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The Hollywood Reporter Unveils Comedy Class of 2013

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    Comedy Issue
    Big Bang Theory Ratings - H 2013
    CBS
    "The Big Bang Theory"
    'The Big Bang Theory'
    Ratings Juggernaut

    In its sixth season, CBS' The Big Bang Theory has achieved a rare feat: record ratings. The show has skyrocketed to become TV's No. 1 scripted comedy thanks to syndicated reruns on TBS and new touches from first-year showrunner Steve Molaro. A January original earned a record high of more than 20 million viewers, and an April encore bested American Idol in head-to-head demo competition. The series also lured six-time Emmy nominee Bob Newhart to film his first comedic guest role in more than a decade. Newhart explains Big Bang's appeal:

    PHOTOS: 'The Big Bang Theory's' Nerdiest Guest Stars

    Chuck Lorre said to me recently, "OK, what would it take for you to do one of my shows?" There aren't too many producers who can use that phrase, "one of my shows." At last count, I think it was four. I'm not sure. I think he's got a pilot going -- he had to do something on Saturday and Sunday, I guess.

    So he said, "How about The Big Bang Theory?" and I said, "Yes." The show is beautifully cast, has great writing and it's intelligent, which is a vanishing commodity. When we were doing The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart, we'd take a minute to set up a joke, but it paid off because the reaction was huge. Now there seems to be a rhythm in sitcoms: setup, joke, setup, joke, setup, joke. The Big Bang Theory doesn't follow that relentless beat; that's one of the reasons I took the job. And Chuck and I agreed my scenes would be taped with a live audience; there's an adrenaline flow to doing it that way. The writers know material is judged -- and not by a laugh machine.

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