The Big Bang Theory: I was going to play the role of Kaley Cuoco, what happened to the actress who retired from the series pilot? – News series

“The Big Bang Theory” could have been a completely different series, in terms of script and especially in terms of cast…

Five years ago, The Big Bang Theory, one of the most recognized sitcoms of all time, permanently left the screens at the height of its popularity. And yet, before it aired, no one expected such a success, not even CBS, which even rejected the original pilot episode. However, executive producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady were given a second chance and filmed a new first episode. The rest is history.

But what about this first draft? Available on YouTube, it’s clear that the tone of the series was initially completely different. This was partly due to casting, but mainly due to the script: no Penny!

Leonard, Sheldon and…Katie?

The original pilot featured Katie as the series’ third main character alongside Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki). Amanda Walsh, who had already played minor roles in Smallville and Veronica Mars, as well as a handful of films, including a small role in Paranoiak (2007), was chosen to play him.

Not only the actress and the name of the character differed from the version we know today, but above all the personality of the character…

AND Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre They both expressed how great the latter was in the role of Katie, which she played exactly as written, but the problem was the character itself. Unlike Penny, Katie was more worldly, ruder, and harsher toward Sheldon and Leonard. Given the way the young people were portrayed, as empathetic characters, the dynamic didn’t fit with what CBS wanted to see in the series.


Amanda Walsh as Katie

At the time, Kaley Cuoco also auditioned for the role but the production chose Amanda Walsh. In a special report broadcast by CBS after the conclusion of the series, Kaley Cuoco said that she had indeed auditioned for the original role of Katie, which she described as “an unhappy, dark and melancholic woman”, very far from Penny’s character.

Chuck called me a year later and said, “It’s a new character, we want you to come back.”“she added. “I read for this role and it was much better than the year before. I guess it was just fate.

Chuck Lorre He therefore reworked the entire series after CBS rejected his original pilot, which he called “disorder“because the team”I still didn’t understand the characters well.”.

We had to go through that failure to understand that if a woman was going to be part of (Leonard and Sheldon’s) ecosystem, she had to be nice to them because they were really vulnerable.“he added.

Penny’s more understanding and warm nature was a better fit for Big Bang Theoryas it represented the viewers’ point of view in the story.

Watch an excerpt from this famous abandoned pilot with Katie below:

Other crucial changes

Amanda Walsh She wasn’t the only actress who was fired after the pilot was reshot. Iris Bahr’s character, named Gilda, was also eliminated. Gilda was supposed to be another scientist from the original cast, but she was replaced by Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar). In this first version, Sheldon was also a much more open character.


Iris Bahr as Gilda

In Jessica Radloff’s book, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive Inside Story of the Hit Series, Amanda Walsh He spoke openly about his experience. While the actress admits that she was disappointed, she also expressed that she understood the creators’ decision.

You’re waiting to find out, to get that phone call, to find out if the show will be picked up and if you’re going to fly to New York. “It was 24 hours of madness.”she remembered. “And then I found out that Big Bang Theory wasn’t cast, but that they were going to renew it, with a new character, without me.

supreme images

Amanda Walsh in “Paranoiak” (2007)

It’s never a call you want to get as an actor, but Bill was as nice as possible about the whole thing. And then I got really lucky, a year later (I got hired) for another pilot called The Mastersons of Manhattan with Molly Shannon and Natasha Richardson. For me, he really validated the notion of ‘It’s not you,’ because as an actor you’re always questioning that. So to be rehired by the same people for another big project was very, very rewarding. And I’ve been hired for other Chuck projects, and Nikki (Valko) and Ken (Miller) (the show’s casting directors) have always said that Chuck is a fan, which helps a lot.

The Big Bang Theory – Penny version – is currently available to watch in full on Netflix and Prime Video.

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