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 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 per episode. Not only is that a pretty sweet deal, but amazingly, the show has a reason to warrant such high salaries, at least in terms of viewership. With more than 12.6 million viewers tuning in for the season 10 finale of Big Bang Theory, it was a no-brainer to bring back the show.
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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 die-hard fans campaigning for another season, Big Bang Theory 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 Theory will go — or how long it will stay on the air. Even Jim Parsons can’t believe the series has made it this 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.
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“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 doctorate of philosophy in neuroscience Mayim Bailik, a 42-year-old mom of two, is actually a neuroscientist in real life and acquired her degree from UCLA.
“When I auditioned for the part, on my résumé under ‘miscellaneous,’ it says ‘Ph.D., neuroscience’ because I didn’t know where else to put it on an acting résumé,” Mayim said on Conan.
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Mayim revealed that her degree sometimes comes in handy on-set. In the event that the show writers ever get minute details wrong, Mayim is able to fact check.
“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 doctorate of philosophy in neuroscience in real life! — as Amy Farrah Fowler.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Life & Style.
Kayley Cuoco Big Bang Cast Where Are They NowKaley Cuoco (Penny Hofstadter) in 2007 vs. 2018 Kaley plays Penny, Leonard's love interest from the moment she moves into the apartment across the hall from him. They wed in Season 9 then re-marry again in Season 10 and now live together in Apartment 4A. In 2018, Kaley will star in the TV movie The Flight Attendant.
Jim Parsons Big Bang Theory Cast Then And NowJim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper) in 2007 vs. 2017 The 44-year-old star portrays Dr. Sheldon Cooper, the YouTuber behind the fictional hit web series "Fun With Flags" and a Caltech theoretical physicist who has a B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., Sc.D. to his name. While starring on Big Bang Jim simultaneously provides voice over for the Big Bang Theory spinoff series, Young Sheldon, which was developed as a prequel to his character.
Johnny GaleckiJohnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter) in 2007 vs. 2017 Johnny Galeckie plays Leonard Hofstadter, Ph.D., an experimental physicist who used to live with Sheldon Cooper, and eventually weds Penny on the show. Since taking on Big Bang, Johnny hasn't had many other roles. In 2017, he appeared in the horror movie Rings and currently doesn't have anything slated for 2018 other than BBT.
Simon HelbergSimon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz) in 2007 vs. 2017 Simon plays Howard Wolowitz, a former astronaut and current aerospace engineer, who eventually marries Bernadette on the show. From 2011 to 2016, Simon also worked voicing the character Bian Zao in the animated TV series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. His latest project is the 2018 short film End of the Line.
Kunal NuyyarKunal Nayyar in (Raj Koothrappali) 2007 vs. 2018 Kunal stars as Raj Koothrappali, a character staple of the show since 2007. Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali is an astrophysicist who suffers from a general anxiety disorder called selective mutism. Since working on Big Bang Theory Kunal also voiced the fictional character Guy Diamond in the hit movie Trolls.
Melissa RauchMelissa Rauch in (Bernadette Rostenkowski) 2009 vs. 2017 Melissa joined the cast as Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski Ph.D. back in 2009 and has been a series staple ever since. Her character wed Howard Wolowitz in the Season 5 finale and when the 37-year-old actress became pregnant in real life, Big Bang wrote her pregnancy into the series. Melissa has voiced Tizzy in several episodes of Disney Junior's Sofia the First and will star in the movie Ode to Joy.
Mayim BialikMayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler) in 2011 vs. 2018 Amy Farrah Fowler joined Big Bang as a regular in 2010 as a neurobiologist who Raj found on the internet and chose as a potential girlfriend for Sheldon. By the end of Season 10, Sheldon proposed to Amy and it was revealed in the most recent season, Season 11, that the couple is now engaged. Her next project includes recording voice over for The Inspector Chronicles: Untitled Motion Picture About a Space Traveler Who Can also Travel Through Time.