Category: The Big Bang Theory

'Big Bang Theory' tops 'American Idol' again

Big Bang Theory tops American Idol

The boys of “The Big Bang Theory” are slowly but stalwartly taking down the Death Star.

The CBS sitcom, now in its fifth season, dominated Fox’s “American Idol” for the second week in a row Thursday night. The geek comedy earned a 5.4 rating in the 18-to-49 demo, Fox’s usual barometer of success. It was a wider margin than last week and it overpowered “Idol’s” 4.8 rating in the 8 o’clock half-hour time slot, according to early figures from Nielsen.

But “Idol” did not walk slowly into the night. The veteran songfest climbed more than a point to a 6 rating between 8:30 and 9 p.m. When combined, “Idol” drew a 5.4 rating and won in total viewers with 16.9 million viewers. Numbers are likely to be adjusted when final tallies are in. To compare, last year on this Thursday “Idol” averaged a 7.7 rating.

And with CBS airing repeats in the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. slots, Fox was able to win the night with episode of the “Bones” spinoff “The Finder,”  which has been building its audience since its premiere three weeks ago.

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-- Yvonne Villarreal

twitter.com/villarrealy

Bill Prady's 'Big Bang Theory'? Intelligence not always an asset

The Big Bang Theory

"The Big Bang Theory's" Bill Prady credits the success of the show to the fact that he has often felt like an outsider and that most people have at one point or another felt like an outsider.

But as he stood tall and confident in a dapper tuxedo at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, it was hard to imagine him feeling anything remotely close to an outsider.

Prady, however, disagreed.

PHOTOS: The scene at the Producers Guild Awards

Bill Prady

 

"'The Big Bang Theory' is all about the possibility that the feeling of being an outsider is part of the human condition," said the executive producer, who was nominated for the Danny Thomas Award for outstanding producer of episodic comedy television, which went to "Modern Family."

"It shows that intelligence is not always an asset. That's me -- I identify with that."

While the whole premise of the show is based on an overwhelming, Woody Allen-esque feeling that Prady likened to the idea that everybody "on the other train" is having much more fun, when it comes to awards season Prady is no outsider to fun. And what does he enjoy most when it comes to awards season events like the PGAs? Without missing a beat, Prady says "a drink!"

Who wouldn't want to be on Prady's train?

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— Jasmine Elist

Top photo: Jim Parsons, left, and Johnny Galecki on "The Big Bang Theory." Credit: Robert Voets / CBS.

Right photo: Bill Prady on set in 2009. Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Los Angeles Times.

 

SAG Awards: TV surprises and snubs

Melissa McCarthy of "Mike and Molly" and Showtime drama "Homeland" were surprisingly among the missing when the nominees for the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced
Melissa McCarthy of "Mike and Molly" and the Showtime drama "Homeland" were among the huge raves of the TV season, but both were surprisingly among the missing when the TV nominees for the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced.

McCarthy scored an upset in September when she won an Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series for the CBS sitcom, but on Wednesday she was left out of SAG Awards' outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series category (though she did get a movie nod for "Bridesmaids"). Those nominees include Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family"), Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"), Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Betty White ("Hot in Cleveland").

Other prominent actresses that were omitted included Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation"), Zooey Deschanel ("New Girl"), Laura Linney ("The Big C"), Laura Dern ("Enlightened") and Christina Applegate ("Up All Night").

 PHOTOS: SAG Awards top nominees

Meanwhile, Ed O'Neill and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were the only adult cast members of "Modern Family" who did not score an individual SAG nod. In addition to Bowen's and Vergara's nods, Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell were nominated for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series. O'Neill and Ferguson were included in the comedy ensemble nomination for "Modern Family."

Also missing among major actors in the comedy categories were Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother") and Louis C.K. ("Louie").

"Homeland," starring Claire Danes ("Temple Grandin"), Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin, has been one of the critical highlights of the season, but the show and its performers were left out of the nominations.

A major surprise in the drama category was the nomination of Patrick J. Adams in USA's "Suits." Lewis beat out more well-known performers, such as Hugh Laurie ("House") and Kelsey Grammer ("Boss").

Who do you think should have been nominated? Vote in the poll below or let us know in the comments.

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The complete list of nominees

Complete list of TV nominations

 PHOTOS: SAG Awards top nominees

-- Greg Braxton 

Photo: Damien Lewis and Claire Danes in "Homeland." Credit: Kent Smith / Showtime

Kaley Cuoco to host 2012 People's Choice Awards

Kaley Cuoco of 'The Big Bang Theory' will host the 2012 People's Choice Awards.Kaley Cuoco of the Emmy-nominated uber-geek comedy "The Big Bang Theory" will host the 2012 People's Choice Awards, the organization announced Thursday.

Which pretty much means Cuoco is landing more hosting gigs than her "Big Bang" alter-ego is landing hemorrhoid commercials.

"We are thrilled to welcome Kaley as the new host of the People's Choice Awards," executive producer Mark Burnett said in a statement. "She's been making people laugh on top-rated comedy series for the last decade.... I'm looking forward to working with her on a fun-filled, comedy-packed show in January."

Cuoco hosted the Teen Choice Awards last August, where she competed for the spotlight with teens more interested in flailing their arms in front of the cameras than answering her loaded questions about the debt ceiling. But how else is a girl to prove that teens are smarter than we think? She may be better suited for the slightly older crowd drawn in by the People's Choice Awards.

She plays funny-girl-next-door Penny on the top-rated CBS comedy, which won the 2010 People's Choice Award for comedy series. The 25-year-old actress also starred in the final season of syndicated supernatural drama "Charmed" and the now-defunct series "8 Simple Rules," the favorite new TV comedy award winner in 2003.

She'll next appear in the independent feature film "The Last Ride" with Jesse James and the Lifetime television movie "Untouchable: The Drew Peterson Story" with Rob Lowe.

The 2012 People's Choice Awards, in which fans determine the nominees and winners in 41 music, movies and television categories, will air Jan. 11 on CBS.

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— Nardine Saad
Twitter.com/NardineSaad

Photo: Kaley Cuoco at the 2011 Emmy Awards. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times.

New and returning shows for the 2011 season

'H8r'

Here's a roundup of some of the highlights of the new and returning series in the 2011 fall TV season.

“Survivor: South Pacific” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, CBS: (season premiere) The contestants begin competing for a million-dollar prize. (N)

“H8R” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, KTLA: (series premiere) TV personality Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi tries to win over a person who dislikes her; Jake Pavelka (“Bachelor”) faces his biggest hater. (N)

“America's Next Top Model” 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, KTLA: (season premiere) Fan-favorite contestants from past cycles return to compete; the women reenact memorable moments during the first photo shoot; guest judge Nicki Minaj. (N)

“Operation Repo” 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Tru: (season premiere) Vehicle repossession pros deal with confrontations in California's San Fernando Valley. (N)

“Up All Night” 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, NBC: (series premiere) Reagan Brinkley tries to adjust to her new life as she returns from maternity leave to her job as a talk show executive producer to support her stay-at-home husband and their baby. (N)

“Hulk Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling” 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Tru: (series premiere) Hulk Hogan provides little wrestlers with advice, guidance and training; inside all of the insane action, conflict and drama that it takes to create a pro wrestling league from scratch. (N)

“Free Agents” 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, NBC: (series premiere) Two co-workers, both still reeling from their last relationships, try to sort out their relationship after a moment of weakness finds them in bed together. (N)

“The Vampire Diaries” 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, KTLA: (season premiere) In "The Birthday," Caroline plans a party for Elena's 18th birthday; Damon and Elena search for Stefan; Klaus and Stefan track a werewolf; Jeremy struggles with visions of ghosts. (N)

“The Secret Circle” 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, KTLA: (series premiere) After her mother dies in a mysterious accident, Cassie Blake moves to a small town to live with her grandmother. After a series of strange and dangerous events, Cassie's new friends reveal a secret. (N)

“Angels Among Us” 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, CMT: (series premiere) Commemorating the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. (N)

“It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, FX: (season premiere) In "Frank's Pretty Woman," the gang attempts an image makeover to uncover the heart of gold that exists deep inside Frank's prostitute fiancee. (N)

“Archer” 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, FX: (season premiere) In "Heart of Archness, Part I," Archer is finally tracked down in the South Pacific by handsome adventurer Rip Riley. (Part 1 of 3) (N)

“Ben 10: Ultimate Alien” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, Toon Disney: (season premiere) In "The Purge," Old George reignites a war against all aliens on Earth. (N)

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, Toon Disney: (season premiere) In "Water War: Gungan Attack," inhabitants of Mon Calamari are on the brink of civil war; the Jedi realize they need help from a powerful and amphibious ally to drive out Separatist invaders. (N)

“Need to Know” 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, KOCE: (season premiere) Reports on the economy, environment and energy, health, national security and culture. (N)

“20/20” 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, ABC: (season premiere) Investigative reporting. (N)


“Celebrity Nightmares Decoded” 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Biography: (series premiere) Dustin "Screech” Diamond dreams of a faceless butcher; Danielle Staub wakes up hanging out of her bed after a nightmare; Nicole Eggert is tormented by snakes in her nightmares; Too Short dreams of meeting a ferocious dog. (N)

“How I Met Your Mother” 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, CBS: (season premiere) In "The Best Man," Barney and Ted reminisce about Punchy's wedding; Robin considers confessing her feelings. (N) 

“The Sing-Off” 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, NBC: (season premiere) Eight of the 16 competing groups unite to perform together. (N) 

Continue reading »

Roundtable gathers first-time Emmy nominees

Emmy Roundtable

First-time Emmy nominees Josh Charles, Michelle Forbes, Johnny Galecki and Walton Goggins joined Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara last week for a roundtable discussion of all things Emmy as Hollywood barrels toward this weekend's 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Leading up to this Sunday's telecast, Show Tracker will post clips of the wide-ranging talk that touched on the thrill of being nominated to the rich era of storytelling underway in television today.

Johnny Galecki ("The Big Bang Theory") received his first Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actor in a comedy, and Michelle Forbes ("The Killing") her first for outstanding supporting actress in a drama. Josh Charles ("The Good Wife") and Walton Goggins ("Justified") each earned a nod in the same category: outstanding supporting actor in a drama.   

Stay tuned.  

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Photo: (from left to right) Walton Goggins, Michelle Forbes, Josh Charles and Johnny Galecki. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, Cloris Leachman, more to join Emmy Week panels

Michael c hall 
The L.A. Times is ushering in Emmy season with Envelope Emmy Week -- five days of television series screenings, cast Q&As and roundtable panels starting June 1. Fans of “Mad Men,” “True Blood,” “Dexter,” “Justified,” “Shameless” and many others will get a chance to hear the series' stars discuss their shows and characters. 

As noted on our sister blog, Awards Tracker, Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks and Kiernan Shipka will join “Mad Men” creator and executive producer Matt Weiner for a screening and Q&A on June 1. William H. Macy and other cast members of Showtime's "Shameless" take the stage on June 2, and Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins and others talk about “Justified” on June 6.

Leachman The final two roundtables mix things up thematically; the Alternative Families panel on June 7 will be hosted by Times TV critic Mary McNamara and will feature Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”), Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”), Denis O’Hare (“True Blood”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”), Cloris Leachman (“Raising Hope”) and Peter Krause (“Parenthood”). The Geek TV panel on June 8 will be moderated by Times television critic Robert Lloyd and will feature Joel McHale (“Community”), Sam Trammell (“True Blood”), Jayma Mays (“Glee”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) and Johnny Galecki (“The Big Bang Theory”).

So, what would you want to ask this eclectic mix of actors? Leave your questions here for possible inclusion in the panels.

Guild members can get additional details and RSVP to attend any of the events at http://events.latimes.com/envelope/.

-- Elena Howe

Top photo: Michael C. Hall. Credit: Randy Tepper / Showtime 

Photo at right: Cloris Leachman. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

'Big Bang' recap: Dare you not to laugh

Bang12 
I don’t give this show enough credit for the feast of one-liners it serves up every week. The writing on this show is fast and furious, the ensemble is quirky, talented and original. "Bang" deserves more credit than it gets from dopes like me. And though I sometimes wish it would dig a little deeper, it consistently delivers good escapist television.

Leonard: “Is there a history of heart disease in your family?”

Howard: “My family is the history of heart disease.”

This week’s episode is one of the season’s three funniest, drawing on character and offering some terrific visual gags. Many weeks, you could watch this show with the sound off and still laugh. Aside from “Modern Family,” I don’t think any other television show could make that boast.

And how about an Emmy for Melissa Rauch as Bernadette, the show’s sweet center. Only Jim Parson steals as many scenes, and she is the perfect antidote to his goofy, dysfunctional self-centeredness. We don’t have that much funny stuff in our lives anymore –- Newt Gingrich’s candidacy, Barbara Walters’ diction (can’t understand a thing she says anymore). So, the anticipation of Howard and Bernadette’s wedding scene, whenever that happens, is rich and valued stuff. Rauch is irresistible. If Howard doesn’t marry her, I will.

Bernadette: “How can we be together if the thought of us getting married might kill your mother?”

Howard: “It’s the circle of life, sweetie.”

This episode was funny right out of the blocks, and never slowed. Rauch's impersonation of Howard's mother might've been the best moment of the season. Great job, Bangers. Till death do us part.

--Chris Erskine

Photo: Wedding bells are in the future for Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch). Credit: Marty Brinton/CBS 

'Big Bang' recap: Bernadette goes on a mission

Bangmay5 
As we go barreling toward some sort of showdown between Penny and Priya — P-Day, as it were — we have little episodes like this that seem to be just marking time till the Big Event. This show advanced the boulder only a little way up the hill, revealing that the manipulative and controlling Priya is headed off on vacation to India with Leonard. If ever there were an unlikely object of affection, it's Leonard Hofstadter. These women are crackers for the guy with the big inhaler.

Heck, this whole show is a collection of mixed nuts. This episode seems more a collection of skits. Sheldon, the lead nut, is developing a three-person version of chess, with a superhero theme. Raj is taking a pill to overcome his debilitating shyness around women. Every sitcom needs a princess, and Big Bang's is Penny. This week, she's found her dream shoes, a pink pair so expensive that she fearing having to "rent out her womb to a gay couple." More than any other character, I think the writers have an ear for Kaley Cuoco's dry delivery. To me, it's the best stuff about the show.

The main event this week is a couples date between Howard and Bernadette and Leonard and Priya. Bernadette is enlisted as a reluctant spy to bring home info on Priya. She might be the worst spy in history, spending most of the time in the bathroom talking to her friends back at headquarters.

Anyway, the big news Bernadette digs up is that Leonard and Priya are heading for India. Somehow, I think Penny's deadly new high heels will have a role in the upcoming showdown episode. If not, someone's not paying attention.

Overall, funny little episode, and everyone seems to get a moment. Kunal Nayyar's Raj probably gets his biggest laugh yet with the coffee shop scene. Obviously, those new pills worked out just fine.

— Chris Erskine  

Photo: Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), left, is on a special assignment to pump info from Priya (Aarti Mann) in the May 5 episode. Credit: Matt Kennedy/CBS.

'Big Bang Theory' recap: Vicious gossip is so underrated

Bang7 

While Charlie Sheen was entertaining you with some sort of male menopausal meltdown, “The Big Bang Theory” became America’s No. 1 sitcom. Not the best, just the favorite. But Thursday’s satisfying episode shows why Bang has found a steady following.

Titled “The Herb Garden Germination,” this show probably featured the best ensemble work of the season. It’s a complicated little storyline that manages to work seamlessly: The rumor mill is afire with word that Bernadette is going to dump Howard. Howard stirs things up by announcing his plans to propose to her. Fascinated by the role of rumors in their circle of friends, Sheldon and Amy plant a few juicy ones. Somehow, the writers are able to tie it all together in a breezy story that ends with surprise and a really sweet proposal. You think surprise is vital to good story telling? This episode shows exactly why.

This ep also shows why Bang is most successful when it deals with friendship and character rather than some far-flung plotting. I’ll bet this storyline didn’t exactly fall into place, but it came out looking effortless. There’s hardly a wasted moment. Every cast member has a chance to shine. Series MVP Jim Parsons is less jitterbuggy than usual, and much more watchable. All in all, a fine week for America’s new king of sitcoms.

Favorite line:

Sheldon: “I had an unusual experience with Amy the other night.”

Leonard: “How could you tell?”

--Chris Erskine

Photo: Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) in April 7 episode that deals with love and gossip. Credit: Justina Mintz/CBS

'Big Bang' recap: Guess who's going to man up?

March31 
You know that drowsy feeling you get after the first 10 minutes of a really bad animated children’s movie -– somewhere between sleep and death? That’s the feeling I got at certain moments of this week’s episode. So Sheldon’s game account was hacked? Big deal. If I could care less, I would cease to exist.

Of course, the producer and writers turn the situation into an examination of manhood in the 21st century. If this is what is to become of the Comic-Con generation, maybe we’re all headed for extinction. This show has some funny lines, most of them delivered by Kaley Cuoco, the only non-alien among the big cast. She seems to have her character figured out, and I’m not sure that’s the case for most of the others. And, more and more, does Jim Parsons remind you of a damsel in a Tennessee Williams play? The guy’s got comedy chops, but I’m not sure how well that character wears. He’s like a dude on a hot tin roof.

Best line, by Cuoco, on her first visit to a beach with Leonard: “He was so phobic about stepping on medical waste, I had to carry him to the water.”

She also had the best moment in the episode. After warning the guys, “I’m gonna show you how we finish a quest in Nebraska,” she confronts the cyber thief in a way men used to, with a swift kick to the cha-chas. Take that, Todd Zarnecki.

Guess we’re building toward some sort of Penny-Priya showdown at the end of the season. Now, that would be a fight.

--Chris Erskine

Photo: Kaley Cuoco, left, as usual, the best thing about "The Big Bang Theory." Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick / CBS

'Big Bang Theory' recap: Love is in the lair

Bang17 

The beds were abuzz this week on Big Bang, with hook-ups happening all around. Losers getting lucky? Only on Valentine's week, I guess.

Raj’s sister Priya was back in town, the silky-haired Indian princess who smashed Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) heart like a champagne glass the last time she was in Pasadena. In a parallel story, Howard finally moved out of his mother’s house and shacked up with Bernadette, who proved not to be so maternal. Once again, the boys prove more adept at quantum physics than quantum emotions. For a bunch of hyper-sensitive guys, life’s nuances are just beyond them.

One thing I've been noticing of late is that Galecki has a Kelsey Grammar quality about him, an endearing sort of hang-doggedness. Of all the characters, he’s the closest to figuring other people out, yet he’s still humbled by the twists and turns they throw at him. Galecki’s skills help humanize Big Bang’s frantic comic-book excesses. In short, he keeps things real.

Bang hasn’t used Galecki very well this season, but he's reemerged in the last two episodes. His world-weary, why-me character had a great game last week with an older widow played by Jessica Walter, in a fine guest appearance.  

“You’re really a broken toy, aren’t you?” Penny noted, as Leonard struggled with how to handle the advances of a beautiful 70-year-old.

This week, it was Raj’s sister throwing him into right-brain turmoil. When she last visited, Priya rejected Leonard’s attempts to make their relationship more serious. Now, they land in bed again, with the boundaries still in debate. But this time, Penny is the one whose heart is shattered at the thought that Leonard, her ex, is smitten with someone else. For Penny, it’s not just that she’s lost her soul mate; it’s that she’s lost him to someone more impressive than she is.

Rather nice episode, all in all. This well-acted show is best when the plot skitters along like this and the characters have plenty to do.

Meanwhile, here’s a very unscientific ranking of my favorite Bang characters, best to least:

CHARACTER INDEX

1. Leonard: The one character you’d actually like to have as a friend. 

2. Penny: Her droll one-liners are usually the best of the week.

3. Bernadette: Sweet, surprising, funny.

4. Sheldon: In many ways, the show’s comic centerpiece, yet Bang works best when he’s not quite so front-and-center. Does that make sense? (Think Kobe Bryant).

5. Howard:  Like him a lot, but wish he were not quite so cartoonish.

6. Raj: The writers give him plenty of chances, but he’s batting about .129.

7. Amy Farrah Fowler: Total buzz kill.

-- Chris Erskine

Photo: Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) set up house in Feb. 17 episode. Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

 

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