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(CBS NEWS) Sheldon, Leonard, Penny and the rest of the gang are sticking around -- CBS has renewed"The Big Bang Theory"for three more seasons.

The multi-year deal puts the hit comedy series on the air through the 2016-2017 season.

"Comedy is a big part of our schedule, and 'The Big Bang Theory' is the biggest comedy force on television," CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said in a statement Wednesday. "This multi-year deal further strengthens our network's position for future seasons and marks another chapter in the great partnership CBS enjoys with Warner Bros. Television for delivering audiences the best in comedy. We're proud to work with and showcase the incredible talents of Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro and this amazing cast every week."

"The Big Bang Theory" has been the top-rated sitcom among viewers since the 2010-2011 season and continues to hold the No. 1 spot in key demographics for the second straight year. This season, the show is averaging 19.8 million weekly viewers, up four percent from last year.

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