‘The Big Bang Theory’: Chuck Lorre Talks Finale Plans & Emotional Last Season

The Big Bang Theory is in the midst of its final season as CBS’ signature sitcom is preparing to sign off in May 2019 after a 12-year run that began in September 2007. With the end in sight, the idea for the series finale is starting to shape up, co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre told Deadline on Thursday in a phone interview tied to the three Emmy nominations for his newest comedy series, Netflix’s The Kominsky Method.

“We’re coming up on Christmas break, we have one more episode to shoot before we break,” Lorre said. “We definitely have discussed the finale. And we have a general idea of what we are aiming for with May and the finale. These days there’s a lot of melancholy in the background at all times. It’s been a 12-year project that has been really just a joy. It’s going to be very, very sad to let it go.”

The Big Bang Theory remains one of the most popular on television — Season 11 averaged 18.9 million viewers and was the second most watched series of last season (behind Roseanne) and among adults 18-49, Big Bang was the second highest-rated entertainment program (behind NBC’s This Is Us).

The call to end the multi-camera series series was made in August after one of the stars, Jim Parsons, reportedly had decided not to continue beyond Season 12. In the months since that announcement, Lorre said he’s been in reflective mood. It’s hard to say goodbye to a close-knit crew and cast, he said. That has led to a lot of tearful moments on a set that is accustomed to life with a laugh track.

“The years pass and you celebrate birthdays and you know the other day we had a little birthday celebration for [co-stars] Kelly Cuoco and for Kevin Susman and both times each of them said, ‘You know this will be the last birthday I celebrate on The Big Bang Theory set. And you hear that and you go from singing songs and blowing out candles to getting all choked up. You start to eat cake but then you’re thinking of everything you’ll miss.”

The world has changed a lot since Big Bang premiered in 2007. Lorre said he has found it challenging to work in the comedy business when the world outside can be seriously unfunny in its inequities and painfully absurd in its politics. Lorre has been political in the vanity cards he runs after each episode of his CBS sitcoms, often criticizing President Donald Trump whom recently he called “fascist” in the pre-midterm elections “My Prayer” card.

“There are moments that it feels like a meaningless effort,” Lorre said. “You know, like whistling in a hurricane. But I have to believe that it is still one of the great things in life to laugh. I have always believed that and I will continue to believe it…this is what humanity is supposed to do.”

The Big Bang Theory has received seven Golden Globe nominations so far, most recently in 2014, winning for lead comedy actor, Parsons, in 2011. Lorre’s new single-camera comedy, The Kominsky Method, this morning was nominated for three Globes, the most for a comedy series (tied with Prime Video’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and HBO’s Barry). That included a best comedy series nom and mentions for its stars, Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin.