The Big Bang Theory has been on the air since 2007 and is currently the biggest comedy on TV, having been briefly outpaced by Roseanne earlier this year. Season 11 just wrapped up, and on Wednesday the network revealed their schedule for the fall. The Big Bang Theory season 12 will air at 8 p.m. on Thursdays later this year.
Early assumptions were that this upcoming season would be the show's last. According to a report by Deadline, season 12 fulfills a two-season contract, as well as a two-year deal for the cast. However, based on its current popularity, the network executives are hoping the show will keep going for years to come.
At CBS' upfront presentation on Wednesday, Kelly Kahl, the entertainment president for the network, pointed out that season 11 hadn't lost any ratings or viewership from season 10. In fact, she said, the massive TV event of Sheldon and Amy's wedding coupled with delayed viewings might even put this season ahead of the previous.
This is unheard of for a show of this age, leading Kahl to say "we are hopeful that there will be more seasons of Big Bang beyond the upcoming 12th," according to Deadline.
"As long as Chuck and his team have stories to tell, we will take the show for as long as they want to go," Kahl said. "We can take a few more seasons."
It won't be a simple thing for the show to stick around. The Big Bang Theory is produced by Warner Bros. TV, which means they would have to negotiate all new contracts for the series' cast at the end of season 12. The core cast members are already the highest-paid actors on TV, each pulling about $1 million per episode.
As Kahl pointed out, the wedding of Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler was a massive ratings draw. Not only was a it a huge development for the characters, it was the season finale, leaving fans without their favorite fiction nerds for months. On top of that, it featured numerous huge celebrity cameos, including Mark Hamill and Wil Wheaton.
The show had 15 million live viewers, making it the most-watched TV show since early March. It spiled into other CBS programming that night too, bringing Young Sheldon up to 12.2 million viewers. Afterward, Mom benefited as well, closing out its season with 8.5 million viewers.