- Kaley Cuoco plays Penny on CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.”
- She auditioned for a character named Katie but wasn’t cast on the original pilot because of age.
- The pilot was reshot and Cuoco was brought in as a new character named Penny.
Kaley Cuoco has played Penny on “The Big Bang Theory” for 12 years, but she almost wasn’t on the show at all.
In an interview with TV Insider for the CBS show’s final season, Cuoco, 33, said she auditioned for the show but wasn’t cast because of her age.
“I was too young, which I love saying because I don’t get to say that I’m too young anymore,” she said.
Cuoco originally auditioned for the role of Katie, a character that doesn’t exist on the show but was part of the original unaired pilot.
“In the first pilot, the character of [Katie] was not as appealing as that proverbial girl next door,” president and chief content officer at Warner Bros. Television Group Peter Roth said. “It was not the actress [Amanda Walsh] but rather the conceit of the character.”
The pilot wasn’t picked up, but the series got another shot to try again. The character Katie was replaced by a new character named Penny.
“Then, a year later, I heard they were doing it again, and they brought me back in to read for Penny,” Cuoco said.
Actor Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard on the series, said it was “natural” to add Cuoco to the cast.
“It felt very natural, almost musical, [to reshoot] the pilot when Kaley was on board with Simon [Helberg] and Kunal [Nayyar],” he said. “It felt like a band you’d been playing with for years. And everything that everyone did complemented what someone else had to do. It was just fantastic. There’s no recipe for that kind of chemistry.”
“The Big Bang Theory” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The final episode will air May 16.