'The Big Bang Theory' Is the New 'Friends'

Today in show business news: CBS has an ever-growing monster hit on its hands, Anna Faris heads to the small screen, and Bates Motel is not what you think it is. 

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So The Big Bang Theory, CBS's sitcom about how smart people are silly, has broken its second ratings record in as many months, with Thursday night's episode "The Egg Salad Equivalency" attracting a mind-walloping 19 million viewers, with a 6.0 rating in the key 18- to 49-year-old demographic. So that is about as big as a sitcom gets. Toward the end of its run, Friends was topping out around 20 million viewers, meaning Big Bang is now standing shoulder-to-shoulder with one of network TV's biggest and longest comedy successes. That is mighty impressive for any show, let alone one without much watercooler or blog buzz like Big Bang Theory. (People watch it, but do people really talk about it?) What does this mean for the future of the show? Well, basically it means that Johnny Galecki is going to be very rich, not that he isn't already, and that creator Chuck Lorre will be stuffed and mounted in the CBS HQ lobby once he dies and will be worshiped as some sort of deity. And that he can now make any show he wants, really. So get ready for Jerks and Blonde Ladies, coming to CBS in autumn 2013. [Entertainment Weekly]

Actually, get ready for Mom, a show that Lorre is currently developing and that has just signed Anna Faris as its lead. That's the one we heard about a little while back, about a newly sober single mom trying to get her life back together in Napa Valley. We've already made the jokes about new sobriety and wine country not exactly mixing that well — it'd be like a recovering meth addict moving to Heisenberg's Albuquerque — so let's instead focus on the fact that Anna Faris might soon be doing a network comedy. On CBS. Just a couple of years ago she was poised to be this big movie star! There was a New Yorker profile written about it for god's sake! But now it's a Chuck Lorre show. I suppose she could still be a movie star while working on TV — it seems to be working for fellow Lorre employee Melissa McCarthy — but we expected that Faris would give movie stardom a few more years before she jumped into a steady contract gig. Ah well, work's work, and money is absolutely money. It might have something to do with Faris being a new mother, with TV offering regular hours and workplace not far from home. Now she and Chris Pratt can drop each other off at work and it will be totally cute and they'll have their nice funny life and we'll watch from the other side of the screen and gurgle softly. Everyone wins. [Deadline]

The Television Critics' Association winter press tour is currently underway, and one big thing coming out of the junket so far is that A&E's upcoming show Bates Motel is really only using Psycho as vague inspiration rather than a guide or template. Show creator Carlton Cuse says "the mythology that you think is what dictates the relationship between Norma and Norman is not what it's going to turn out to be." Aha, OK. We kind of knew this already, after seeing a production featurette and realizing that this thing is set in present-day rather than the 1960s, but this solidifies it more. This is a show about a crazy kid named Norman Bates and his large, looming mama, but that is, I guess, the only similarity. Oh, and there's a motel. There is still a motel. Sigh. I don't know about this thing, guys. I just don't know. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Here's a trailer for director Sally Potter's Ginger & Rosa, a Toronto Film Festival hit about two teenage girls forming an intense bond during the Cold War nuclear scares of the 1960s. It looks rather lovely, and features a cast of great actors, among them Elle Fanning (as Ginger), Christina Hendricks, Oliver Platt, Annette Bening, and Alessandro Nivola. Mostly we're excited about seeing Christina Hendricks and Elle Fanning do British accents. Why is it always so fun watching American actors do that? Who knows. But it always is.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.