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Big Bang TheoryThe Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom serve as executive producers on the show, along with Steven Molaro. All three also serve as head writers. It premiered on CBS on September 24, 2007.

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The show is centered on five characters: Roommates Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, two physicists who work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech); Penny, a blonde waitress and aspiring actress who lives across the hall; and Leonard and Sheldon's equally geeky and socially awkward friends and co-workers aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz and astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali. The geekiness and intellect of the four guys is contrasted for comic effect with Penny's social skills and common sense. Three other supporting characters have also been promoted to starring roles: Leslie Winkle, a physicist colleague at Caltech and, at different times, a lover of both Leonard and Howard; Bernadette Rostenkowski, a microbiologist and part-time waitress alongside Penny, and Howard's fiancee; and Amy Farrah Fowler, a neurobiologist who joins the group after being matched to Sheldon on a dating website.
The show is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions. In August 2009, the sitcom won the best comedy series TCA award and Jim Parsons (Sheldon) won the award for individual achievement in comedy. In 2010, the show won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Comedy, while Parsons won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. On January 16, 2011, Parsons was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical, an award that was presented by co-star Kaley Cuoco (Penny). On September 18, 2011, Parsons was again awarded an Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.

When the third season premiered on September 21, 2009, Big Bang Theory ranked as CBS's highest-rated show of that evening in the adults 18–49 demographic (4.6/10), along with a then-series-high 12.83 million viewers. On May 19, 2010, it was announced that CBS would be moving the show to Thursdays at 8:00 ET for the 2010–2011 schedule. On January 12, 2011, CBS announced that the show had been renewed for an additional three years, extending it through the 2013–2014 season. The fifth season premiered on September 22, 2011, in its usual time slot with two back-to-back episodes.

The show's initial pilot, developed for the 2006–07 television season, was substantially different from its current form. The only characters from the initial pilot that were kept for the reshot pilot for the series were Leonard and Sheldon (portrayed by Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons respectively). The cast was rounded off by two female leads: Canadian actress Amanda Walsh as Katie, "a street-hardened, tough-as-nails. woman with a vulnerable interior" who the boys meet after she breaks up with her boyfriend and invite to live in their apartment (Katie was effectively replaced by Penny in the second pilot); and Iris Bahr as Gilda, a scientist colleague and friend of the boys who was threatened by Katie's presence. The initial pilot used Thomas Dolby's hit "She Blinded Me With Science" as theme music.

The series was not picked up, but the creators were given an opportunity to retool the show and produce a second pilot. They brought in the remaining cast and retooled the show to its final format. The original unaired pilot has never been officially released, but it has circulated on the Internet. On the evolution of the show, Lorre said "We did the 'Big Bang Pilot' about two and a half years ago, and it sucked... but there were two remarkable things that worked perfectly, and that was Johnny and Jim. We rewrote the thing entirely, and then we were blessed with Kaley and Simon and Kunal." As to whether the world will ever see that original pilot, maybe on a DVD, Lorre said "Wow that would be something, we will see. Show your failures..."

The first and second pilots of The Big Bang Theory were directed by James Burrows, who did not continue with the show. The reworked second pilot led to a 13-episode order by CBS on May 14, 2007. Prior to its airing on CBS, the pilot episode was distributed on iTunes free of charge. The show premiered September 24, 2007, and was picked-up for a full 22-episode season on October 19, 2007. However, production was halted on November 6, 2007 due to the Writers Guild of America strike. The series returned on March 17, 2008 in an earlier time slot and ultimately only 17 episodes were produced. After the strike ended, the show was picked up for a second season airing in the 2008–2009 season, premiering in the same time slot on September 22, 2008. With increasing ratings, the show received a two-year renewal through the 2010–11 season. Since then, the show has been picked up for three more seasons.

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. According to executive producer/co-creator Bill Prady, "We're working on giving Sheldon an actual problem that he's going to be working on throughout the season so there's actual progress to the boards ... We worked hard to get all the science right."

Several of the actors in The Big Bang Theory worked together previously on Roseanne including Johnny Galecki, Sara Gilbert, and Laurie Metcalf (who plays Sheldon's mother, Mary Cooper). Additionally, Lorre was a writer on the series for several seasons.

The Canadian alternative rock band Barenaked Ladies wrote and recorded the show's 30-second theme song, which describes the history and formation of the universe and the Earth. Ed Robertson, a lead singer and guitarist in the band, was asked by Lorre and Prady to write a theme song for the show. Having been asked to write songs for other films and shows only to have them rejected in favor of another artist's, Robertson agreed to write a theme only after learning that he was the sole writer that Lorre and Prady had asked. He drew inspiration from Simon Singh's book, Big Bang, which he had coincidentally just finished reading.

On October 9, 2007, a full-length (1 minute and 45 seconds) version of the song was released commercially. In a 2010 issue of TV Guide, the show’s opening title sequence ranked No. 6 on a list of television's top 10 credits sequences, as selected by readers.

For the first three seasons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons, the three main stars of the show, received at most $60,000 per episode. The salary for the three went up to $200,000 per episode for the fourth season. According to their contracts, their pay will go up an additional $50,000 per episode in each of the following three seasons, culminating in $350,000 per episode in the seventh season.

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