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The Big Bang Theory Creators Felt Like They Messed Up With The Original Iteration Of Penny

"The Big Bang Theory" had an enormously successful 12 seasons on CBS, remaining the most popular show on television throughout its run (via Variety). Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, although the reason "The Big Bang Theory" ended had more to do with Jim Parsons' desire to move on to other projects rather than low ratings. In fact, the series finale drew in over 18 million viewers.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the popularity surrounding "The Big Bang Theory" is due to its memorable characters: a group of highly intelligent antisocial scientists, including Sheldon Cooper (Parsons) and Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), as well as their new neighbor, Penny (Kaley Cuoco). And while the test audience instantly connected to these eccentric yet likable nerds, the show's creators have expressed regret over the original iteration of Penny, a character named Katie (Amanda Walsh) who appears only in the unaired pilot.

The original Penny was poorly written, according to the creators

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "Big Bang Theory" co-creators Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre talked about the show's original pilot and its iteration of the Penny character, Katie. "We didn't realize early on that the audience viewed them [Leonard and Sheldon] as children. They were very naive and childlike, regardless of how intelligent they were. They were very vulnerable, and the audience didn't want a toxic presence around them," Lorre said.

Following the negative reaction from the test audience, CBS asked if they would reshoot it with a different female lead, but Lorre and Prady contended that it was a writing issue rather than an acting one. "We rewrote Katie to become Penny and made her much more charmed by the guys and kind to them, as opposed to a woman who would take advantage of them," Lorre explained.

However, when it came to the new iteration of the character, they decided to go in a different direction with Kaley Cuoco regardless. Obviously, it'd be hard for most fans to imagine a female lead other than Cuoco's Penny, but it looks like everything worked out just fine for "The Big Bang Theory" in the end.