Burbank, May 16 (AP/UNB) — With "The Big Bang Theory" ending after 12 seasons, viewers can comfort themselves with reruns. The cast has those — and residuals— but not the reassuring workplace rhythm and camaraderie.
During the closing days of taping the hour-long finale that airs at 8 p.m EDT Thursday on CBS, stars Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar and Melissa Rauch spoke to The Associated Press about their experiences on the top-rated comedy, and about what they'll do next.
CUE THE KLEENEX
Cuoco: There's a lot of emotions going on, very bittersweet. It's very strange that a lot of people are coming up to me saying, "How are you?" like someone died.
Parsons: It's a real rite of passage moment in your life. And much like more "normal rites of passage," be it a bar mitzvah or a wedding or a graduation, there is a feeling of accomplishment. And like those events people also tend to cry, even if they are happy and they know that this was organic and the way life is supposed to go.
Nayyar: The thing I'm going to miss most is my banter with Simon, with everyone, the fact that we've gotten along so well. There's not a lot of places you can go anymore that you feel safe just being yourself.
Rauch: I think it's going to hit me around the time we normally come back after a hiatus. In August, when I'm gearing up because we're coming back, I think it's going to be, "Oh, I have a table read coming up," and realizing that I don't.
Parsons: I'm still very focused on continuing to seek out work as an actor almost exclusively. I'm not finding anything like writing or directing or anything else that's overtly calling me. I'm just trying to keep moving and active as I can so that the right next thing will speak loudly when I see it.
Cuoco: For me, producing. I'd love to continue to work as an actor but I love the development process, and I just started dipping my toe into it a year ago. I enjoy putting pieces together.
Helberg: I picture myself growing a beard, and waking up at noon and sitting at the piano playing music, or trying to get into photography. Sounds kind of romantic. My favorite thing to do is act, so I'm going to do a play in the fall.
Nayyar: When we started "Big Bang," there weren't a lot of opportunities for South Asian actors. And now what's happening you're getting the best of both worlds (here) and in India. We make 900 movies a year in Bollywood. Now you have Netflix India, you have Amazon India. There are many beautiful, big novels that are being made for this cross-cultural platform, and they're looking for talent and I hope I can help fill some of those roles.
Bialik: I have a couple of projects that I'm looking to produce for other women, and obviously the science space is somewhere that I live in always. But I think I've never been at a place in my career where I could have more of a voice.
Galecki: I really enjoy being more a part of the storytelling. I made the same mistake a lot of actors do, assuming that the process starts with your first day on set and ends with the wrap party. To be in the room when the seminal idea is hatched and nurtured through to the end is really exciting for me.
Rauch: My husband and I write together, and we have our production company here at Warner Bros. And also just spending time with my kiddo is a good thing to do.
'BIG BANG,' FOR POSTERITY
Cuoco: We are in a very modern era where everything is streaming, everything is binge-watch. Our show is as classic as it gets. People still want to tune in and I like that idea of television. I like being able to talk about it all week and look forward to your favorite episode of a show. We don't have that as much anymore.
Galecki: It's a show all about relationships and that's timeless. And I hope it will endure. I don't see a time where 100 years from now that wouldn't resonate or be relatable.
Bialik: If I were a young student at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and this show had existed, I would have loved the male characters as much as the female, because I think for a lot of women that kind of (science) interest is very genderless.
Rauch: That it's inspired a lot of young girls to go into STEM is so exciting to me.
THE END: A BANG OR A WHIMPER?
Bialik: We're just hoping I don't have to be pregnant.
Parsons: We're obviously on this Nobel trajectory which is going to wrap. I feel like we might lose. We aren't, at the end of the day, real people who could be listed in the history books on the Nobel. So do we want to go that way?
Cuoco: It should just end with all of us around the table eating Chinese food, like we always do. Simple as that. And I want them to fix the elevator. Or not fix it, but address it in some way.
Helberg: I don't want anyone to die. That would be pretty definitive and not funny either, necessarily. Unless they fell down the elevator shaft, that would tie it all in.
Los Angeles, May 15 (AP/UNB) — Tim Conway, the impish second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard “McHale’s Navy” and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for “Spongebob Squarepants,” has died. He was 85.
Conway died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles care facility, according to Howard Bragman, who heads LaBrea Media. Conway’s wife, Charlene Fusco, and a daughter, Jackie, were at his side. The cause was a disorder in which there is an excess of fluid on the brain, Bragman said.
Burnett said in a statement Tuesday that she was heartbroken. “He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He’ll be in my heart forever.”
Tributes also came from across the comedy world, including from Conan O’Brien, who said “no one made me laugh harder than Tim Conway” and Kathy Griffin, who called him “a wildly talented, comedy giant.” Al Roker tweeted out a link to Conway playing a hysterically incompetent dentist.
A native of Ohio, Conway credited his Midwestern roots for putting him on the right path to laughs, with his deadpan expression and innocent, simple-minded demeanor.
“I think the Midwest is the heart of comedy in this country, and a little bit of the South, too,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2005. “For some reason, we’re just more laid-back, more understanding. ... And Midwesterners have a kinder sense of humor.”
Those qualities probably contributed to his wide popularity on “The Carol Burnett Show,” which he joined in 1975 after years as a frequent guest. The show aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978 and had a short summer stint on ABC in 1979.
“We really didn’t attack people or politics or religion or whatever. We just made fun of, basically, ourselves,” he said.
The show operated with just five writers, one producer, one director and without network interference. The ensemble cast surrounding the redheaded star included Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner.
“I don’t think the network would allow a show like ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ now because we had such freedom,” Conway said in his interview with the State Journal.
Lawrence on Tuesday mourned the passing of her co-star, saying in a statement that “the angels are laughing out loud.”
“Hysterical, crazy, bold, fearless, humble, kind, adorable... all synonyms for Tim Conway. I am so lucky to ever have shared a stage with him.”
While America was laughing at Conway, so were his co-stars: Burnett and Harvey Korman were often caught by the camera trying not to crack up during his performances.
The short, nondescript Conway and the tall, imposing Korman were a physical mismatch made in comedy heaven. They toured the country for years with a sketch show called “Together Again,” which drew on characters from Burnett’s show.
Besides the four Emmys he won with Burnett (three as a performer, one as a writer), he won Emmys for guest appearances in 1996 for “Coach” and in 2008 for “30 Rock.”
Conway also had a modest but steady movie career, appearing in such films as “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), “The Shaggy D.A.” (1976), “Cannonball Run II” (1984), “Dear God” (1996) and “Air Bud 2” (1998).
“The Apple Dumpling Gang” and “Cannonball Run II” allowed him to work with his comedic hero, Don Knotts, who died in 2006.
“If there’s any reason at all I’m in the business, I think it’s Don,” Conway once said. “He’s an icon in this business. He’s an icon that’s never going to be duplicated.”
He also found success in the 1980s in a series of comedy videos based on an oddly short character named Dorf. (Carefully costumed, Conway performed the bits on his knees.) Among them were “Dorf on Golf” and “Dorf Goes Fishing.”
More recently Conway voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for the hugely popular children’s series “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
He was born Thomas Conway in 1933 in the Cleveland suburb of Willoughby. He attended Bowling Green State University and served in the U.S. Army. He got his career start on local TV in Cleveland in the 1950s, where his duties included comedy spots on a late-night movie show.
He was spotted by Rose Marie of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” who got him an audition for “The Steve Allen Show.” He became a regular on the show in the early 1960s. It was Allen who had advised him to change his name from Tom to Tim to avoid being confused with a British actor.
Following the Allen show, Conway gained attention as the incompetent Ensign Charles Parker on the Ernest Borgnine sitcom “McHale’s Navy” from 1962-66. That led to series of his own, including “Rango” and “The Tim Conway Show,” but they were short-lived.
“McHale’s Navy” fans loved watching Ensign Parker infuriate the ever-flammable Captain Binghamton (played by Joe Flynn), but it was Conway’s work on Burnett’s show that would bring him lasting fame.
Conway and his wife, Mary Anne Dalton, married in 1961 and had six children. The marriage ended in divorce. He later married Charlene Fusco.
In addition to his wife and daughter Jackie, Conway is survived by children Tim Jr., Patrick, Jamie, Kelly, Corey and Seann, as well as two grandchildren, Courtney and Sophia.
Los Angeles, May 13 (AP/UNB) — "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" gave "Avengers: Endgame" a run for its money this weekend at the box office, but the superheroes managed to hold onto the throne once again.
The Walt Disney Co. said Sunday that the Marvel blockbuster earned an estimated $63.1 million from its third weekend in North American theaters, bringing its domestic grosses to $723.5 million, surpassing the totals for "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War."
Internationally, it added $102.3 million, bringing its global total to just shy of $2.5 billion where it remains the second biggest worldwide release of all time behind "Avatar" ($2.8 billion.)
But three weeks into "Avengers" dominance, the market finally had some room for another film to make a substantial impact. Warner Bros. managed to draw a significant audience to its live-action "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," which opened on 4,202 screens and earned an estimated $58 million from ticket sales.
"What a terrific result," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. head of domestic distribution. "It's so much fun to watch 'Detective Pikachu' have this kind of opening."
And there's no bad blood that "Endgame" powered past "Pikachu" in the end.
"It was fun to win Friday night, but as they say in golf, you play your own game and I'm thrilled with our result," Goldstein added.
It even beat "Endgame" internationally by a very slight margin with $103 million.
Ryan Reynolds voices the popular Pokémon character in the film, which notched a record of its own: Biggest video game adaption opening. The previous record-holder was the Angelina Jolie "Tomb Raider" from 2001, which opened with $47 million, not adjusted for inflation.
"Typically movies based on video games haven't been all that successful," Goldstein said.
It was a mixed bag for other newcomers looking for a piece of the market, including two women-led comedies strategically launching on Mother's Day: "The Hustle" and "Poms," which both attracted an overwhelmingly female audience.
"The Hustle," a gender-flipped spin on "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, landed in third place with $13.6 million despite lackluster reviews.
Less lucky was the Diane Keaton cheerleading comedy "Poms," which grossed only $5.1 million in its debut against similarly negative reviews from critics. "Poms" placed sixth behind the thriller "The Intruder" ($6.6 million) and the Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron rom-com "Long Shot" ($6.1 million), which are both in their second weekends.
In smaller releases, "Tolkien," a biopic about the "Lord of the Rings" author starring Nicholas Hoult opened in ninth place on 1,495 screens with $2.2 million, while the documentary "The Biggest Little Farm" debuted in five locations and earned $101,012.
And while not every film was a hit this weekend, the diversity of content is important to the marketplace, noted Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. Overall, the industry-wide box office continues to get stronger as the year goes on. The weekend is up around 23%, and the year is down around 9%. Three weeks ago, pre-"Endgame," that year-to-date deficit was at 17%.
"It should never be about just one type of movie," said Dergarabedian. "That used to be the thing about summer, it was about drawing in the 18-24 year olds with superhero movies and action movies. In today's world, summer offers a much more eclectic and diverse mix and that's paying dividends for Hollywood."
And May has more big movies to come, including "Aladdin," ''Rocketman," ''John Wick 3: Parabellum and "Godzilla: King of the Monsters."
"May could be a monster at the box office," Dergarabedian said.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Avengers: Endgame," $63.1 million ($102.3 million international).
2. "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," $58 million ($103 million international).
3. "The Hustle," $13.6 million ($13.7 million international).
4. "The Intruder," $6.6 million.
5. "Long Shot," $6.1 million ($1.6 million international).
6. "Poms," $5.1 million ($736,000 international).
7. "Uglydolls," $3.9 million ($522,000 international).
8. "Breakthrough," $2.5 million.
9. "Tolkien," $2.2 million ($200,283 international).
10. "Captain Marvel," $1.8 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:
1. "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," $103 million.
2. "Avengers: Endgame," $102.3 million.
3. "The Hustle," $13.7 million.
4. "Capernaum," $8.3 million.
5. "Mom," $5.6 million.
6. "We'll End Up Together," $5.1 million.
7. "Miss & Mrs. Cops," $4.2 million.
8. "The Curse of La Llorona," $3.5 million.
9. "Pet Semetary," $2.4 million.
10. "Sweet Family," $2.2 million.
Los Angeles, May 12 (AP/UNB) —Twenty-two-year-old Prince Jackson — whose real name is Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. — went through commencement ceremonies Saturday at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Prince Jackson graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
The day was celebrated in social media posts from the graduate and relatives in his famous family.
T.J. Jackson, the cousin who served as Prince's guardian after his father died, tweeted, "it's been a long road but you did it. Keep learning, keep growing and keep giving back!"
Prince Jackson was 12 when his father died nearly 10 years ago.
Michael Jackson has two other children, 21-year-old Paris and 17-year-old Prince Michael Jackson, known by the nickname Blanket.
Los Angeles, May 11 (AP/UNB) -After listening to Britney Spears and both of her parents speak in an unusual court appearance, a judge has ordered an expert evaluation of the 37-year-old singer's situation.
The courtroom was cleared of members of the public and media Friday before Spears and her parents were brought in through a side door to discuss her conservatorship, which has put control of nearly all of her affairs in the hands of her father.
After the hearing, Judge Brenda Penny ordered a so-called 730 expert evaluation, a competence examination that is usually used for parents in divorce cases.
It's not clear whether the examination relates to Spears' relationship to her two sons or her parents' oversight of her.
Penny says in her order that both Spears and her parents agreed to the evaluation.
Britney Spears appeared in court at her own request to speak to a judge who oversees the conservatorship that has controlled her affairs for 11 years.
But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny cleared the courtroom Friday of all members of the public and media before Spears appeared, so only those involved in the case know what she said.
When the doors re-opened, the courtroom was empty, and Penny has issued no ruling or statement on Spears' case.
Spears was brought in and out of the courthouse via backdoors and side entrances, and only a few determined fans and passers-by caught glimpses of her.
The 37-year-old singer doesn't normally attend hearings on her conservatorship, which gives her father, Jamie Spears, and various lawyers power over much of her life.