The Big Bang Theory is undoubtedly one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.
From sarcastic geeky jokes to charismatic characters who you can’t help but love, the hit series has it all. However, it has also had its fair share of backstage drama. First, we find out almost wasn’t cast, now it turns out Kunal Nayyar was almost pulled from the show behind the showrunner’s back! So what exactly happened?
Well, according to showrunner Chuck Lorre, one day, when flying across the country, he was informed that Nayyar wasn’t there for the upfronts. Confused about what had happened, he then discovered that a CBS executive had unilaterally decided that Nayyar wasn’t the right fit for the role and was going to be recast. Of course, the showrunner wasn’t happy with this decision because Nayyar didn’t have a fair opportunity to adjust to the role as the character wasn’t even fully developed yet. “Well, I did not respond well. I was furious. They made this decision without consulting me,” Lorre said.
It was unclear why exactly they considered removing Nayyar, and he was left wondering what went wrong. However, it’s not unusual for actors to be recast, and sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Even the beloved Penny was almost played by Marisa Tomei!
Fortunately, Lorre took it upon himself to make it clear to the network executives that the actor needed to be in the cast as he was adamant that Nayyar would be perfect for the role.
“I called the execs at CBS and said, “You can’t fire him. I cast him, I believe in him, I’ll take responsibility for this decision. He’s my guy. If I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail on my own choices. I’m not going to fail on someone else’s choices,” Lorre recalled.
Thanks to Lorre’s vision, Nayyar was able to continue and bring the Raj we all know and love to life. Needless to say, he became one of the key elements of the show that viewers wouldn’t be able to picture the series without. And just as we loved his depiction of Raj, Nayyar himself has also said it wasn’t easy to say goodbye after the show ended in 2019.
“For me personally, ending ‘Big Bang’ was like breaking up with the love of your life. It’s like when you know nothing is wrong, but it’s just time,” he said during an interview with Lorraine Kelly.
Although this was a sneaky move on the network executive’s part, everything worked out for the best in the end. But one thing’s for sure – we’re going to keep an eye out for more drama that may come to the surface!