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EXCLUSIVE: Katee Sackhoff Returning to 'Big Bang Theory'!

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 26th 2010 9:00AM
Katee SackhoffMy new AOL TV column doesn't officially debut until Sept. 1 -- and debut it will, with a title and picture and everything. But when the nerd Batphone rings, you can be sure Mo Ryan will answer it, whether or not the Photoshop wizards have finished working on my column photo.

I found out that 'The Big Bang Theory' is breaking out the big guns for its impending move to Thursdays, and I just had to get this exclusive news out there now: Katee Sackhoff is guest starring on the CBS comedy again this fall.

The actress, who played Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on 'Battlestar Galactica' and Dana Walsh on '24,' won't be in the season premiere of 'Big Bang' (Thurs., Sept. 23, 8PM ET on CBS), but keep reading for scoop on that one, too.

Sackhoff will return later this fall to the role she first played last year -- the version of "Katee Sackhoff" who acts as the conscience of Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg). The episode will also feature the return of Melissa Rauch as Wolowitz's ex-girlfriend, Bernadette.

"He's struggling with his feelings about Bernadette and them breaking up, and in pops Katee Sackhoff again," Sackhoff laughed. "I can probably say [the scene] won't be in the bathtub. I don't know for sure ... I can't imagine them doing the same thing twice, but you never know."

Appearing on 'Big Bang' -- which grew into such a hit that CBS is using it as part of a new sitcom block in a hotly contested Thursday slot -- "really, really helped me decide that I could do [comedy]," Sackhoff said. "So when [co-creator Chuck Lorre] called to see if I could do a second episode, I said, 'Of course.'"

Sackhoff admitted that, prior to her first 'Big Bang' experience, she had avoided funny roles for years. It's not surprising given that her first Hollywood guest role -- on the WB comedy 'Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane' -- didn't go very well, especially when her character had to deliver a "throaty laugh."

"I was 18 years old. I had no idea what a throaty laugh was," Sackhoff said. When the episode aired, another actress' voice had been dubbed over hers for the laugh. Sackhoff's reaction: "And I will never do comedy again!"

But she said that a decade spent playing serious roles on shows like '24,' 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Bionic Woman' had her on the lookout for a change of pace. "I think that people remember you for your last job, and ... no one can picture you outside of that," Sackhoff said. "So I was looking for something to tear the lid off that box."

Appearing on 'Big Bang' last November (in the aforementioned bathtub scene with Wolowitz) was "daunting ... thank God for the bubbles, because I didn't have to do it in front of a live audience," she added with a laugh. Though she said she was relieved that the episode was largely well-received, she was a bit thrown by the surprising reaction in some quarters.

"My mom called me and she goes, 'Everyone online thinks you've had your boobs and your lips done.' I was like, 'What?!'" Sackhoff recalled. "I just thought it was absolutely the funniest thing ever. I realized it's because they've never seen me with that much makeup on before. And because it's supposed to be Wolowitz's fantasy, I had on the stuff that pushed my boobs together and we traced the line of my lips to make them bigger, because in his mind, they're huge. I mean, it was a caricature of myself. I cracked up."

So is she open to coming back for more? Absolutely. "We're just trying to figure out how many times Starbuck or Katee Sackhoff can pop up in Wolowitz's head. It can't be every episode ... I mean, I would love to have me pop up every episode, but maybe it's too much. Maybe I could do a 'final thought,' like Andy Rooney does, at the end of every ['60 Minutes'] episode," she joked.

Katee Sackhoff on 'Futurama'If you can't wait until Sept. 23 to see Sackhoff, she's also appearing on 'Futurama' this Thursday (Aug. 26, 10PM ET on Comedy Central).

Oh, and if you see her and Tricia Helfer (Six!) passing through your town this October on motorcycles, know that A) You are not seeing things, and B) the 'Battlestar Galactica' castmates -- who are very good friends in real life -- are riding from Los Angeles to Louisiana to raise money for theTricia Helfer & Katee Sackhoff Gulf region in the wake of the BP oil spill.

"We're trying to continue to raise awareness that this will be an ongoing problem," said Sackhoff, who'll start selling T-shirts benefiting Gulf causes via the site actingoutlaws.org in a couple of weeks.

Even when not riding for charity, she and Helfer like getting on their motorcycles and cruising around Los Angeles. I asked what the reaction is when 'Battlestar' fans see them at gas stations. "It's kind of funny, especially when [fellow 'BSG' actor] Michael Trucco goes with us," Sackhoff said. "People are like, 'Wow, what just happened?'"

As promised, here's a bit more information about 'The Big Bang Theory' Season 4 premiere -- spoilers ahoy!
Jim Parsons & Mayim Bialik on 'The Big Bang Theory'
*The Sept. 23 episode will feature the return of Mayim Bialik as Amy Fowler, who goes on a date with Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons).

*Somehow Penny (Kaley Cuoco) ends up going along for the ride on their date.

*Our favorite engineering whiz Wolowitz will play around with a robotic arm. That's bound to end well.

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Why you people be hatin' on "Blossom?"

September 23 2010 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with Laura, Mayim is tragically miscast and she did seem to strugle with her lines, like she was trying too hard. Plus I dont see why Sheldon or anybody would be crushing on her. I'd sooner see Sheldon w/ Leonards mom cuz the sexual tension there was obvious. But with Mayims character Sheldon looks like he's just friend-vibing her. Sorry, just not feeling it.

August 27 2010 at 4:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chill laura, lets just see how it works out with Mayim, remember this about how Sheldon will react to his first crush.

August 26 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

PLEASE!!!!!! get Mayim Bialik off of the damn show, please. I swear I will stop watching it if she continues to be on it. I have no idea why she's even there, let alone playing Sheldons date. She's fugly, looks old enough to be his grandmother and she can't act. She could barely hold it together while the crowd was laughing during the episode she was on. Besides, i didnt really feel any connection between them anyway, other than an intellectual one. Kind of like Leonard and Leslie Winkle, but at least Leslie was funny. This girl is just eye-rollingly boring and annoying. Please someone keep this woman away from the show and from any tv show for that matter.

August 26 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Glad to see Katee back on the show I will definitely be watching!

August 26 2010 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Katee and Tricia on bikes? Damn! I like it already.

August 26 2010 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John F.C. Taylor

I don't care if K.S. ever returns to TV. Don't blame her for BSG, but I think they changed too much when they made women half of the old series male characters in the new version. Special effects were great, but overall the series was too dark and monochromatic.

August 26 2010 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John F.C. Taylor's comment

Dirk, is that you?

August 26 2010 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hi Maureen-have missed you since you left the Trib! Can't wait for your official return.

August 26 2010 at 9:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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