The Big Bang Theory may be ending after season 12, but the gang’s adventures could easily continue if CBS decides to launch another spinoff. Officially wrapping up after 12 seasons, The Big Bang Theory will game over as the longest-running multi-camera series in primetime TV history. While the show has had its fair share of critics, it remains a rating juggernaut for CBS, posting an average of 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers an episode in Live+Same Day for its 24-episode 11th season. And with the show beelining towards the end, more people might actually tune to it when it comes back on the air next month.
Debuting in 2007, The Big Bang Theory initially started with only five main characters Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar), with Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) only getting promoted to series regulars by season 4. CBS didn’t have any plans of canceling the show, as they were even having internal talks about possibly ordering season 13 earlier this month. But with Parsons reportedly not interested in returning, the station opted to just cancel the show rather than risk continuing it without one of its lead characters. Despite its cancellation, CBS can continue to capitalize on the sitcom’s success by launching another spinoff.
The Big Bang Theory already has one offshoot, Young Sheldon, which follows the early years of Parsons’ fan-favorite character. Given how that survived the transition, it’s not out of the question for CBS to roll out another spinoff, this time centering on one or two main characters from the sitcom; based on reports pieced together with comments from other cast members about the show’s nearing end, it seems like most of the core cast are still willing to continue reprising their roles moving forward.
Sheldon and Amy (by default) are surely out in the running due to Parsons’ reluctance, but the rest of the characters are available to be utilized. Given this, CBS has two options in terms of launching a new show. First is one obviously following Leonard and Penny. Since their shotgun wedding a few seasons ago, the show’s principal couple has been noticeably cast aside with little actual progress in their married life. At one point, they even acknowledged this problem, but that still didn’t give them any concrete narrative moving forward. And that may be an issue for any spinoff: the two’s relationship is so stereotypical (and has already been overdone) that it’s difficult to find a new angle strong enough for a separate show.
The second option is to launch a show focusing on Howard and Raj (surely also including Howard’s family and Bernadette). The best friends’ relationship has been quite controversial in The Big Bang Theory, mostly mocked considering that they tend to act more like a couple than just pals. That unique bond, though, makes them the perfect subject of a new show. Further, as much as they’re interesting together, they’re also quite fun to watch separately, especially since they’re both in the midst of some life-changing events – Howard with fatherhood and Raj with his newfound sense of confidence and independence.
It’s important to note, however, that despite The Big Bang Theory having seven main characters, Sheldon is surely its main protagonist. He has been at the forefront of almost every huge narrative of the show, and even when they’re not tackling his story, he remains a focal point thanks to his quirks. As much as Young Sheldon has built its own fandom, a huge chunk of its success is because it still focuses on the fan-favorite character. CBS needs to make sure that there’s an enticing hook for any other potential spin-off considering that it will be totally devoid of Sheldon.
The Big Bang Theory season 12 and Young Sheldon season 2 premiere September 24 on CBS.