Big Bang Theory‘s 12th season will be its last, CBS execs confirmed today, bringing a huge sigh of relief from a grateful nation that had started to believe this day might never come. The show will bow with 279 episodes, making it the longest-running multi-cam comedy in history, a distinction that serves only to remind us all that there is a big gap between quality and quantity.
Big Bang Theory had made a lot of money for CBS over the years, boosting the network’s fortunes after Two and a Half Men went down like the Hindenberg. It was consistently the most-watched comedy on television until ABC’s short-lived Roseanne revival bumped it from the top slot. (Huh, looking at all these shows together, seems like the big lesson here is never become the most-watched comedy on television.)
Nevertheless, the core Big Bang Theory cast made a decent move last year when Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar all took a $100,000 pay cut so that new stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch could have equal pay.
“We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past twelve seasons. We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show’s success and aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close,” Chuck Lorre Productions wrote in a statement.