JOHNNY GALECKI: After Roseanne, I had opportunities to do other multicamera shows, but I just wasn’t ready to do it again. Then Chuck and Bill said they had an idea and ran through the broad strokes. Initially, it wasn’t something that sounded interesting to me. two dorks that live across the hall from a hot blonde didn’t sound like something I’d watch. once I read some scenes, though, I liked it. I liked the possible romantic dynamic with Leonard and his neighbor, Penny.
JIM PARSONS: I’d gone in for a couple of pilots in the past that seemed like a good match, but they never went anywhere. Then I got a call from my agents, who were all excited about me going in for a Chuck Lorre pilot. All I thought was, “[Love Connection’s] Chuck Woolery wrote a pilot?”
PRADY: Jim was, like, guy #37 out of 54. He came in and did the reading, and I was so excited, I told Chuck, “That’s the guy!” Chuck said he’d never be able to do that again, and it would break my heart. But we brought him in again, and he gave the exact same performance.
LORRE: Going into the taping, I was confident of the chemistry between Johnny and Jim. However, it was a very ill-conceived pilot. The woman who lived next door came off as a dark, destructive presence, and the audience responded viscerally against her. I wasn’t surprised when I got the call from CBS saying that it wasn’t being picked up. Then I heard the most wonderful thing a tV executive could ever say: “Would you try again?” So we went to work, and wanted to re-work the woman next door, Penny, into someone who cared about these guys as much as the audience does.
PRADY: We immediately thought of Kaley Cuoco. She’d come in to talk about playing the lead female in the first version, but at that point, we thought of the character as a little older. Also, the character was tougher, and we told her she wasn’t right for it.
KALEY CUOCO : Chuck said he’d find other things for me. then he called to say he was revamping the show. the character was now warmer and sweeter. She doesn’t judge these guys.