“There’s a script I’ll be doing in October, and I’m pretty sure I play Professor Proton in that,” Newhart said backstage after accepting his award – to a standing ovation – at the 2013 Creative Arts Emmys on Sunday. “But he might have given up his science thing. That’s up to Chuck (Lorre) and the writing team.”
Newhart said that in the past, he had resigned himself to never winning an Emmy.
“There were a couple years where I didn’t submit my name,” Newhart said. “I just felt that the kind of stuff I do doesn’t win awards. And I didn’t really want to go through the process and the disappointment. So maybe for six years, three of ‘The Bob Newhart Show’ and three of ‘Newhart,’ I didn’t bother submitting my name. That way I could sit at home and say, ‘I would have won.’
“The best answer is really, the years I was nominated, there were better people in the category than me. You could try to put it another way, but that’s the truth.”
But the pursuit by Lorre opened the door for Newhart’s Emmy breakthrough.
“Chuck Lorre had been after me,” Newhart said. “We had over the years talked about doing something – it finally was this year, and he said, ‘What will it take?’ I said, ‘It has to be in front of a live audience,’ because that’s all I’ve ever done. I don’t know how to do a show not in front of a live audience. So he said, how about “The Big Bang Theory,’ and I said, ‘Great,’ because I think it’s the best-written show on television. And I said I wanted it to be a recurring role – I didn’t want it to be one and out.”
In his usual softspoken manner, Newhart indicated that it was a special night.
“The standing ovation tonight really threw me,” Newhart said. “I was totally unprepared for that. This is from your peers.”