It all started with the big bang! It's hard to believe that it's been over a decade since we were first introduced to Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, two illustrious physicists with nerdy tendencies, a friend group of other intelligent dorks, and a hot blonde female neighbor who just moved into the apartment across the hall. Ten years later, fans are still enamored by Big Bang Theory, which is the main reason behind the series' massive success.
As of 2017, the cast is worth over $280 million with Kaley Cuoco — who is newly engaged to her bae Karl Cook — taking home a whopping $1 million per episode. And 32-year-old Kaley isn't the only cast member raking in the dough. Her co-stars Jim Parsons — who plays Sheldon — and Johnny Galecki — who plays Leonard — also make $1 million an ep. Not only is that a pretty sweet deal but amazingly, the show has the street cred to warrant such high salaries. At least in terms of viewership. With over 12.6 million viewers tuning in for the Season 10 finale of BBT, it was a no-brainer to bring back the show.
After Season 10 aired, there was a decent amount of speculation as to whether or not Sheldon, Penny, and the rest of their nerd gang would return to our screens. At the time, Kayley told Jimmy Kimmel it was "an expensive question." But with an explosive amount of viewership and diehard fans campaigning for another season, Big Bang did return with a two-season contract.
"We're back. We got two years. We're thrilled," Kayley said on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
With a total of 12 seasons under the cast's belt so far, there's no telling just how far Big Bang will go — or how long it will stay on the air. Even Jim Parsons can't believe the series has made it thus far.
"Everyone made it [to the table read]," he said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. "And everyone looked basically the same. We have one pregnant cast member, Melissa, which I'm happy about. She's so tiny it just looks like she overate. It's crazy walking in for the eleventh year," he added.
"It's really a severe bit of arrested development, I have to tell you," the 44-year-old actor continued. "I know there's a part of my brain that just does not understand that I was 33 and I'm not anymore. This show's going to end at some point and I'm going to be like, 'I can't wear this anymore. I'm an old man!'"
Another fascinating part of Big Bang Theory that captivates its audience is that one of their cast members actually has a Ph.D. Mayim Bailik, a 42-year-old mom of two, is actually a neuroscientist in real life and acquired her Ph.D. from UCLA.
"When I auditioned for the part, on my resume under 'miscellaneous,' it says 'Ph.D., Neuroscience' because I didn't know where else to put it on an acting resume," Mayim said on Conan.
Mayim revealed that her degree sometimes comes in super handy on-set. In the event that the show writers ever get minute details wrong, Mayim — thanks to her extensive background in neuroscience — is able to fact check and alert them if they get some of the scientific facts wrong.
"When they brought me back for the fourth season, [they] said they figured why not make her what I am so that I can fix small [details] if they're wrong but generally, they get everything right," she added.
Now that the show has been on for 11 seasons — going on 12 — many fans need a refresher on the cast list. Keep reading to see the full cast list and then and now pictures of where the cast is now in 2018!
Big Bang Theory cast list
Big Bang Theory stars Kayley Cuoco as Penny, Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter, Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz, and Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali. It also features Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski and Mayim Balik — who has a PhD in neuroscience in real life! — as Amy Farrah Fowler.