The decision to end The Big Bang Theory was a controversial one behind the scenes. Jim Parsons was the catalyst, making his announcement to the show creators before his fellow cast members. This created lots of tension, as Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki felt blindsided by the announcement.
Things took a turn behind the scenes because of the moment. We're going to take a closer look at the rift between the two sides, and how Cuoco and Galecki contemplated backing out of tapings. Thankfully, things got easier as season 12 rolled along, but there was some major heat at first.
Let's take a look back at how it all unraveled behind the scenes.
The entire cast of The Big Bang Theory knew the show had to end at some point. However, it doesn't seem like the main cast was anticipating season 12. At the start of the new season, Jim Parsons met with the creators and showrunners behind the scenes, revealing his exit. This caused the end of The Big Bang Theory, as there simply was no path forward without Sheldon.
Although the decision was understandable, it didn't sit well with everyone. Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco in particular were upset with Parsons' reveal, given that he hadn't discussed it with the cast prior.
According to Johnny Galecki, he felt blindsided by Jim Parsons' decision. "I was shocked. We were just blindsided that day. And not necessarily shocked by Jim's decision, but that he hadn't had that conversation with his castmates first to prepare us. So yes, it could have been handled better. We're a family; have a conversation. And I don't even disagree with how Jim felt, because in many ways, I felt the same way. I just disagreed with how it was managed."
Showrunner Steve Holland would also discuss a behind the scenes rift between Kaley Cuoco and Jim Parsons. Tension was very high the next day.
"Kaley could barely make eye contact with Jim during the run-through. At the time, there were a lot of hard feelings between Parsons, and Galecki and Cuoco, who weren't privy to everything that had unfolded leading up to the decision to end the show with season 12, or unaware why they weren't brought into the fold sooner. Understandably, the next day at work — which was a Thursday run-through — was fraught with tension."
In addition, Digital Spy reveals Cuoco and Galecki needed convincing to show up. "Both Penny actress Kaley Cuoco and Galecki almost failed to come to work the following day. And when they eventually did, there weren't many pleasantries being exchanged."
A tough situation but thankfully, things sorted themselves out quickly.
Jim Parsons explained why he was ready to leave The Big Bang Theory. At the time, the actor was in a different place. His dog had passed away, while Parsons didn't think there was anything left to do on The Big Bang Theory. Although he admits continuing on would've been an easy decision, creatively, it just didn't feel right.
"It's both as complex and as simple as just feeling innately that it was time. It speaks to a lot of things, none of them bad. There is no negative reason to stop doing Big Bang. It felt like we have been able to do this for so many years now, it doesn't feel like there is anything left on the table. Not that we couldn't keep doing it, but it feels like we've chewed all the meat off this bone."
The main cast agreed with Jim Parsons' reasoning, and that included Johnny Galecki who was also looking towards ending the show sooner rather than later. However, ultimately, the actor would've loved a heads-up when the decision was made by Parsons to exit the show.
Showrunner Steven Molaro admitted things were tense for a little bit. However, soon enough, Cuoco and Parsons were back to their usual selves behind the scenes.
"Pretty quickly I saw Kaley and Jim talking between scenes and laughing," Molaro continued. "They seemed to be able to be around each other and not just want to get into their cars and leave immediately afterwards."
Jim Parsons also revealed that during season 12, things started to turn between himself and the fellow castmates.
"After the shocking moment of [that meeting], things eventually began to fall into place, and got peaceful moving towards the finale," he said.
Thankfully, the cast was able to finish the show on amicable terms. The finale proved to be a major hit and among the best written finales in years.