The veteran standup comedian and sitcom legend who starred in two self-titled shows, The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart, makes his return to sitcoms again with a guest-starring role on CBS's The Big Bang Theory. ET’s Brooke Anderson recently caught up with Newhart on the CBS Radford Studio lot, where his iconic TV shows were filmed.
"It was a great time. Both shows. We had a great cast and great writers and that's the secret. I learned that you get great people and great writers and then you take all the credit yourself," Newhart jokes.
Newhart's previous work address was respectfully named Newhart St. outside Stage 17, right by the Mary Tyler Moore sound stage and Rhoda. Having spent the better part of 14 years taping the two TV shows, Newhart has since remained a friendly face on TV playing a retired forensic pathologist on NCIS, guest-starring on three episodes of ER, as well as on Desperate Housewives.
He now returns to The Big Bang Theory for his role as Professor Proton. "What I get more and more now is thank you for all the years of laughter and my answer is the truth 'it was my pleasure.' I enjoyed doing it as much as they enjoyed watching it."
Newhart reminisces about how much the CBS lot has changed and grown since he taped The Bob New Hart Show from 1972-1978 and then Newhart from 1982-1990. Newhart says one of his favorite memoriesit was being able to bring his children to the set and watch them grow.
"My kids would come with their cameras and make their own home movies with the 'Gunsmoke' set [next door]. So that's what I remember. I remember the kids…It went by all too fast."
A slave to the comedic arts, before the taping of each episode, Newhart famously did a 5-8 minute stand-up routine in front of the live studio audience. To this day, at 83 years old, he still maintains his standup comedy routines, performing about 20 times a year.
When Newhart ended Newhart, he went out with an ending that has been referred to as the best finale in TV history. The last episode ended with a scene in which Newhart wakes up in bed and realizes that the entire eight-year Newhart series had been a single nightmare of Dr. Bob Hartley's, provoked by "eating too much Japanese food before going to bed," just before the closing notes of the old Bob Newhart Show theme played over the fadeout.