The Big Bang Theory is now in the annals of history as one of the most successful TV shows of all time. Big Bang Theory's success over the course of 12 years on air was in large part due to the imagination of TV guru Chuck Lorre - but the other part of that successful formula was no doubt the chemistry (pun) between the show's cast. That chemistry revolved around Big Bang Theory's central trio of Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco). However, as the story is now being told, Kaley Cuoco originally landed a much different - and darker - role in Bing Bang Theory.
Here's what Kaley Cuoco recounted to about her original role in Big Bang Theory, during a featurette about the show that will be included in The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series home video release:
"I had actually auditioned for the original pilot, and I did not get cast," Cuoco says. She goes on to reveal that the audition she blew wasn't actually Penny, but rather 'Katie,' who was "a dark , brooking unhappy woman." If you ever wondered what Big Bang Theory would've been like with Katie, maybe you can sneak a peek at the show's original unaired pilot. That false start not only made Chuck Lorre rethink the approach to the show - it made him completely overhaul the female lead:
"[It] was just a mess. Not because of the actors, but because we didn't really understand the characters yet," Lorre said. "We had to go through that failure to understand that if a woman was going to be in [Leonard and Sheldon's] ecosystem, she had to be gentle with them because they were really vulnerable."
That more nurturing female character became Penny, and when Lorre was thinking of who could bring that revised lead female character to life, Kaley Cuoco's name popped into mind:
"Chuck called a year later and said, 'It's a new character, we want you to come in," Cuoco recalls. "I read for it and it just felt so much better than it did the year before. I guess it was just meant to be."
That's an understatement! Kaley Cuoco owned the role of Penny and all the sharp comedic timing that came from party-girl Penny's interactions with Leonard and Sheldon. The role has catapulted Cuoco into the uper echelons of Hollywood, and she isn't letting the power of that fame pass her by. Since Big Bang Theory ended, Cuoco has stepped into producing new projects, landing a deal with Warner Bros. Television that will open doors to the HBO Max streaming service. First, Cuoco has produced and will star in DC's Harley Quinn adult animated series, which is one of the most highly-anticipated new series coming out under the DC banner. Next, Cuoco is executive producing The Flight Attendant, a thriller about a flight attendant who becomes embroiled in an international murder mystery.
So: missing out on that first Big Bang Theory pilot really was a blessing in disguise!