The hugely popular American sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is coming to an end after 12 seasons, it has been confirmed.

“We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ during the past 12 seasons,” said CBS network and producer/co-writer Chuck Lorre in a joint statement this week. “We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show’s success and aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring [it] to an epic creative close.”

An official reason for the show’s ending, despite its popularity maintaining consistently high after so long, was not given. However, a report from Entertainment Weekly suggested that it was because its lead star, Jim Parsons, felt that it was time to bring an end to the story arc of his character Sheldon Cooper, whom he has played for 257 episodes.

Jim ParsonsJim Parsons is believed to have turned down a deal to do more 'TBBT' episodes

CBS had been trying to negotiate a deal that would have seen ‘The Big Bang Theory’ continue for another two seasons, with Parsons set to earn almost $1 million per episode.

However, he has held firm, and wants to explore new projects. After all, he’s now in his mid-forties, and playing a 20-something character. Parsons will, however, continue to narrate ‘Young Sheldon’, the spin-off series about Cooper, when it returns for its second season and beyond.

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“It is hard (really impossible, actually) to really accept that this is a picture of the first of the final 24 episodes we will shoot for,” Parsons wrote on Instagram this week in reaction to the news, expressing “intense gratitude” for the crew, writers and his fellow cast members.

“I will miss all of you and all of this more than I can say and more than I can know at this time,” he said.

The very last episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is therefore set to air in May 2019, bringing its overall episode count to 279, making it the longest-running multi-camera series in TV history. It originally aired in September 2007.

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