The Big Bang Theory, which somewhat anonymously premiered on September 24, 2007, has been on long enough to outlast every other network show that debuted during the 2007-2008 season, including Gossip Girl, Dirty Sexy Money, Lipstick Jungle, Chuck, Kid Nation, The Return of Jezebel James, and Cavemen. (It was not a good season.) But the CBS sitcom’s longevity isn’t just impressive compared to its contemporaries — it’s nearly historical.
With the cast’s contracts set to expire at the end of the current season, CBS and Warner Bros. have reportedly reached an agreement to renew The Big Bang Theory for two likely final seasons. (TBS, with its endless reruns, is thrilled.) Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg will each be paid “about $1 million per episode, on par with the fees for the most recent seasons,” according to Variety. “Nayyar and Helberg had earned lower salaries than Parsons, Galecki, and Cuoco for most of the series run but both reached just under the seven-figure mark in the current season.” Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch will also receive new contracts.
The deal would put The Big Bang Theory at 12 seasons, leapfrogging Happy Days, The Jeffersons, Married… with Children, Cheers, and Frasier, to become tied with Two and a Half Men as the second longest-running live-action primetime sitcom in TV history. That’s a wordy accomplishment — and excludes animated shows like The Simpsons and King of the Hill, and cable comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which is signed through season 14, although with far fewer episodes) — but it’s still impressive. The only program standing in Sheldon’s way from the all-time record is The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran from 1952-1966 for 14 seasons and 435 episodes (The Big Bang Theory will be around 280 at the end of season 12).
If Ricky Nelson had said “BAZINGA,” it could have gone another two years.