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The Big Bang Theory
Genre Sitcom
Created by Chuck Lorre
Bill Prady
Directed by Mark Cendrowski
Theme music composer Barenaked Ladies
Opening theme "Big Bang Theory Theme"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 12
No. of episodes 279 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Chuck Lorre
Steven Molaro
Bill Prady
Eric Kaplan
Producer(s) Faye Oshima Belyeu
Editor(s) Peter Chakos
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 18–22 minutes
Production company(s) Chuck Lorre Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network CBS
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release September 24, 2007 (2007-09-24) – May 16, 2019 (2019-05-16)
Related shows Young Sheldon

The Big Bang Theory is an American television sitcom. It was created and executive produced by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. It was first shown on CBS on September 24, 2007.

Eleven seasons have been shown. The show's twelfth season was its last.

A prequel series, Young Sheldon, began in 2017.




  • Deborah "Debbie" Wolowitz (voiced by Carol Ann Susi (seasons 1-8 (2007-2014)))
  • Leslie Winkle (played by Sara Gilbert (seasons 1 (2007-2008) and 3 (2009-2010)))

Series overview

Seasons Episodes Originally aired DVD release date Nielsen ratings
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 U.S. viewers
Rank 18–49 rating/share
1 17 September 24, 2007 (2007-09-24) May 19, 2008 (2008-05-19) September 2, 2008 January 12, 2009 April 3, 2009 8.31 59 3.3/9 (TBA)
2 23 September 22, 2008 (2008-09-22) May 11, 2009 (2009-05-11) September 15, 2009 October 19, 2009 March 3, 2010 10.00 42 3.8/10 (TBA)
3 23 September 21, 2009 (2009-09-21) May 24, 2010 (2010-05-24) September 14, 2010 September 27, 2010 October 13, 2010 14.12 12 5.3/13 (5)
4 24 September 23, 2010 (2010-09-23) May 19, 2011 (2011-05-19) September 13, 2011 September 26, 2011 October 5, 2011 13.14 13 4.4/13 (7)
5 24 September 22, 2011 (2011-09-22) May 10, 2012 (2012-05-10) September 11, 2012 September 3, 2012 October 3, 2012 15.82 8 5.5/16 (5)

Production history

The show was first developed for the 2006-2007 television season. At that time, it was very different from the show that was later broadcast. Only Jim Parsons & Johnny Galecki were part of the original pilot. The character now played by Kaley Cuoco was much meaner to the geeks. CBS did not pick the show up, but gave Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre a second chance. They brought in Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar. They retooled the show.

The second pilot of The Big Bang Theory was directed by award-winning television directing veteran James Burrows. He decided not to stay with the show. This reworked pilot led to a 13-episode order by CBS on May 14, 2007. Before its airing on CBS, the pilot episode was distributed on iTunes free of charge. The show premiered September 24, 2007. It was picked up for a full 22-episode season order on October 19, 2007.

Production on the show was halted on November 6, 2007 by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. When the strike ended, the show was picked up for a second season for the 2008-2009 television season.

The show returned on March 17, 2008 . It had an earlier time slot and nine new episodes. The second season premiered, in the same slot, on September 22, 2008. During that season, the show's ratings grew. That led to a two-year renewal through the 2010-11 season.

David Saltzberg, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles, checks scripts and provides dialogue, math equations and diagrams used as props. He says he is more consultant than contributor. Executive producer/co-creator Bill Prady said, "In fact, we're working on giving Sheldon an actual problem that he's going to be working on throughout the [first] season so there's actual progress to the boards ... We worked hard to get all the science right."

Theme song

Barenaked Ladies wrote and recorded the theme song, which describes developments the universe has undergone since the dawn of time. On October 9, 2007, a full-length (1 minute and 45 second) version of the song was released.

DVD/Blu-ray releases

DVD and Blu-ray release dates for The Big Bang Theory
DVD Name Release dates Ep # Additional Information
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season September 2, 2008 January 12, 2009 April 3, 2009 17 The 3-disc box set has all the 17 episodes. The one extra feature is an 18-minute short entitled "Quantum Mechanics of The Big Bang Theory: Series Cast and Creators on Why It's Cool to Be a Geek." Running Time: 355 minutes.
The Complete Second Season September 15, 2009 October 19, 2009 March 3, 2010 23 The 4-disc box set has all the 23 episodes. Special features include a Gag Reel, "Physicist to the Stars: Real-Life Physicist/UCLA professor David Saltzberg's consulting relationship to the Show", and "Testing the Infinite Hilarity Hypothesis in relation to the Big Bang Theory: Season 2's Unique Characters and Characteristics." Running Time: 481 minutes.
The Complete Third Season September 14, 2010 September 27, 2010 October 13, 2010 23 The 3-disc box set has all the 23 episodes. Special features include a set tour with Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, an inside look on the third season and a gag reel. This is the first time a season of the show was released on Blu-ray Disc in a 2-Disc Set, with the DVD release. Running Time: 472 minutes.
The Complete Fourth Season September 13, 2011 September 26, 2011 October 5, 2011 24 The 3-disc box set has all the 24 episodes. Special features include the story of the show's theme song with Barenaked Ladies, cast interviews with each other and a gag reel. Running time: 529 minutes. Also available on Blu-ray as a 2-disc set, with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the recording of "The Wildebeest Implementation."
The Complete Fifth Season September 11, 2012 September 3, 2012 October 1, 2012 24 The 3-disc box set has all the 24 episodes. Special features include a featurette on the show's 100th episode, interviews and a gag reel. Running time: 552 minutes. Also available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with UltraViolet download.
The Complete Sixth Season September 10, 2013 September 2, 2013 24
  • Despite the third and fourth seasons receiving Blu-ray releases with their DVD releases, the first and second seasons were only available on DVD when they were released. Warner Bros. has then released the first two seasons on Blu-ray/DVD combo packs with UltraViolet downloads on July 10, 2012. All of the episodes from seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-ray received newly edited surround-sound audio, with the first season including a never-before-seen gag reel, which was not included during the initial first season DVD release.


U.S. standard ratings

In the following summary, "rating" is the percentage of all households with televisions that tuned to the show, and "share" is the percentage of all televisions in use at that time that are tuned in. "18-49" is the percentage of all adults aged 18–49 tuned into the show. "Viewers" is the number of viewers, in millions, watching at the time. "Rank" is how well the show did compared to other TV shows aired that week.

Seasonal ratings

Seasonal ratings based on average total viewers per episode of The Big Bang Theory on CBS:

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 Monday 8:30 P.M. (September 24 – November 12, 2007)
Monday 8:00 P.M. (March 17 – May 19, 2008)
September 24, 2007 May 19, 2008 2007–2008 #59 8.31
2 Monday 8:00 P.M. (September 22, 2008 – May 11, 2009) September 22, 2008 May 18, 2009 2008–2009 #42 10.00
3 Monday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 2009 – May 24, 2010) September 21, 2009 May 24, 2010 2009–2010 #12 14.12

UK distribution and ratings

The show made its UK debut on Channel 4 on February 14, 2008 bringing in an average audience of 1.0 million viewers. The second episode, shown the following week, also received 1.0 million. For the third episode an average of 1.1 million tuned in. The show is also shown as a 'first-look' on Channel 4's digital offshoot E4 the preceding evening, and brings in 400,000 viewers on average. The 5th episode received 880,000 viewers. After the first 5 episodes, the average number of viewers continues to hover around the 1 million mark. Episode 13 was watched by 1.3 million viewers and was the most watched episode.

In December 2008, Virgin Media made the first nine episodes of the first season available to watch on its TV Choice On Demand service, and the rest of Season 1 was made available in January 2009.

International broadcast

The show is also broadcast in:

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