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‘Young Sheldon’ is ending after 7 seasons. What to know as the series comes to a close.

In Entertainment
May 16, 2024

After seven seasons, fans of CBS’s Young Sheldon are saying goodbye when the final episode airs on May 16.

A spin-off prequel to the CBS mega-hit The Big Bang Theory, which ran from 2007-2019, Young Sheldon premiered in 2017 and centers around the childhood of Sheldon Cooper, a role originated by Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory.

Both shows, created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, have been ratings gold for CBS. The Season 7 premiere of Young Sheldon in February drew 7.99 million viewers — the largest same-day audience for the show since April 2020, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Since its six earlier seasons were added to Netflix in Nov. 2023, it’s also found streaming success as it finishes its run on network TV.

News of the show’s end is bittersweet for millions of Young Sheldon fans, but not all is lost. Here’s what to know ahead of the series finale.

Set in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Young Sheldon is a glimpse inside Sheldon’s upbringing and struggles to fit in at school as a child genius in East Texas.

It stars Iain Armitage, now 15, as young Sheldon, a role he’s played since he was 8 years old. Lance Barber plays Sheldon’s dad George Sr. and Zoe Perry plays his mom Mary. Annie Potts is his grandmother Connie (aka “Meemaw”) while Raegan Revord and Montana Jordan play his twin sister Missy and older brother George Jr., respectively. Emily Osment plays Mandy, who’s newly married to George Jr.

The show explores themes like family, education and coming of age. Season 7 follows the Coopers as they welcome a new sister-in-law (Mandy), deal with the aftermath of a raid at Meemaw’s gambling room and experience loss.

CBS announced in Nov. 2023 that Season 7 of Young Sheldon would be its last.

The show’s co-executive producer Steve Holland said at a panel in February it was the right time to end because fans are mostly aware of what happens next in Sheldon’s story — from the death of his dad to getting accepted into Cal Tech at age 14.

“It felt like the right time to end it strong while it was on top,” Holland explained, according to Deadline.

“I don’t think you ever approach it from what the audience wants,” Lorre told the panel about getting the ending right. “You do what you feel is appropriate for the characters, the tone of the show. You do stuff that touches you, and then you hope someone agrees with you.”

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon. (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

George Sr. died of a heart attack in the May 9 episode, which was something the creators had planned since the start of the series. The reason why they didn’t kill him off in the finale, Lorre explained to TVLine, was because they wanted to give audiences time to mourn his loss.

“The show has been such a positive family show. Let’s not leave the audience wallowing in grief,” he said.

“I was emotionally prepared for this from the pilot [episode],” Barber told TVLine. “I was grateful to get to the end.”

Perry told TVLine the character’s storyline coming to an end and the show coming to an end brought up strong emotions.

“It was difficult to grieve the loss of this character and the ending of this run, and these things were happening simultaneously,” she said.

Lorre wrote on a vanity card after the May 9 episode aired that “there were a lot of tears” when they filmed George Sr.’s death.

“We had all fallen in love with a fictional character,” he wrote. “Which is, itself, a reminder to love the characters in our life who are real. To do otherwise, is to live with regret.”

Annie Potts, who plays Sheldon’s grandmother, reflected on watching the show’s young actors grow up on set.

“They all turned out so beautiful and so sweet, and we feel like we had a hand in raising them,” she told People.

While it’s bittersweet, Revord is looking forward to the future.

“I’ve spent half of my life here, so I’m kind of ready to see what’s next,” she told TV Insider.

As for Armitage, it’s hard to say goodbye but he’s looking ahead to the future.

“I’ve had so much fun getting to do this character for seven awesome years that it would be cool to do something … just completely different from Sheldon in every way,” he told People.”I would love to do something indie, maybe something action, maybe something sci-fi, just something super different and weird.”

The May 16 finale, which will include George Sr.’s funeral, will be split into two back-to-back episodes titled “Funeral” and “Memoir,” both of which are written by Lorre, Molaro and Holland.

There’s also a surprise flash-forward in the “Memoir” episode, which shows the return of Parsons as Sheldon alongside Amy Farrah Fowler, played by Mayim Bialik. It’s revealed that Sheldon’s voice-overs throughout the series were actually part of a memoir he’s writing in present day.

For Parsons, the cameo was a full-circle moment.

“The way that they wrote it in was, I thought, so beautiful that it ended up being like this little extra coda or whatever to my experience with the character,” he told People.

In March, Deadline reported Lorre, Molaro and Holland are executive producing a spin-off of Young Sheldon called George & Mandy’s First Marriage, which will air on CBS this fall.

The official logline says the show follows Sheldon’s older brother Georgie (Montana Jordan), his wife Mandy (Emily Osment) and their newborn daughter CeeCee as they “navigate the challenges of adulthood, parenting and marriage while raising their young family in Texas.”

According to Holland, you can expect to see cameos from the Young Sheldon universe. “I think, certainly, the characters in the world of Young Sheldon still exist in this world,” he told TVLine. “They’re still around and can make appearances and drop by.”

Though the title suggests a possible end to Georgie and Mandy’s marriage, Osment remains optimistic.

“I’m hoping that I’m the ex-wife and the new wife,” she told TVLine. “People get divorced and remarried. Why can’t she be both?”

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