On August 23rd, Jim Parsons released a public letter disclosing that The Big Bang Theory, one of the most popular sitcoms of the last decade, will be coming to an end.
"It is hard (nearly impossible actually) to really accept that this is a picture of the first of the final 24 episodes we will shoot for The Big Bang Theory. I feel very fortunate that we have another 23 episodes to shoot this season because I am hopeful that with each and every one, my level of REALLY accepting this fact will sink in. Something else I feel grateful for - and this gratitude needs no time to "sink in" or becoming more "realized;" this grateful feeling is always with me but is multiplied in this moment of us announcing our final season - but I feel such intense gratitude for our devoted viewers who are the ACTUAL reason we have been graced with the opportunity to explore these characters for 12 years of our lives.
I feel grateful to our crew - many, many of whom have been with us since day one - and who are the people who bring a sense of steadiness and dependability, who are so warm and kind and always quick to say hello and smile at us every time we come to the set and who, even though you don't see them on TV, are in many ways the real and steady heartbeat that keeps this body of work alive and breathing while we, like flailing arms and legs, act like jackasses and fools in attempt to make someone laugh.
I am grateful to all the writers of the show - those with us now and those that have come and gone - because, without them, there would literally be no Big Bang Theory at all, ever. The writers thought of this show, the writers created these characters, the writers are the ones who found ways to keep coming up with organic, entertaining ways to keep the life of this show going which is a task much, much more challenging than anyone other than them will ever know or understand.
And while I know that they already know it, it bears repeating again and again: I am so terribly grateful for the cast in this picture and the cast members who aren't pictured here - whether they were in one scene or many episodes along the way; you are all my playmates that I have fallen in love with and who have become a part of my life on set and off. You are my playmates when we don't feel like playing but have to because it's our job to get out there and communicate and pretend we're these other fictional people and we look into each other's eyes and say these words and end up creating this weird, other reality that has enriched my life more than I will ever fully understand. I will miss of all you and all of this more than I can say and more than I can know at this time."
The Big Bang Theory has received immense critical acclaim over its 11 year run, winning 46 Emmy nominations, though winning only nine. Audiences meanwhile have been more divided on the show, especially in the later seasons when the show struggled to remain as fresh as it was at the beginning, as well as criticisms aimed towards the pop-culture centered style of humor. Despite the growing divisiveness over the show, it still raked in the ratings, and even when the previous season floundered, the ratings remained strong.
As Entertainment Weekly reports, the biggest reason for the show's sudden ending came down to contractual disputes, specifically those of Jim Parsons. Parsons, known for playing the series favorite, Sheldon Cooper, turned down a contract renewal to play the character for an additional two years that would have made him $50 million. The executives believed that without Sheldon, there is no Big Bang Theory, and thus, the upcoming twelfth season will be the show's last.
The executives are certainly right about the show not being able to function without Sheldon. While audience opinion of him became divided over the series' decade long run, he is still the most recognizable character on the show. However, given that Parsons has portrayed the character for over a decade, it is understandable why he would want to leave the role. Not many actors can play the same character for as long as Parsons had.
The final season of Big Bang Theory is set to premiere September 24th, 2018