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Big Bang Theory’ cast celebrates final episode

HOLLYWOOD — One day after filming the series finale, ending the 12-season run of one of Hollywood’s most popular comedies, the cast of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” sank their hands into cement May 1 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch knelt side-by-side and pressed their hands into the cement, commemorating their work on a series that has been a ratings smash for more than a decade.

Parsons called the honor “the most unbelievably perfect end to this experience. So thank you and thank all of you for creating this. This has been the blessing of a lifetime.”

Galecki said it was an “epic honor” to be recognized at the Chinese Theatre.

“It’s been an incredible ride,” he said. “Thank you all. Thank you to the fans. There is a little part of all of you in these handprints. In the sage words of Winnie the Pooh, ‘How lucky I am to be so sad to say goodbye to something.’ Thank you very much.”

The event came on the heels of an emotional night April 30, when the show’s hour-long finale was taped in Burbank.

Earlier that day, Parsons — the Emmy-winning actor who portrays brainy theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper on the show — posted a photo on his Instagram page of the front door of the TV apartment he has shared with Galecki for the past 12 years.

“Thank you, apartment 4A, for being a home to so many dreams come true, to so many friendships made,” Parsons wrote. “And thank you, all of you — yes, you, reading this right now. As we get ready to tape our final episode, to walk in and out of this apartment door for the last time, it is hard to find the words to articulate what a profound experience this has been.

“But the words ‘love’ and ‘gratitude’ come to mind. So love and gratitude to all of you. All of you. Thank you.”

Nayyar also wrote an online thank you to the show’s fans.

“Thank you for tuning in night in and night out,” he wrote. “Thank you for the stories you shared about how this show made you feel. Thank you too, for the not so nice times. Thank you, for lifting us up when we were down. Fame can feel like a cage, so thank you for making us feel safe enough to be free.”

The show, which follows the lives of four socially awkward Caltech scientists and the women who learn to love them, debuted in 2007.

“I was the network scheduling guy when it was first pitched and I remember thinking that a show about oddball friends and science would be a tough sell, but Chuck was so passionate, the writing was so crisp and the young actors were such a fantastic ensemble that it was clear the show had real possibilities,” CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl told City News Service.

“The Big Bang Theory” was slow in drawing viewers, finishing 68th in the season-long ratings its first season and 40th in its second. A move to 9:30 p.m. Mondays following “Two and a Half Men,” then television’s most-watched comedy, saw it rise to 12th for its third season.

“The Big Bang Theory” became television’s most-watched comedy for the 2010-11 season, its fourth, and has held that distinction every season since. It was prime-time television’s most-watched program each of the past two seasons and is second this season behind NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

“The comedy is relatable because it mines universal themes like friendship,” Kahl said.

“The Big Bang Theory” has won 10 Emmy Awards, including four lead actor prizes for Parsons. It was nominated for best comedy series each year from 2011-2014, losing to ABC’s “Modern Family” each time.

The show’s finale — episode number 279 — is scheduled to air May 16.

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