While The Big Bang Theory ending was emotional for Kaley Cuoco, she describes it as a gift to start over in Hollywood via The Flight Attendant.
The Big Bang Theory ending allowed Kaley Cuoco to start new in Hollywood. Playing Penny since the show debuted in 2007, the actress was part of the show’s main cast until it wrapped up in 2019 after 12 seasons. While Cuoco revealed that she would gladly continue playing the part, its capping off allowed her to move forward with other endeavors.
On the heels of The Big Bang Theory’s end, Cuoco didn’t slow down and immediately plotted her next project. She decided to produce and star in The Flight Attendant, a dark comedy/thriller for HBO Max. It was supposed to be a limited series, but following a series of nominations, not to mention a growing fan base, the show was eventually renewed for a second season. Given this, Cuoco’s transition from the sitcom couldn’t have gone much more smoothly, and she knows that. This is why despite being emotional for having to leave Penny behind after more than a decade, she feels like it was an opportunity she was granted to venture out of the sitcom world that she had been inhabiting for a long time.
Speaking with E! Online, Cuoco shares that The Big Bang Theory getting canceled when it did ultimately felt like she “got this gift of starting over.” Of course, a big part of this is because The Flight Attendant is so revered, but it’s also worth noting that the actress has been mostly known for doing sitcoms in her years in Hollywood. So branching out of it felt like a new path for her.
“I feel like I’m just beginning, which makes crazy sense since I’ve been in the business for 30 years. But I’ve gotten this new kind of opportunity and I think with Flight Attendant and me working my ass off to get that thing off the ground, I just have a new appreciation for the business. It’s not easy and you can’t stop. I don’t want to stop.”
It’s no secret that The Big Bang Theory could’ve very well continued for several more years. The sitcom was able to maintain its popularity until the end, and it remained a ratings monster for CBS, so much so that the network was willing to order another year. This is despite the massive pay packet that its stars are getting; Cuoco and her main co-stars were reportedly getting $1 million per episode. Even the actress admits that there’s a slim chance that they will be compensated that way, but given the sitcom’s appeal, it appears to have been worth it for the network. Narratively speaking, however, Cuoco has been open about wanting to come back to play Penny, much like the rest of its primary cast, except for Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon.
While there’s presumably a massive pay cut for Cuoco, and arguably more work since she’s also producing The Flight Attendant, the actress couldn’t be any happier with her new pursuits. The Big Bang Theory was comfortable and familiar for her, but it was also restrictive as it limited the other projects that she could’ve done outside of it. Now, she’s able to try several projects where she could flex her acting muscles.