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Macaulay Culkin Turned Down a Starring Role on ‘The Big Bang Theory’, Hosts a Podcast Now

The Big Bang Theory gets a lot of shit from people on the internet despite the fact that it isn’t a bad show. I mean, it’s not a good show, but it’s not like According to Jim where watching it is actively painful. It’s just a multi-cam sitcom with a laugh track in the age of single-camera shows like Modern Family and The Good Place. I also have a feeling people tend to feel personally attacked by The Big Bang Theory and its premise that social awkward academics aren’t the most attractive mates in the world and that nerds tend to be manchildren.

It’s a little-known fact that the show was heavily retooled from its original pilot and that it spent a year in development; initially stars Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons were joined by two female leads, both of whom were replaced when Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar were brought onboard. During that development, as it turns out, Macaulay Caulkin was offered a starring role three times, saying this to Joe Rogan (via People):

“They pursued me for The Big Bang Theory,” Culkin said. “And I said no. It was kind of like, the way the pitch was, ‘Alright, these two astrophysicist nerds and a pretty girl lives with them. Yoinks!’ That was the pitch. And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m cool, thanks.’ And then they came back at me again, and I said, ‘No, no, no. Again, flattered, but no.’ Then they came back at me again, and even my manager was like twisting my arm.”

To me, that sounds like Culkin was pitched a role on the original pilot, which saw a character named Katie sharing an apartment with Leonard and Sheldon; the second pilot had Kaley Cuoco’s Penny living across the hall. Culkin didn’t say what role he was offered, but it’s likely he was offered the role of Leonard in the first pilot and then the part of either Howard or Raj for the second pilot.

Culkin said he didn’t regret not taking a role on the number one show on television, adding:

“I’d have hundreds of millions of dollars right now if I did that gig,” Culkin said. “At the same time, I’d be bashing my head against the wall.”

Like I said earlier, it’s somewhat fashionable to bash The Big Bang Theory because it’s not 30 Rock (which, don’t get me wrong, it absolutely isn’t), but it’s a servicable sitcom with a few really great episodes among all the mediocrity. I have to think that a $1 million a week paycheck would take a lot of the sting out of being on a television show everybody loves but that’s just okay.

It’s not all bad news for Culkin, though, he’s got a podcast, and they don’t give those to just anyone. I mean they do, literally anyone can have a podcast, and I think the average podcast gets roughly 10 listeners, but hey, it’s a way to pass the time and not think about how you were too good to take a role on the highest rated show on television while you wait for those Home Alone and My Girl residuals to roll in.

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