The Big Bang Theory Will Officially End in May After 12 Seasons

It was CBS' most-watched show among total viewers

When The Big Bang Theory goes off the air next May, it will have aired 279 episodes. Michael Yarish/CBS
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One of the most popular TV shows of the last decade is officially preparing for its curtain call.

CBS and Warner Bros. Television confirmed today that The Big Bang Theory will end its run in May 2019 after its 12th and final season. At that point, the series will have aired 279 episodes, making it the longest-running multicamera sitcom in TV history.

In a joint statement, Warner Bros. Television, CBS and Chuck Lorre Productions said, “We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past 12 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.”

Season 12 of the comedy—which stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch—will premiere on Monday, Sept. 24, before moving to its regular Thursday time period on Sept. 27.

The Big Bang Theory remains one of TV’s biggest hits: It was the most-watched show during the 2017–18 season, averaging 18.8 million viewers. CBS routinely uses the juggernaut to help launch several new series each year. During the past several years when the network aired Thursday Night Football during September and October, CBS would temporarily relocate the show to Monday nights to give that lineup an early-season boost.

The show’s conclusion seems like the end of an era, as The Big Bang Theory was the last remaining hit broadcast sitcom that also drew viewers in repeats as well as in syndication, where it is one of TBS’ most-watched shows.

Just two weeks ago, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that he was optimistic the series would continue beyond Season 12.

“We don’t believe it’s the final year,” said Kahl. “We are in preliminary discussions to renew the show.”

Last year, shortly after CBS and Warner Bros. reached a two-year renewal for the show through the upcoming Season 12, executive Chuck Lorre told Adweek he thought that would be it for Big Bang—probably.

Then again, Lorre added, when the cast and crew were just five seasons into the series, “we wouldn’t have anticipated being here for year 11 and 12. So while it seems very likely that we would wrap the show at the end of 12 seasons, it would be presumptuous to say, ‘That’s definitely what’s going to happen!’”

While CBS will be without one of its most popular shows next fall, the Big Bang franchise will likely continue on the network with the prequel comedy Young Sheldon, which was an immediate hit when it debuted last year.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.