The future of the hit CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory is in doubt while the network continues to negotiate with its stars. But it looks like the story of Dr. Sheldon Cooper isn’t going to stop at the sitcom.
Big Bang co-creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady are preparing a spin-off, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that would show Jim Parsons’ socially awkward Sheldon character as a young boy. The series would take place outside of anyone in the existing cast except for Parsons, who would executive produce.
Even more different will be the fact that Lorre and Prady have planned a show that won’t be the multi-camera sitcom Big Bang has been the last 10 seasons. Instead, it could take the single-camera route, without the studio audience, like Modern Family or Fresh Off the Boat.
Warner Bros. Television, which produces Big Bang for CBS, reportedly has Big Bang showrunner Steve Molaro attached. And CBS wants to be the network that airs it, optioning it with a rather large financial penalty if it chooses not to pick it up for series.
The news comes as CBS and Warner Bros. work to lock in the Big Bang cast for at least another season, if not more. The entire cast, according to THR, is looking for a raise, and the key players are negotiating collectively. That means Parsons, Jonny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco could all seek paydays reminiscent of NBC’s Friends back in the 1990s.
They already collect about $1 million per episode, as well as a small percentage of the show’s profits.
Although the Big Bang co-creators have shied away from spin-off talk in the past, Molaro told THR in 2013 he definitely would be up in exploring the characters behind the show more.
“I’m so head-first and knee-deep into these characters, and so in love with this show and the characters that are on it. We’re just scratching the surface of a lot of these relationships. I can’t even think about a spin-off. The show is a priority and I love it as a writer and as a fan. That’s just so far away, it’s too far off the radar for me to even give you an honest answer about that.”
Big Bang Theory debuted Sept. 24, 2007 on CBS with almost no fanfare. It starred Parsons of Judging Amy fame and Galecki – best known for his recurring role on Roseanne – as two genius roommates who, at least in the pilot, meet their neighbor Penny (Cuoco) for the first time.
The show remained a quiet success for the network until it produced enough episodes after three seasons to air reruns in syndication. It was there the show became a huge hit, which then loaded up CBS’ audience with fans looking for new episodes.
Big Bang has won nine Emmys on 46 nominations, with four of them won by Parsons for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series.
The show currently airs Thursdays on CBS.
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