The Big Bang Theory

American television sitcom (2007–2019)

The Big Bang Theory is an American television sitcom. It was created and executive produced by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. It was first shown on CBS on September 24, 2007.[3]

The Big Bang Theory
Created by
Directed byMark Cendrowski
Theme music composerBarenaked Ladies
Opening theme"Big Bang Theory Theme"[1][2]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons12
No. of episodes279 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerFaye Oshima Belyeu
EditorPeter Chakos
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time18–22 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 24, 2007 (2007-09-24) –
May 16, 2019 (2019-05-16)
Young Sheldon

Overview change

The show starts by being centred on two male Caltech scientists who share an apartment in Pasadena, California. They are in their twenties and are both single for the first two seasons. One is an experimental physicist from New Jersey (Leonard Hofstadter). The other is a theoretical physicist from Texas (Sheldon Cooper). Sheldon has Asperger syndrome and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and has a very low sex drive. They live across the hall from an attractive, bottle-blonde waitress from Nebraska (Penny). She is single and lives on her own for most of the show's run. She tried to become an actress, but only got a role in a television advertisement and a role in a B-movie called Serial Apeist as well as its sequel.

Leonard and Sheldon's geekiness and intellect are contrasted with Penny's social skills, popularity and lively sex life for comedic effect. Two equally geeky, single friends of Sheldon and Leonard's, Jewish Howard and Indian Rajesh, are also main characters. Howard lived with his mother during the first few seasons. Raj lives on his own. The show is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions.[4][5] In March 2014, it was announced that The Big Bang Theory would continue for at least three more seasons on CBS.[6]

The show began as a sitcom about four geeky, male scientists and their fun-loving, under-educated, socially successful waitress neighbour. Much of the humor revolved around the differences between scientists and the rest of the characters, especially Penny. From season 3 onwards, the show changed greatly into being a show about couples and families. Bernadette Rostenkowski was brought in during season 3 and started a relationship with Howard. The couple later married and had a daughter and a son. Amy Farrah-Fowler was also brought in during season 3 and started a relationship with Sheldon; they later got married and had one child. Leonard and Penny became a couple and married.[7] The show frequently shuffles between romantic comedy and relationship drama.[8]

Eleven seasons have been shown. The show's twelfth season was its last.

A prequel series, Young Sheldon, began in 2017.

Cast change

Main change

Minor/guest change

  • Deborah "Debbie" Wolowitz (voiced by Carol Ann Susi (seasons 1-8 (2007-2014)))
  • Leslie Winkle (played by Sara Gilbert (seasons 1 (2007-2008) and 3 (2009-2010)))

Series overview change

Seasons Episodes Originally aired DVD release date Nielsen ratings
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 U.S. viewers
Rank 18–49 rating/share
1 17 September 24, 2007 (2007-09-24) May 19, 2008 (2008-05-19) September 2, 2008 January 12, 2009 April 3, 2009 8.31[9] 59[9] 3.3/9 (TBA)
2 23 September 22, 2008 (2008-09-22) May 11, 2009 (2009-05-11) September 15, 2009 October 19, 2009 March 3, 2010 10.00[10] 42[10] 3.8/10 (TBA)
3 23 September 21, 2009 (2009-09-21) May 24, 2010 (2010-05-24) September 14, 2010 September 27, 2010 October 13, 2010 14.12 12 5.3/13 (5)[11]
4 24 September 23, 2010 (2010-09-23) May 19, 2011 (2011-05-19) September 13, 2011[12] September 26, 2011[13] October 5, 2011[14] 13.14 13 4.4/13 (7)[15]
5 24 September 22, 2011 (2011-09-22) May 10, 2012 (2012-05-10) September 11, 2012[16] September 3, 2012[17] October 3, 2012[18] 15.82 8 5.5/16 (5)

Production history change

The show was first developed for the 2006-2007 television season. At that time, it was very different from the show that was later broadcast. Only Jim Parsons & Johnny Galecki were part of the original pilot. The character now played by Kaley Cuoco was much meaner to the geeks. CBS did not pick the show up, but gave Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre a second chance. They brought in Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar. They retooled the show.[19]

The second pilot of The Big Bang Theory was directed by award-winning television directing veteran James Burrows. He decided not to stay with the show. This reworked pilot led to a 13-episode order by CBS on May 14, 2007.[20] Before its airing on CBS, the pilot episode was distributed on iTunes free of charge. The show premiered September 24, 2007. It was picked up for a full 22-episode season order on October 19, 2007.[21]

Production on the show was halted on November 6, 2007 by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[22] When the strike ended, the show was picked up for a second season for the 2008-2009 television season.[23]

The show returned on March 17, 2008 . It had an earlier time slot[24] and nine new episodes.[25] The second season premiered, in the same slot, on September 22, 2008. During that season, the show's ratings grew. That led to a two-year renewal through the 2010-11 season.[26][27]

David Saltzberg, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles, checks scripts and provides dialogue, math equations and diagrams used as props. He says he is more consultant than contributor.[28] Executive producer/co-creator Bill Prady said, "In fact, we're working on giving Sheldon an actual problem that he's going to be working on throughout the [first] season so there's actual progress to the boards ... We worked hard to get all the science right."[29]

Theme song change

Barenaked Ladies wrote and recorded the theme song, which describes developments the universe has undergone since the dawn of time. On October 9, 2007, a full-length (1 minute and 45 second) version of the song was released.[30]

DVD/Blu-ray releases change

DVD and Blu-ray release dates for The Big Bang Theory
DVD Name Release dates Ep # Additional Information
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season September 2, 2008[31] January 12, 2009[32] April 3, 2009[33] 17 The 3-disc box set has all the 17 episodes. The one extra feature is an 18-minute short entitled "Quantum Mechanics of The Big Bang Theory: Series Cast and Creators on Why It's Cool to Be a Geek." Running Time: 355 minutes.
The Complete Second Season September 15, 2009[34] October 19, 2009[35] March 3, 2010[36] 23 The 4-disc box set has all the 23 episodes. Special features include a Gag Reel, "Physicist to the Stars: Real-Life Physicist/UCLA professor David Saltzberg's consulting relationship to the Show", and "Testing the Infinite Hilarity Hypothesis in relation to the Big Bang Theory: Season 2's Unique Characters and Characteristics." Running Time: 481 minutes.
The Complete Third Season September 14, 2010[37] September 27, 2010[38] October 13, 2010 [39] 23 The 3-disc box set has all the 23 episodes. Special features include a set tour with Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, an inside look on the third season and a gag reel. This is the first time a season of the show was released on Blu-ray Disc in a 2-Disc Set, with the DVD release. Running Time: 472 minutes.
The Complete Fourth Season September 13, 2011[40] September 26, 2011 October 5, 2011 24 The 3-disc box set has all the 24 episodes. Special features include the story of the show's theme song with Barenaked Ladies, cast interviews with each other and a gag reel. Running time: 529 minutes. Also available on Blu-ray as a 2-disc set, with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the recording of "The Wildebeest Implementation."
The Complete Fifth Season September 11, 2012[41] September 3, 2012 October 1, 2012 24 The 3-disc box set has all the 24 episodes. Special features include a featurette on the show's 100th episode, interviews and a gag reel. Running time: 552 minutes. Also available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with UltraViolet download.
The Complete Sixth Season September 10, 2013[42] September 2, 2013[43] 24
  • Despite the third and fourth seasons receiving Blu-ray releases with their DVD releases, the first and second seasons were only available on DVD when they were released. Warner Bros. has then released the first two seasons on Blu-ray/DVD combo packs with UltraViolet downloads on July 10, 2012. All of the episodes from seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-ray received newly edited surround-sound audio, with the first season including a never-before-seen gag reel, which was not included during the initial first season DVD release.[44]

Ratings change

U.S. standard ratings change

In the following summary, "rating" is the percentage of all households with televisions that tuned to the show, and "share" is the percentage of all televisions in use at that time that are tuned in. "18-49" is the percentage of all adults aged 18–49 tuned into the show. "Viewers" is the number of viewers, in millions, watching at the time. "Rank" is how well the show did compared to other TV shows aired that week.

Seasonal ratings change

Seasonal ratings based on average total viewers per episode of The Big Bang Theory on CBS:

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 Monday 8:30 P.M. (September 24 – November 12, 2007)
Monday 8:00 P.M. (March 17 – May 19, 2008)
September 24, 2007 May 19, 2008 2007–2008 #59[45] 8.31[45]
2 Monday 8:00 P.M. (September 22, 2008 – May 11, 2009) September 22, 2008 May 18, 2009 2008–2009 #42 10.00
3 Monday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 2009 – May 24, 2010) September 21, 2009 May 24, 2010 2009–2010 #12 14.12

UK distribution and ratings change

The show made its UK debut on Channel 4 on February 14, 2008 bringing in an average audience of 1.0 million viewers. The second episode, shown the following week, also received 1.0 million. For the third episode an average of 1.1 million tuned in. The show is also shown as a 'first-look' on Channel 4's digital offshoot E4 the preceding evening, and brings in 400,000 viewers on average. The 5th episode received 880,000 viewers. After the first 5 episodes, the average number of viewers continues to hover around the 1 million mark. Episode 13 was watched by 1.3 million viewers and was the most watched episode.[46]

In December 2008, Virgin Media made the first nine episodes of the first season available to watch on its TV Choice On Demand service, and the rest of Season 1 was made available in January 2009.

International broadcast change

The show is also broadcast in:

References change

  1. "Big Bang Theory Theme – Single". iTunes Store. October 11, 2010. Archived from the original on June 20, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  2. "Big Bang Theory Theme". Amazon UK. Archived from the original on March 1, 2022. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  3. The Big Bang Theory Cast & Details — Retrieved February 14, 2009.
  4. "Details, Artwork & Press Release for 1st Season". Archived from the original on April 14, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  5. Pierce, Scott D. (September 22, 2007). "Yes, it's a 'Big Bang.'". Deseret Morning News. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  6. Goldman, Eric (March 12, 2014). "The Big Bang Theory Renewed For Three More Seasons, Up to Season 10". IGN. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  7. "'Big Bang Theory' Evolution: How TV's Nerdy Comedy Grew Into a Family Show". The Hollywood Reporter. February 24, 2016.
  8. "The Big Bang Theory" – via
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Season Program Rankings (Through 5/25)" (Press release). ABC Medianet. May 28, 2008. Archived from the original on August 22, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Season Program Rankings (Through 5/17)" (Press release). ABC Medianet. May 19, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  11. Nellie Andreeva (May 27, 2010). "Full Series Rankings For The 2009–10 Broadcast Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  12. "The Big Bang Theory – The Complete 4th Season". Archived from the original on May 17, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  13. "Big Bang Theory, The – The Complete 4th Season (4 Disc Set)". Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  14. "Big Bang Theory, The – The Complete 4th Season (4 Disc Set)". Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  15. "Full 2010–2011 TV Season Series Rankings". May 27, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
  16. "The Big Bang Theory DVD Release Date". DVDs Release Dates.
  17. "The Big Bang Theory - Season 5 UV Copy)". September 3, 2012 – via Amazon.
  18. "Big Bang Theory, The - The Complete 5th Season". Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  19. "Breaking News - Development Update: May 22-26 (Weekly Round-Up)". Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  20. "CBS PICKS UP 'BANG,' 'POWER' PLUS FOUR DRAMAS". The Futon Critic. May 14, 2007.
  21. "Breaking News — Cbs Gives Freshman Comedy "The Big Bang Theory" And Drama "The Unit" Full Season Orders" (Press release). CBS. October 19, 2007. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  22. "Production Stops on at least 6 Sitcoms". Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  23. "CBS Picks Up 11 Series". The Futon Critic. February 15, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  24. ""The Big Bang Theory" And "How I Met Your Mother" to Swap Time Periods" (Press release). The Futon Critic; CBS. February 20, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2008. {{cite press release}}: Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  25. "CBS Sets Series Return Dates". Zap2it. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  26. "Big Bang Theory: Deal Is Done for Two More Seasons!". March 11, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  27. Andreeva, Nellie (March 18, 2009). "CBS renews 'Men,' 'Big Bang'". Archived from the original on March 22, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  28. Gary Strauss (April 11, 2007). "There's a science to CBS' Big Bang Theory". USA Today. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
  29. Scott D. Pierce (October 8, 2007). "He's a genius". Deseret News. Archived from the original on January 8, 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
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  46. "Overnights 2008-02-14". Channel 4 Sales. February 15, 2008. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
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Other websites change