Having finally—some might say cruelly—managed to pass the existential taint of pop culture fixture Sheldon Cooper on to the young shoulders of poor, doomed Iain Armitage, Jim Parsons is finally free. That’s the takeaway from an Entertainment Weekly article today, which strongly implies that CBS decided to kill its laugh track-assisted golden goose, The Big Bang Theory, because star Parsons told them he was Bazing-done with the series after 12 seasons on the air.
CBS announced yesterday that the show’s upcoming 12th season will be its last, despite the fact that the series is still an unstoppable ratings juggernaut. There’s been some speculation that the network was winding things down due to rising cast salaries—a two-year renewal would have seen the network spending nearly $50 million a piece on Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, and Johnny Galecki, and almost as much for the rest of the series’ regular cast—but now it’s sounding like Parsons was the biggest actual factor in the decision to say goodbye. (Say what you like about Sheldon’s various catchphrases and tics, but it’s hard to imagine the show continuing successfully without the presence of its most distinctive voice.)
CBS hasn’t commented on questions about Parsons’ decision to depart the show; rather, the network issued a statement today praising its cast and crew. Parsons himself did something similar, writing a heartfelt Instagram post in which he noted that, “I feel such intense gratitude for our devoted viewers who are the ACTUAL reason we have been graced with the opportunity to explore these characters for 12 years of our lives.”