The Unaired Pilot
It’s a classic concept – a bunch of nerds and a blonde who’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But tried and true ended up working amazingly for The Big Bang Theory, which has now dominated the airwaves for over a decade! However, it wasn’t always a hit. After CBS decided not to pick up the original pilot, so the producers ditched the characters of Gilda, a scientist, and Katie, the street-hardened neighbor, and replaced them with Penny. The network liked the concept change, and the rest is history.
Penny & Leonard In Real Life?
It turns out that life imitates art sometimes, and Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco had a steamy off-screen romance during the time their characters on the show dated. The stars made the choice to keep mum about their relationship, because they didn’t want it to affect the writers’ ideas for future storylines. The couple called it quits after two years, but they parted ways amicably and are happy to keep working with each other on set.
We are sure that you’ll be shocked to learn exactly how much cash the show’s three main actors – Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, and Kaley Cuoco – are actually raking in. The trio are getting paid, before taxes, a cool $1 million per episode! They are officially the highest paid actors on TV. Their high salaries make production costs of the show around $8 million per episode – and around half of that money is strictly used for paying the three cash cows.
In a heartwarming display of solidarity with their fellow cast members, in their most recent contract, the five original cast members decided to take a pay cut in order for Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch to be paid more. Jim Parsons Kaley Cuoco, and Johnny Galecki agreed to get just $900,000 per episode, instead of $1 million. Well, when you’re getting paid that much money anyway, $100,000 is pretty much pocket change. It’s nice to know that the cast isn’t greedy.
Mayim Doesn’t Watch The Show
Mayim Bialik’s main claim to fame was starring as a child on the TV series “Blossom.” Since then, she hadn’t really done much acting and The Big Bang Theory was her first major role on the small screen. But despite her resurgence in popularity, Mayim isn’t caught up in the Hollywood scene. She is an Orthodox Jew and religiously observant, and has stated in multiple interviews that, “I don’t have a TV [at home], so I don’t really watch the show.”
Soft Kitty Scandal?
Everyone is familiar with Sheldon’s hilarious calm down song “Soft Kitty.” However, you may be shocked to find out that the song was allegedly stolen! Apparently, the song used on the show has almost the exact same lyrics as a poem written by New Hampshire teacher Edith Newlin in 1937. Edith’s daughters sued the producers of The Big Bang Theory demanding royalties and credit. However, a US Federal judge dismissed their lawsuit and claimed the case had no merit.
The set of The Big Bang Theory was definitely not the place that most of the cast met for the first time. Kaley Cuoco and Jim Parsons were friends before the series, and after she was cast as Penny, Kaley actually suggested to the producers that they give an audition to Jim as she thought he’d make “the perfect Sheldon.” Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki had appeared on multiple episodes of the ’90s sitcom Roseanne together and remained in touch.
Theme Song Drama
One of the show’s signature features is its original theme song, written and performed by Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies. But there’s been major drama and even a lawsuit filed over it! Steven Page, the song’s former lead singer, left the group and claims that he’s being cheated out of his fair share of the profits for the song. He claimed in court documents that Ed Robertson is reaping all the benefits and not splitting the profits like he promised he would.
Mayim Bialik was on the show before she actually was on the show. Wait, we’ll explain. Basically, in an episode where Sheldon drops out of a quiz bowl, the other guys are left scrambling looking for his replacement. Raj ends up suggesting Mayim Bialik: “You know who’s apparently very smart, is the girl who played TV’s Blossom. She got a PhD. in neuroscience or something.” Leonard said, “Raj, we’re not getting TV’s Blossom to join our physics bowl team.”
Call it an oversight, or an intentional air of mystery. For some reason, Penny is the only character on The Big Bang Theory who doesn’t have a last name…or at least, it hasn’t been revealed yet. Some fans have theorized that maybe because there will be a big reveal where its shown that Penny has the same last name as one of the guys, making them related. But for some reason, it’s really hard for us to imagine her as Penny Wolowitz.
Jim Nailed The Audition
It’s a super rare occurrence in the notoriously fickle industry that is show business, but actor Jim Parsons was so amazing in his audition that the producers actually hired him on the spot for the role of Sheldon Cooper. As we mentioned earlier, Jim was actually was suggested to producers by Kaley Cuoco, as they were friends before the show and she thought he was a natural fit for the part. Apparently, she was right, and he’s been Sheldon ever since!
Only One Real Life Nerd
Despite the fact that all the actors on the show are great at pretending to be geniuses, there’s only one real-life nerd in the cast. Mayim Bialik is the sole member of the show to actually have a Ph.D. offscreen, despite the guys’ convincing performances. In fact, Simon Helberg, who plays Howard, dropped out of college, Kunal Nayyal left school just a few credits short of getting his degree, and Johnny Galecki never even went to college at all.
What’s All The Buzz About?
The Big Bang Theory has some major scientific cred under its belt – Mayim Bialik is a legit neuroscientist, and each episode uses real science terms and jokes. But most of all, Brazilian scientists discovered a new species of bee and named it in honor of the show! The bee, known as Euglossa bazinga, is a reference to Sheldon’s signature “Bazinga!” which he says after making a sarcastic joke. Producers and staff have openly said how much they appreciate it.
Sheldon Cooper doesn’t seem to have the easiest time verbally expressing his emotions with words, so he lets his T-shirts do the talking for him. In most of the show’s episodes, Sheldon can be seen wearing vintage T-shirts depicting comic book superhero The Green Lantern. The shirts are differently colored and have different symbols. Basically, the colors represent different emotions in the comics (Purple = passion, Red = anger) so Sheldon’s shirts clue us into what his mood is that day.
Kaley Cuoco Wasn’t Originally Penny
It’s pretty much impossible to imagine the not-so-bright but lovable waitress Penny being played by anyone except Kaley Cuoco, but actress Amanda Walsh was originally chosen for the role. And it wasn’t just the actress playing Penny that got changed – the character, originally named Katie, was supposed to be completely different: a hard-drinking, sarcastic waitress who engaged in snippy banter with the boys. Network executives decided to switch it up and Penny’s actress was switched, along with the concept of her character.
Trekkie In Real Life?
The character of Sheldon Cooper is a diehard Star Trek fan, or “Trekkie” as they call themselves. He can recall even the most obscure piece of Star Trek trivia at the drop of a hat, but in real life, Jim Parsons couldn’t be farther from Sheldon in this specific aspect. Believe it or not, Jim has never seen even a single episode of the classic sci-fi series and hasn’t watched any of the movies either. Who would’ve thought?
Different Theme Song?
The Big Bang Theory’s original theme song by Barenaked Ladies, which is chock full of clever science jokes, has always been a big favorite among fans. So you may be surprised to hear that the show was supposed to have a different theme song – the 1983 classic by one-hit wonder Thomas Dolby “She Blinded Me With Science.” It was used only in the unaired pilot (which had a different actress playing Penny) and can be heard as Howard’s occasional ringtone.
Stephen Hawking Guest Starred…
The Big Bang Theory has risen from being a light-hearted prime-time sitcom to a major cultural phenomenon. How do you know that the show has reached a true level of cultural significance? Well, when renowned British theoretical physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking agrees to do a guest spot on your show, then you really know that you’re legit. He’s a hero to Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj, so they’re super thrilled in an episode when he lectures at their university.
…And So Did Other Big Names
Dr. Stephen Hawking isn’t the only big name from the science and technology worlds to try his hand at acting on The Big Bang Theory. Fans of the show were thrilled when cult sensation Bill Nye, best known from the ’90s Nickelodeon show Bill Nye The Science Guy made a special appearance on the show. Tesla founder and innovator Elon Musk, best known for his billionaire lifestyle, also had a guest role on the episode “The Platonic Permutation.”
The show isn’t just a massive commercial success – it’s also acclaimed by critics, and has the awards to back it up. Since 2009, the show has been nominated for a whopping 48 Emmy awards and won nine, the most prominent one being Jim Parsons winning Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series. The show has also earned a grand total of seven Golden Globes nominations, with Jim Parsons again winning the golden statue for his part as Sheldon Cooper on the series.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre certainly didn’t feel that way after seeing a clip of a Belorussian rip off of the show, titled The Theorists. The Belorussian bootleg version featured the exact same storylines, just translated into Russian, and the exact same premise as the American version of the show. However, the series just wasn’t a hit in Belarus and went off the air after only one brief season.
We’ve already gone over what a success The Big Bang Theory is. From its cult following and cultural popularity to its nearly 50 Emmy award nomination, it’s clear that the show is a big hit. Shockingly, there is a new series in the works based on the show – Young Sheldon, which is about exactly what you think. This is the only time we’ve seen a network order a new series based on one of the main characters as a child.
We’re used to digital trickery or computer magic, but there’s none of that on the set of The Big Bang Theory. Believe it or not, the cast all actually learned in real life how to play the instruments that their characters play on the show. Jim Parsons learned how to play the extremely challenging theremin (and less difficult recorder), Johnny Galecki learned how to play the cello, and Simon Helberg mastered the piano, as his character is an accomplished piano player.
In TV, continuity counts, and with the advent of the Internet, fans are quick to notice and point out whenever there’s been a mistake made. So, producers have carefully hidden the fact that floors two, three, and four of the boys’ apartment building are actually the same exact set. Basically, this means that Raj, Bernadette, and Howard’s apartments are all the same thing, just switched up with different props for each scene. That’s why they’re never shown on the same episode.
A Different Sheldon?
In most people’s minds, the character of Sheldon Cooper is basically inseparable from actor Jim Parsons, and Leonard Hofstadter could never be played by anyone except Johnny Galecki. But you might be totally shocked to learn that before Jim auditioned for the part of Sheldon, Johnny Galecki was originally the producers’ choice for Sheldon! However, once Jim auditioned for the part, he nailed the role so well that he was offered the part on the spot. The rest is history.
Meaningful Show Titles
The Big Bang Theory has had its fair share of events to make its science background more legit – from an original theme song that’s full of nerdy science references to special cameo appearances by Bill Nye The Science Guy, the legendary Dr. Stephen Hawking, and Tesla founder Elon Musk. But probably the most distinctive nerdy thing about the show is that all the episode titles are named after scientific discoveries or theories. An example: “Father Of String Theory.”
The Voice Of Reason
Dr. Bernadette Maryann Rostenkowski (Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, actually, since she added Howard’s last name to her own after they married) is probably best known for her…let’s put this politely…distinctive voice. But in real life, actress Melissa Rauch doesn’t sound anything like Bernadette. Melissa was born and raised in Marlboro, New Jersey, and has said in multiple interviews that she has to consciously hide her thick “Jersey girl” accent when she’s playing Bernadette. No word on whether or not she screeches like Bernadette, though.
Real Life Similarities
Jim Parsons is such a good actor that it’s hard to imagine him outside of his role as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. The two seem to be pretty much opposites – Jim isn’t a geek in real life. He’s interested in pop culture and modern-day TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and is an avid football fan. But Sheldon and Jim share one important thing in common – they are both born and bred Texas boys. Who would’ve thought?
The Show Had Another Title
We’ve already mentioned previously how different the show was, originally. In the unaired alternative pilot episode, Penny was played as a tough-talking, street-wise heavy drinking, party girl by actress Amanda Walsh. The show’s theme song was not the beloved Barenaked Ladies track – it was “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby. And perhaps most shockingly, the show wasn’t even called The Big Bang Theory at all! The original working title of the show was Lenny, Penny, and Kenny.
Behind The Names
They say “what’s in a name?” and in the case of many of the characters on The Big Bang Theory, the answer is: quite a lot! For example, Howard is named after a real-life Howard Wolowitz who one of the producers of the show worked with on another series. Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper aren’t just random names – Sheldon and Leonard were chosen specifically in honor of two different Nobel Prize-winning physicists.