The Big Bang Theory Could Have Featured This Award-Winning Star As Penny

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The Big Bang Theory almost had a different Penny after four actresses, including the award-winning star Marisa Tomei, were considered for the role.

In the upcoming Jessica Radloff’s book, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, it was revealed that Penny wasn’t the original name the girl next door had, but Katie and Kaley Cuoco was actually refused to play the role in the 2006 pilot.

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The Other Stars Who Could Have Played Penny in The Big Bang Theory

Jim Parsons, who played the role of Sheldon, revealed in the book that he read Tomei was almost cast to play Katie in the series’ original plan.

“I remember going to the snack room after we were done and telling [casting directors] Ken [Miller] and Nikki [Valko], ‘I’ve never been in someone else’s audition before!’” he said, via TVLine. “And they said, ‘Well, she was kind of really auditioning you.’ And I went, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ But oh my gosh, what a different world that would have been.”

Alternatively, executive producer Bill Prady disclosed the other stars who auditioned to lead the series’ female role.

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It included American Pie’s Tara Reid; Saved by Bell’s Elizabeth Berkley, who received a callback; and Prison Break’s Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, who was eventually hired but left the role to portray Amanda Walshin Lost Girl after the initial table read.

Anyhow, O’Keefe later made an appearance in the series as a guest star, playing the role of the prostitute Mikayla in the second season episode, The Vegas Renormalization.

How Did Kaley Cuoco End Up Playing Penny in The Big Bang Theory?

CBS had a very different plot for the pilot of The Big Bang Theory.

Sheldon and Leonard would offer Katie, a “street-hardened” cosmetics counter clerk who became hopeless after a bad breakup, a place to stay for the night.

Just like the other girls, Cuoco auditioned for the role but wasn’t seen as the perfect fit for the version of the character they had back then.

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“Chuck Lorre said, ‘We love you, but we think you’re too young,'” she told TVGuide. “So they cast somebody else, did the pilot, and then wanted to… change the whole outlook on this character.”

However, when the series was configured after a year, they changed Katie’s character to a fresh-from-Nebraska young woman named Penny.

“Chuck called me and was like, ‘Kaley, come meet with me,'” Cuoco added. “And said, ‘You’ve got the job.'”

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From there, the rest is history. The Big Bang Theory has 12 episodes, running from 2007 to 2019, and has become one of the most fan-favorite series.

Radloff’s The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series will be out on October 11 and is now available for pre-order.

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For more The Big Bang Theory news, stay tuned to EpicStream!