The Big Bang Theory

Question: I read that CBS won the bidding for an exclusive Thursday night NFL game package starting next season. I'm wondering what that means for The Big Bang Theory. It would seem to be an odd choice to disrupt the most popular show on TV from its prime-time slot, even though there's no denying football's ratings, either. How do you think CBS will handle this? Will Big Bang move to a new night, or maybe use it as a lead-in to the football? Or will they maybe hold the show back to start its season run after the eight weeks of football are over and thereby cut down on the number of reruns the show airs. Any ideas? — Chris

Matt Roush: All of these qualify as $250 million questions, which is how much CBS reportedly paid for the rights to this eight-game fall package. Nothing has been decided yet as far as I know, but the only scenario that doesn't make sense is to move Big Bang away from Thursday for good. It wouldn't surprise me if CBS uses a powerhouse like this to launch a new comedy or comedy block in September on a different night, and then when football is over, return Big Bang to where it can do the most benefit, on Thursdays. Some of the other returning Thursday series may have to wait until November to premiere, which as you note reduces the reliance on repeats later in the season. But CBS is pretty canny when it comes to scheduling their hot properties, and nothing is hotter than Big Bang, so I would expect the network will use it to deliver maximum bang for the buck and prop up another part of the fall lineup instead of putting it on hold for two months.

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Question: I was bummed but not surprised to hear Psych would end after eight seasons in March — Shawn and Gus could show The Following's hapless Ryan Hardy a thing or two about solving crimes. Was the decision to end the show based on a desire by USA Network to move on to newer projects? What kind of a legacy does it leave behind in the comedy-mystery genre? — Brian

Matt Roush: I'd look at this decision as a combination of economics — even cable series get more expensive the longer they run — and the need to keep refreshing the schedule. No one lets go of a popular franchise easily, and I'd take USA's execs at their word when they say we haven't seen the last of Shawn and Gus. (I detect the possibility of more stand-alone movies like the recent musical spectacular.) Few cable shows make it to eight seasons, so Psych fans shouldn't get too riled up, especially if the finale leaves us satisfied and not hanging. As for its legacy, Psych initially lived in the shadow of Monk, USA's breakout hit that set a tone for smart, light, character-driven procedurals. But it found its own voice and Psych became especially adept at parody (including self-parody) and will be remembered for its cheekiness and heart.

Question: Do you know why Natalie Zea (Claire) was killed off after Season 1 of The Following? Was it contract issues? — Christy

Matt Roush: Nothing I've seen indicates this was anything beyond a creative choice. The body count on The Following is extremely high, and Claire's grisly end gives Ryan the psychological motivation for his ongoing obsession with Joe and his tribe. On the other hand, did we ever really see Claire's dead body put to rest? Just saying.

Question: There was a painting on The Following last week that Kevin Bacon's character was discussing with the blonde victim (Lily) who was lying to him all along. Do you know the name of the painting and the artist? I'd really appreciate your help! — Jeff ... Question: Who sang the version of "Stand By Me" in last week's episode of The Following? I really liked their version — and I love the show. — Debra

Matt Roush: Next I expect someone will be asking me where Ryan buys his T-shirts. However, Fox was kind enough to answer these questions. First, the spooky painting is titled "Self Destruction" — that seems fitting — and is by William Niu. And the "Stand By Me" cover was by Ki: Theory.

Question: I love your magazine and online columns. I have a question for you regarding Bones. I am happy to see that it's been renewed for next season, but there is one aspect of the show that is bothering me so much that I almost can't watch: Hodgins' money loss. Why aren't they addressing this issue, other than to lackadaisically shrug their shoulders as if it's no big deal? It was millions and millions of dollars that was taken! I was angry enough when it was just his money, but in a recent episode, it was mentioned that the Cantilever Group is no more, which means people lost their jobs, board(s) of directors were dissolved, etc. Angela spent weeks working on getting Cam's identity back, but she can't do the same to find her family's money? I will never in my life have millions of dollars and it frustrates me beyond belief that no one is terribly bothered that it's all just gone. I don't believe that he should have let those kids get bombed in order to save the money, but there's got to be a way to get it back. Didn't he have any in an FDIC-insured account or something? Am I the only one bothered by this? — Steph

Matt Roush: Firstly, thanks. For the record, it's never just you, but I have yet to encounter anyone this bent out of shape over this particular twist. So take comfort in the knowledge that by all accounts, the producers aren't planning to drop this storyline and will let it play out for the rest of the season, and for all I know, maybe into next year. I kind of like that Hodgins and Angela realize there's more to life than money, and the fact that you care so deeply will no doubt gratify the writers, who love putting characters like these (and their fans) through the wringer.

Question: Enlisted is my new favorite show. Not only does it make me laugh, but tugs on my heartstrings as well. The brother dynamic is hilarious and touching, and the "brother-in-arms:" interaction gives a behind-the-scenes look at our military personnel who, even though they aren't on the front lines, still are an integral part for those of us at home. They also touch on more serious subjects but do so in a lighthearted manner that doesn't come off as ridiculous. I hate that it's on Friday nights, when TV viewership doesn't seem to be as strong, but hope that word will get out about this great show. Have you watched it, and if so, what did you think? — Amy

Matt Roush: As my initial review suggested, I'm pretty gung-ho on Enlisted myself, and wish it were airing on Tuesdays where it would be more likely to stay on my radar. The chemistry among the three brothers is terrific, and there's an underlying sweetness to the barracks shenanigans that I find endearing. But I also referred to the Friday scheduling as something of a suicide mission, which leads to our next question.

Question: I have enjoyed reading your column for many years (even when you skewer a show I love — I am looking at you, final season of Chuck.) Thanks for the continual great reads. Now: I was wondering if you have some insight into why a network would put enough faith into a show to order a pilot and additional episodes but then do their best to appear (I am aware they do not want really want their shows to fail) unsupportive of it? I am sure there are many examples to varying degrees, but I am specifically speaking of Enlisted this season, which garners above-average if not good reviews, then they dump it on Friday nights at 9:30/8:30c well into the season. Fridays, right or wrong, are typically perceived as bad news for a show, though expectations are lower ratings-wise. But 9:30 on top of that, when already established and well-liked one-hour shows have already begun? That seems to be more than the appearance of unsupportive. Do you believe there is a chance Enlisted will be renewed? — Jodie

Matt Roush: It's not as if Fox ever promised this show an easy ride, which are harder and harder to come by. Enlisted was always slotted to air on Fridays — something has to air there, and other networks have had varying degrees of success (often modest) on the night — but if you're looking for a positive sign, however minor, Fox has now flipped Enlisted with Raising Hope so it airs a half-hour earlier at 9/8c, where it's more likely to be able to take advantage of its Bones lead-in (although the less compatible Kitchen Nightmares will be taking up residence on the night later this month). Because of the generally positive critical reception and early fan interest such as this column has begun to receive, I'd put its chances for a second shot somewhere in the "hopefully maybe" category. And check out our interview with the three brothers, who sound like awfully good company.

Question: So NCIS made Bishop a probie. Hard to swallow that after last week's episode, but whatever. Bishop has no training whatsoever as a field officer. All federal agents are required to go to FLETC. I truly feel bad for McGee and DiNozzo having to go out in the field with someone who not only doesn't have their six, she needs constant protection. This is really starting to bug me. Will it be addressed on the show? — Jon

Matt Roush: I would imagine that Bishop's lack of field experience will be a recurring element in her and the team's evolution for the foreseeable future. But nothing she faces on the job will be nearly as poisonous as the hostility she's getting from much of the fan base, seems to me. I hope the guys have her six.

Question: Is February still a sweeps month this year?  Even though I don't currently watch anything on NBC, all of my broadcast shows are on hiatus or airing repeats until the end of the month, which of course makes business sense because they want to avoid airing original episodes during the Olympics. But it's really not much of a competition sweeps-wise if NBC is the only network airing compelling content for the majority of this month. Also, what do networks do with the rating information they get during sweeps? — Jake

Matt Roush: The sweeps, such as they are anymore, are designed not for the networks, but for their local affiliates to set ad rates. February is still officially a sweeps month, but the draw of the Olympics throws everything out of whack, and as you point out, many nights over the next two weeks — but not every night, and not every network (Fox is still heavy with originals many nights, including American Idol), so be diligent — even many popular series will air repeats until the Games are over. It's not as if the industry is blind to this fact, and that advertisers will suddenly line up to support NBC's duds because of a few weeks of Olympics-spiked success. So months like these are when the sweeps seem an especially antiquated way of doing business.

Question: Is it just me, or has Fox's often very funny Raising Hope transitioned this season to being "The Burt and Virginia Chance Show?" I mean, the title character only showed up in a cameo near the end of the most recent episode. The writers seem to have been stumped finding new subjects related to raising a young child, instead focusing on humorous trouble the family in general can get into. — Dave

Matt Roush: While there are occasional episodes every season that focus on Jimmy's (and his parents') struggle to do right by Hope, hasn't the show pretty much always been more of a wacky ensemble piece, with Hope little more than a cute excuse for a cutaway reaction shot? Not that there's anything wrong with that, and Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton bring the funny with such zeal that I don't mind when they hog the spotlight. It's possible this season has shifted more toward them and away from Jimmy-as-parent (who may be less valuable a source of comedy since settling down with Sabrina), but I'll admit I haven't kept as current with Raising Hope since its move to Fridays — which very much feels like the beginning of the end to a show I've always enjoyed.

Question: I was wondering if Sean Giambrone, the little boy that plays Adam Goldberg on ABC's The Goldbergs, is really 14? I only ask because in his bio from ABC and on IMDB says he was born in 1999. That would make him 14 but he just doesn't look 14. He looks like he should be 10 or 11. — Chris

Matt Roush: Why would he lie? I only address this to point out that it's not uncommon for kids on TV to be a bit older than the age they're playing — just look at all of those supposed "teens" on The CW. But I've seen nothing to suggest Sean is anything other than 14, and if he can keep looking younger than his actual age, I'd advise him to hold on to that as long as it works for him.

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