and everyone who has supported us for so many years, thank you. We are goin out with a bang @bigbangtheory_cbs."

Kunal Nayyar's already got spinoff ideas. 

At the show's Comic-Con panel in July, Nayyar was asked about whether or not his perpetually single character, Raj, might find love in the final season. According to the actor, Raj's love life is a perfect opportunity for more adventures in the Big Bang universe!

“It leaves room for a spinoff! Except it’ll be not like Young Sheldon, but more like Old and Fat Raj,” he joked. “I enjoy being the single guy -- seriously it’s really fun. You get to explore different aspects and [meet] many potential guest stars."

Nayyar then took suggestions from the audience about which celebrities might make good guest stars as Raj’s love interests.

“Gal Gadot? Yeah, that’s cool. Done. That would be nice. That’s brilliant,” he said. “Margot Robbie? Yeah. This is what I’m talking about with the spinoff, guys!”

The Big Bang Theory will kick off its final season on Monday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, before moving to its regular time period on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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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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