The main cast played a pivotal role in the success of The Big Bang Theory. However, on the flip side, there was a lot of help from the supporting cast. Among the fan favorites included none other than Bob Newhart.
In the following, we're going to take a closer look at his time on the show and why he worried about the fan reaction during his first episode. In addition, we're going to reveal the two strict conditions Newhart put in place when agreeing to The Big Bang Theory.
It was all worth it in the end, as Newhart became a memorable character and one that fit in perfectly.
The Big Bang Theory had so many memorable guest stars, but Bob Newhart will always be among the most iconic. Speaking alongside THR, Newhart said his time on Big Bang Theory was like going back in time. Despite his familiarity with such an environment, Newhart was still very nervous prior to his first episode.
Before his scene took place, Newhart asked Chuck Lorre and others if there was a possibility to introduce him before the show. Bob worried that the audience wouldn't react to his guest appearance given how much time had passed.
Ultimately, everything went better than he could have expected.
"I asked Chuck, the writers and our director if they were going to announce I'm in the show before the taping. I was a little nervous that the live audience wouldn't recognize me and there would just be silence. They said, "We'll come up on you," and thankfully they recognized me; they applauded and stood up. That was very nice."
Despite the ovation, Newhart admitted never to assume anything in the world of entertainment. Nonetheless, it was great to get such a reaction.
"You never presume anything. At least in comedy, you get that beaten out of you. You may have done 20 great shows in a row and come to one, and it doesn't work. You never presume anything. After the taping, they had me come out last and the audience all stood up and applauded. That was it until I went in later to tape a different end tag. It was a great experience and took me back in time."
Newhart became a recurring character on the show. However, little to fans know, this was one of the conditions put in place by Newhart prior to joining the show.
Newhart had two rules that needed to be followed prior to accepting. One of them, was that his scenes needed to be taped in front of a live audience. We have seen this multiple times on sitcoms, certain scenes aren't filmed with an audience, and a laugh track is used. Newhart didn't want this.
"I had only two things that were paramount: No. 1, my scenes had to be taped live. There's a tendency to pre-tape a lot of stuff and put a laugh track on it and you lose something. With Newhart, Lucy, Honeymooners, Mary Tyler Moore, and All in the Family it was always done in front of live audience. I always felt that the live audience gives it adrenaline. That's the only way I function."
The second rule was that Professor Proton became a recurring character on the show. "I wanted it to be a semi-recurring role. He was fine with both and later called me with the story of Professor Proton. In my era, it was Don Herbert — he was Mr. Wizard and he did all these experiments for kids with common things around the house. It turns out that Sheldon and Leonard grew up on that show, and that made them want to become scientists."
It all worked out for Newhart in the end, as he turned into a beloved character on the show.
Jim Parsons had a negative reaction to Bob Newhart's character passing away on The Big Bang Theory. Parsons joked that Newhart asked for a raise, which would lead to his exit.
"I asked him if he had asked for a raise. Because why else would you kill off Mr. Newhart's performance on our show?"
Ultimately, Parsons agreed that Newhart's exit was done right. Even Newhart himself appreciated his exit plot on the show.
"I think it was (producer) Steve Molaro's idea. He ran it by me and I said, "That sounds great." The scene was funny anyway when we shot it in front of the audience, but the special effects heightened the comedy even more. And I thought it was very touching."
A great run for Newhart on the show.