the big bang theory, sheldon, dr. sheldon cooper, jim parsons, spinoff, prequelIt's currently unclear if CBS comedy hit "The Big Bang Theory" will continue past its current 10th season, but the network hopes to keep the "TBBT" brand alive with a spinoff series centered around the show's breakout character.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS is currently developing a prequel to the show that will focus on a young version of Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), with sources telling the trade that it's being modeled on another coming of age sitcom, "Malcolm in the Middle." Parsons will reportedly executive produce the project, which was conceived by "Big Bang" creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady and will be executive produced by showrunner Steve Molaro.

The spinoff news comes as "TBBT" currently sits in renewal limbo, with the main cast -- who famously secured $1 million per episode paydays back in 2014 -- set to renegotiate their contracts, and reportedly angle for even bigger paychecks. While the show is still a hit for CBS (it remains America's most-watched comedy in the 18-49 demographic), it may make more financial sense for the Eye to cut ties with it now, before costs balloon further; adding the prequel into the mix would continue the brand, but with a new, smaller-salaried cast.

No other details about the new show have been revealed yet. Stay tuned to see how this project pans out.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS