Geek ty­coons

Eight sea­sons on, The Big Bang The­ory means big bucks

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS -

THE Big Bang The­ory was never meant to be this big.

In a world where a 13-week run of a show is con­sid­ered a suc­cess, and net­works fight an in­creas­ingly tough bat­tle for eye­balls, this seem­ingly old-fash­ioned mul­ti­cam­era sit­com that gets its laughs from four eg­ghead young men, and the be­mused women try­ing to get a han­dle on them, is a most un­likely global hit.

Ka­ley Cuoco-Sweeting, who plays Penny, con­fesses: “We did a good pi­lot and hoped it would get picked up. I don’t think any of us knew it would be­come what it has.”

TBBT is the No.1 show in the US and the high­est-rated sit­com since Friends ended in 2004.

No won­der things got ‘heated’ when cast re­cently rene­go­ti­ated their con­tracts. Work on the eighth sea­son was de­layed as they held out for pay rises.

Jim Par­sons, Johnny Galecki and Cuoco-Sweeting emerged smil­ing – each re­port­edly pock­ets $1 mil­lion an episode. A pretty good out­come given the show has been re­newed through sea­son 10. Cuoco-Sweeting, who mar­ried ten­nis player Ryan Sweeting last De­cem­ber, has made it known she “can’t wait to have a baby”, but for now loves ev­ery minute on set.

“We have so much fun – se­ri­ously, it’s hi­lar­i­ous,” she says. “I re­ally en­joy our re­hearsals, but it’s also fun when we get to tape in front of the stu­dio au­di­ence.”

But what hap­pens dur­ing the live tap­ing if a joke falls flat?

“You get stuck in the mid­dle of the scene wait­ing for laughs that are never go­ing to hap­pen. You carry on with the scene, but as soon as you stop, the writ­ers jump into ac­tion,” she says. “You’ll see 30 peo­ple run­ning from out of the dark­ness with 30 new ideas. We rarely get killed on a joke.”

Can geeks be sexy? “Of course! Smart is ab­so­lutely sexy.”

So well is her col­league Par­sons go­ing that he had the per­fect spot to put his 2014 Emmy Award for Out­stand­ing Com­edy Ac­tor – the man­tel­piece of the $7 mil­lion house he bought in Cal­i­for­nia.

It’s a stark con­trast to his life pre- TBBT. He’d had a re­cur­ring role in Judg­ing Amy and au­di­tioned for up to 30 TV pi­lots. When TBBT came up, he was cau­tiously op­ti­mistic.

“The prob­lem in bank­ing on that is there have been a lot of TV shows that were re­ally good, but didn’t catch on,” he says.

Play­ing in­tel­li­gent but neu­rotic Shel­don Cooper doesn’t al­ways come eas­ily. Sci­en­tific ter­mi­nol­ogy of­ten stumps him.

“They (pro­duc­ers) give us a pro­nun­ci­a­tion and def­i­ni­tion guide and they’ll even put di­a­grams in some­times,” Par­sons says.

“I’m on dic­tio­nary.com – I’m not kid­ding – be­fore we do the ta­ble read, find­ing words. It’s got a lit­tle ‘how to say it’ guide.”

Ad­di­tional re­port­ing: Luiane Lee

THE BIG BANG THE­ORY

MON­DAY, 7.30PM, NINE

Cashed up: Ka­ley Cuo­coSweet­ing and Jim Par­sons.

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