Almost two decades since The Big Bang Theory first entered development, Jim Parsons looks back on the cut female scientist from the original unaired pilot of the series. Despite the eventual successes that the CBS sitcom garnered, getting the series off the ground wasn't easy. The original pilot for The Big Bang Theory had to be rewritten before the network officially greenlit the project, resulting in a couple of big changes.
In a new interview with Dinner's On Me With Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Parsons talks about the other female character that was scrapped from the show: Gilda.
Iris Bahr portrayed the character in the scrapped episode and wasn't brought back after the overhaul of the pilot episode.
They didn't change much at all from what me and Johnny had done. So many of the lines were the same, so many of the scenes were the same. The other thing that they did was we had one female science nerd friend as it were in our group. And poor actress who was wonderful, they said, ''you know what, we're gonna split that into two and make them both men. So we ended up with Kunal and Simon.
When co-creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady pitched the idea of The Big Bang Theory, CBS immediately recognized the potential of the show. However, it wasn't quite yet ready to go on the air as it was. Instead, the network asked the producers to change some aspects of the series. While all the actors involves were great, the chemistry among them just wasn't there. In the end, Lorre and Prady kept Sheldon and Leonard, changed one character from Katie (Amanda Walsh) to Penny, and added Raj and Howard. This did the trick as the five characters became the foundation of The Big Bang Theory's success.
Ultimately, the changes made to The Big Bang Theory's unaired pilot paid off. Now that the show is finished, it's interesting to wonder how it would have been different had Lorre and Prady stuck to their original casting choices. While Walsh's Katie was known to not fit in with what they were trying to do, not much is known about Bahr's Gilda.
Gilda was eventually spun into Sara Gilbert's Leslie Winkle. However, if that character had existed beyond the unaired pilot, she may have helped battle criticisms of misogyny, especially during the early days of T he Big Bang Theory. Given the longevity of the series, reworking the pilot ultimately paid off.
Source: Dinner's On Me With Jesse Tyler Ferguson