'Big Bang Theory' Plots Major Career Change for Penny in Season 8

Kaley Cuoco Big Bang Theory - H 2014
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Big changes are coming for Kaley Cuoco's Penny on The Big Bang Theory's eighth season.

When Penny decided she didn't need to be famous and have a "big career" in order to be happy after she was canned from a B-movie, Penny will continue to make what she called "smart decisions" for her career in the upcoming season of CBS' hit comedy.

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"Penny has an interesting arc this year where she puts acting down," said co-creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. "She gets a shot to be a pharmaceutical rep at Bernadette's [Melissa Rauch] company."

As it turns out, the new gig will come with a nice paycheck that could create some friction with her husband-to-be, Leonard (Johnny Galecki).

"She's going to start making some money, which will unbalance their relationship as the power shifts," Lorre said of the storyline. "She's going to find some confidence and self-esteem, which acting does not provide in great heaping doses."

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While the series still takes a wait-and-see approach to storytelling — the show has never plotted out entire seasons at once — Lorre says Big Bang will still keep its core focus of incrementally growing all its key players and relationships.

"These characters, as they grow, they deal with more things. Sheldon [Jim Parsons] has grown unbelievably over seven years from where we began. We could never have imagined the stories we've been doing in the past year or so six years ago," he said.

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In terms of the core cast's contract negotiations, Lorre doesn't foresee a problem — or production delay. 

"There are people at Warner Bros. Television and people representing the actors who have done this before," he said. "This will work itself out. I think it's great; I want them all to be crazy wealthy because nobody deserves it more than this cast. It'll work out."

Rewatch Penny's career-defining moment and Leonard's proposal, below. Big Bang Theory returns on Monday, Sept. 22, before moving back to Thursdays starting Oct. 30.


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