Bob Newhart will be returning to The Big Bang Theory next season.
The comedy legend won his very first Emmy at the Creative Arts Awards Sunday night for his guest appearance on the CBS sitcom last season. Newhart played Dr. Arthur Jeffries, aka Professor Proton, Sheldon and Leonard’s childhood hero. When the roommates learn that the scientist is available for children’s birthdays parties, Sheldon hires him for a performance and eventually considers Dr. Jeffries his new father.
The 84-year-old said he would either reprise the role or play a new character in his next appearance.
“That’s really up to [executive producer] Chuck [Lorre], and the writing team,” Newhart said.
The Bob Newhart Show star said Lorre asked him what it would it take for him to appear on one of his shows, and Newhart said it had to be one shot in front of a live audience.
“Because that’s the only thing I’ve ever done. It started with Lucy and Desi, then All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore. I don’t know how to do a show that’s not in front of a live audience,” he said.
Lorre asked him, “How about Big Bang Theory?” And Newhart agreed, saying, “It’s the best written show on television.”
The Mark Twain Prize winner said he told Lorre he didn’t want his appearance to be “one and out.” Lorre agreed to a deal for Bob Newhart to return in a later episode.
The Big Bang Theory may also score a guest appearance from William Shatner this season. While several other Star Trek actors, including LeVar Burton, Leonard Nimoy, and Wil Wheaton, have appeared on the show, Shatner has yet to make a cameo. That could be changing soon, the 82-year-old said.
At Comic-Con earlier this month, Shatner said he would “make a call” when he got back to Los Angeles about appearing on the show.
The Big Bang Theory returns for season 7 September 26.