Could ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Survive Without These Cast Members?

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory | CBS

As The Big Bang Theory heads into its 10th season, one big question remains: Will this be the comedy’s final run? With contracts for all of the series regulars expiring after Season 10 and new deals yet to be finalized, the cast’s future on the show is still up in the air. Showrunner Steven Molaro recently revealed how the ongoing talks are impacting his approach to the upcoming season and whether there’s a possibility of the sitcom returning without some of its core cast members.

The last time The Big Bang Theory cast underwent contract negotiations was back in 2014. The talks delayed the start of production, but eventually resulted in major pay bumps for all of the series regulars and a three season renewal from CBS. This time around, the whole core cast — including Jim Parsons (Sheldon), Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Simon Helberg (Howard), Kunal Nayyar (Raj), Mayim Bialik (Amy), and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette) — will once again be seeking raises, with the three main stars expected to team together for renegotiations, as they’ve done in past years.

With the show facing an uncertain future, Molaro says he’s taking an episode-by-episode approach to the next season. “All we can do right now is focus on Season 10 and go script by script, which is what we would be doing anyway,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “As far as I’m concerned, here in the writers’ room, it’s business as usual: moving forward with the characters and letting them live their lives day by day and feeling out what happens with them.”

Unlike the last round of contract renewals, this year’s talks didn’t impact the beginning of production in any way. In fact, the cast has already shot several episodes of Season 10 and is expected to move forward with filming as planned, despite the pending talks.

The Big Bang Theory | CBS

The Big Bang Theory | CBS

Molaro explained further per The Hollywood Reporter:

We don’t really arc out stories too far, and we let things happen organically, and if things catch us by surprise — like Bernadette being pregnant or something like that — if it feels right, we go with it. It’s more of that and if and when we know something that’s actual information that can be helpful [regarding the contracts], we may do something differently, but until then, we’re sticking to the game plan.

Molaro also discussed whether there’s a chance that the sitcom could move forward, should one or more of the series regulars opt not to return. Though it may be hard for fans to imagine The Big Bang Theory without Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, or any of the rest of the crew, the showrunner didn’t completely rule out the possibility.

“I have no idea. I think it would certainly be different and weird,” he said of the potential of continuing the show without its core cast members, also adding, “There’s no point in me wondering what it could be when I have 19 scripts staring down at me that need to get written.”

Whether or not The Big Bang Theory could survive the departure of some of its cast members is up for debate, but there’s no reason for viewers to panic, as it likely won’t come to that. Several of the stars have made it clear they’re not planning on leaving the show anytime soon, with Cuoco even recently taking to Instagram to refute rumors of her departure.

the big bang theory

The Big Bang Theory | CBS

In August, CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller also suggested that he expected nothing but smooth sailing in negotiations, saying, “We are very confident that everyone involved wants more Big Bang past year 10 and I know Warner Bros. will make those deals.”

Considering that The Big Bang Theory is currently the top-rated comedy on TV, it’s no surprise that the network is eager to keep the series around, even if it’ll mean forking over more money for the cast salaries. Fans will have to stay tuned for more details, as the pending negotiations play out.

In the meantime, The Big Bang Theory returns to CBS on Monday, September 19 at 8 p.m. before moving to its regular time slot on Thursdays starting October 27.

Check out Entertainment Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

More from Entertainment Cheat Sheet: