'Big Bang Theory' Enrolls 'Alphas' Actor as Penny's Classmate (Exclusive)

Ryan Cartwright Alphas - P 2012

Ryan Cartwright Alphas - P 2012

Is Penny trading in her headshots for higher education?

After several years spent toiling away as an aspiring actress/server at the Cheesecake Factory, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is going back to school on CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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As part of her new studies (no word on if she's taking any science courses), Penny will expand her circle of friends with Alphas' Ryan Cartwright tapped to guest star, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

Cartwright will play Cole, a classmate of Penny's, and appear in the Nov. 15 episode of the series and present a new potential problem for her insecure loving boyfriend Leonard (Johnny Galecki).

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"She's an aspiring actress and she's been here for four or five years now and got that one commercial but nothing huge happened," exec producer Steve Molaro told THRin August. "We would like to see more for Penny and I think that's something where we're all thinking about and discussing, whether it's on the acting side or some other avenue. We definitely would like to expand Penny's life."

The ICM Parters-repped Cartwright's credits also include Mad Men and Bones.

The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS. Hit the comments with your thoughts on Penny's higher education.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit