Fan-favorite guest star Bob Newhart is set to reprise his role of Professor Proton during The Big Bang Theory season 11. The now 88-year-old comedy legend is one of the most prolific generators of laughs in TV history, and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame back in 1992. Newhart has been a Hollywood staple for over 50 years at this point, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Among Newhart's accolades is the rare distinction of starring in two long-running, highly rated sitcoms. From 1972-1978, Newhart starred in The Bob Newhart Show, which ran for six seasons and nearly 150 episodes on CBS. In 1982, Newhart would return to CBS for a second series, this one simply called Newhart. This show would run for eight seasons and nearly 200 episodes, signing off for good in 1990.
While The Big Bang Theory has played host to lots of high-profile guest stars, few have proved as beloved by fans and critics as Newhart, who plays the character of Arthur "Professor Proton" Jeffries. Jeffries hosted a popular TV series about science in his younger days, and was Sheldon Cooper's idol during the boy genius' childhood. According to Deadline, Newhart will return as Professor Proton during the November 2, 2017 episode of season 11. The episode in question has yet to be filmed, and further story details are currently unavailable.
It's no surprise that Newhart is opting to once again play Professor Proton, as his first appearance in the role in 2013 earned the actor and comedian his first ever Emmy Award. Thus, Newhart presumably has a lot of affection for the gig. It's honestly a bit crazy that the massively successful Newhart had never won an Emmy prior to Big Bang Theory, but he's hardly the first person to spend year after year getting unfairly snubbed by Emmy voters.
Interestingly, Professor Proton was actually killed off in his third appearance, which took place in the 2014 episode "The Proton Transmogrification". In 2015's "The Opening Night Excitation" though, Proton returned as a sort of snarky ghost, serving as Sheldon's personal Obi-Wan Kenobi. One presumes he'll be doing that again this time out. Also set to pop up in the same season 11 episode is Wil Wheaton, Sheldon's recurring nemesis, and occasional friend.
The Big Bang Theory season 11 airs Mondays at 8pm on CBS.