The Paley Center for Media is currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of its highly successful and critically acclaimed PaleyFest, the annual television festival that honors “rich and diverse programming and the creative process behind the medium.” Last night’s installment of the festival featured the cast and producers of The Big Bang Theory, the highest-rated situation comedy on television, which features four overachieving scientists in their quest for knowledge (and their socially awkward adventures in between). Hosted in front of a sold-out audience in the Saban Theater of Beverly Hills, CA, the PaleyFest panel succeeded in entertaining fans nationwide by way of The Paley Center’s partnership with Fathom Events, which offered a live broadcast of the event to more than 525 movie theatres across the US.
The excitement in the Saban Theater last night was palpable, as a sea of red “Bazinga!” t-shirts hastily took their seats in anticipation of the Q&A with The Big Bang Theory cast. A handful of lucky fans had the chance to meet the cast prior to entering the theatre, the stories and photos of which were shared with those within earshot. When the lights dimmed and the screen became lit with the PaleyFest logo, the audience as a whole cheered in eager anticipation of the events to come. All were treated to a recap of the most memorable clips from Season 6 of the series, and fans were overjoyed to watch a sneak preview from the first episode of Season 7, which airs this evening. Without spoiling anything, let me say that geekiness ensues in the usual Big Bang Theory fashion.
Following the preview, fans welcomed moderator Pauley Perrette, NCIS’ Abby Sciuto, to the stage, who announced herself a diehard fan of The Big Bang Theory, as well as a longtime friend of cast member Johnny Galecki and creator Chuck Lorre. Perrette then enthusiastically introduced the cast and producers of the show to the stage, which included Chuck Lorre (Creator and Executive Producer), Bill Prady (Creator and Executive Producer), Steven Molaro (Executive Producer), Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter), Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz), Kunal Nayyar (Raj Koothrappali), Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler), and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette Rostenkowski). What followed was a flurry of questions both from Perrette and fans across the country, who were given the opportunity to text and tweet (via #askfathom) questions to the cast and producers prior to the event. The fanbase of The Big Bang Theory came alive, with questions coming in from Kansas, Texas, Ohio, and North Carolina; audience members in attendance at the Saban also included visitors from Brazil and the Philippines, who came to Los Angeles simply to see the panel! While the show’s producers often remained without comment when it came to answering questions regarding the upcoming storylines for the show and its characters, as well as whether the upcoming season would be its last, the Q&A more provided a chance for fans to see their favorite actors up close and personal, sharing behind-the-scenes stories of smoking monkeys, the disastrous consequences of Smurf make-up, and the on-camera spanking of fan-favorite Mayim Bialik by Jim Parsons.
As the evening came to a close, the cast and producers made great note to thank the fans for their continued support of the show, as well as the writers for creating the hysterically awkward characters and stories with which fans fell in love.