TV tonight: Bob Newhart guest stars on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Bob Newhart plays ‘Professor Proton’ tonight on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Photo: CBS/The Big Bang Theory

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2013 —Tonight’s TV schedule is suspiciously lacking repeats which can only mean one thing, it must be a sweeps month. Since programming decisions are based on the ratings of shows during sweep months, networks traditionally pull out all the stops in their programming.

“The Big Bang Theory” is already at the top of the ratings in both syndicated and original broadcasts, so it almost seems unfair to add the comedic genius of Bob Newhart to tonight’s episode. But fair or not, the appearance of Bob Newhart is a rare gift to television audiences that will leave us all begging for more.

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Newhart’s comedy career began over 50 years ago with his 1960 comedy album “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart.” After its release, the album went straight to number one on the charts beating Elvis Presley and “The Sound of Music.” It was the first comedy album to make number one on the Billboard Charts, and received the 1961 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Regular appearances on a variety of programs including the Dean Martin and Ed Sullivan shows led to the creation of his first successful sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show” in 1972.

Despite facing stiff competition from shows like “Mash,” “Maude,” and “Sanford and Son,” the show was an immediate success and ran till 1978.

In 1982 Newhart returned to TV with the equally successful sitcom “Newhart.” The last episode of the show in 1990 was later chosen by TV Guide as the best finale in television history.

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Through the years the genius of Bob Newhart has been acknowledged with too many awards to list here. His ability to take the mundane and make it funny led to his best friend Don Rickles giving him the nickname “Charlie Everybody” for his everyman persona.

Today’s TV programming focuses on the notoriety of celebrities more than their actual ability to entertain us. The appearance of Bob Newhart tonight on “The Big Bang Theory” will remind of us a time when a regular guy could rely on his talent to entertain audiences instead of tabloid drama. And for that we should all be grateful.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: Wife Swap: (New) A laid-back mother switches places with a strict disciplinarian.

CBS: The Big Bang Theory: (New) Sheldon and Leonard hire Professor Proton (Bob Newhart), the host of their favorite childhood TV show, to perform. Also, Howard and Bernadette run into trouble babysitting Raj’s dog.

FOX: American Idol: (Live) Another finalist is eliminated from the competition.

NBC: Community: (New) Abed becomes convinced that the study group was destined to meet at Greendale and pieces together everyone’s past - revealing that their lives have been intertwined for years.

CW: The Vampire Diaries: (New) Damon and Stefan try a brutal new approach to provoke Elena into turning her humanity back on, and Caroline is frustrated when her attempt to intervene backfires. When Elena figures out a way to call the Salvatore brothers’ bluff, they call for backup from a surprising source.

8:30 p.m.

CBS: Two and a Half Men: (New) When Walden encourages a depressed Alan to update his look and start dating again, Alan faces a moral dilemma when he attracts a married woman.

NBC: The Office: (New) Dwight realizes a lifelong ambition, while Andy pursues fame in a memorable fashion.

9 p.m.

ABC: Grey’s Anatomy: (New) Bailey continues to shut everyone out; Owen worries that Ethan could end up in foster care; a new craniofacial specialist comes to the hospital to work on a young patient; a magician’s assistant needs medical attention after a trick goes awry.

CBS: Person of Interest: (New) Reese and Finch realize that a virus has rendered The Machine erratic, causing it to issue numbers irregularly. As they race against the viral countdown, the team searches for a tech millionaire so elusive no one has ever seen him. Also, Detective Carter’s mission to bring Cal Beecher’s murderer to justice lands her squarely within the sights of the HR criminal organization.

FOX: Glee: (New) The glee club members take on the music of Stevie Wonder.

CW: Beauty and the Beast: (New) On the anniversary of her mother’s death, Cat (Kristin Kreuk) asks Gabe (Sendhil Ramamurthy) to attend her family’s annual remembrance of Vanessa, which makes Vincent (Jay Ryan) incredibly jealous. Cat learns some information that makes her think her mom might still be alive and when a sniper shoots the mayor at a public event, Vincent finds evidence that links Gabe to the sniper.

9:30 p.m.

NBC: Parks and Recreation: (New) Leslie celebrates her first year as a city councilor. Meanwhile, Andy calls on retired Special Agent Burt Macklin for a special investigation.

10 p.m.

ABC: Scandal: (New) The team makes a shocking discovery while investigating the mole; Fitz orders Jake to keep Olivia safe; Cyrus must clean up after Mellie’s ultimatum.

CBS: Elementary: (New) Sherlock resumes his hunt for Moriarty when Sebastian Moran (Vinnie Jones) reveals that a man who was thought to be dead from a heart attack was actually on the list of intended victims from Moriarty. 

NBC: Hannibal: (New) Will, Jack and Hannibal follow a twisted trail as they hunt for the Chesapeake Ripper. Eddie Izzard guest stars.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Deadly Women at 8 p.m. on ID

The First 48 at 9 p.m. on A&E

Project Runway at 9 p.m. on LIFE

Swamp People at 9 p.m. on History Channel

How it’s Made at 9 p.m. on SCI

Mysteries at the Museum at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

America’s Worst Tattoos at 9 p.m. on TLC

Anger Management at 9:30 p.m. on FX

Hillbilly Blood at 9, 9:30, 10 and 10:30 p.m. on DSC

Giving You the Business at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Swamp Wars at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

The Killer Speaks at 10 p.m. on A&E

The Graham Norton Show at 10 p.m. on BBC

Tabatha Takes Over at 10 p.m. on BRAVO

Buying Alaska at 10 p.m. on DSC

Men at Work at 10 p.m. on TBS

Chasing Tail at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on History Channel

House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

I, Robot on CINEMAX

Frankie and Johnny on ENC

Primary Colors on FLIX

Ice Age: Continental Drift on HBO

The Shawshank Redemption on IFC

Duel in the Sun on TCM

Fright Night on TMC

9 p.m.

Big Momma’s House on FMC

Wayne’s World on FUSE

Rambo: First Blood Part II on MOMAX

Saw VI on Syfy

Later tonight:

Guarding Tess at 9:30 p.m. on ENC

The Iron Lady at 9:30 p.m. on SHO

The Watch at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

Prometheus at 10 p.m. on HBO

Goon at 10 p.m. on TMC

Farenheit 9/11 at 10:30 p.m. on FLIX

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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