Beatles fans are getting a little something special on Sirius/XM’s The Beatles Channel through Thursday (Feb. 7), courtesy of a group of primetime TV Beatlemaniacs.
“Big Bang Beatles” will feature four cast members from CBS’ long-running smash sitcom The Big Bang Theory – Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper), Mayim Bialik (Amy, his wife), Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz, who has a Beatlish haircut on the show) and Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter) — along with the show’s creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre. The quintet will be playing DJ, choosing their favorite Beatles tunes and talking about them, through Thursday on the new Sirius special. (Times are below.)
“When we came back this season at the first table read, Mayim Bialik came over to me and said, ‘Oh my God. Sirius has this brand new station about the Beatles and I’ve been listening to it, and it’s just great,'” Gay Linvill, associate director of The Big Bang Theory who describes herself as a huge Beatles fan, tells Billboard. She asked Bialik if she’d be interested in doing the station’s ‘My Fab Four’ feature, where celebrities make a playlist of their favorite Beatles tunes. “’Oh my God, I’d love to do it,” Bialik told Linvill.
“Mayim is a huge Beatles fan… The reason she plays bass guitarist is Paul McCartney,” Linvill says. “So I called Lou Simon (Vice President, Music Programming for Sirius/XM), who’s an old friend of mine and oversees the Beatles Channel and the ’60s Channel, The Sinatra Channel and various others, and asked him if he might be interested in various cast members doing a ‘My Fab Four.’ And he jumped at it.” Simon suggested doing a special program.
Linvill polled the cast to find out who’d be interested, and Parsons, Bialik, Helberg and Galecki “were on board right away,” she says. “It originally was going to follow a ‘My Fab Four’ kind of format, but kind of ended up not. [Simon] asked them to do six or eight in case they were overlaps. So some of them came in with six, some came in with eight.”
The casts’ commentaries showed some real knowledge of the group. Helberg, himself a professional musician, talked for several minutes on the technical aspects of “Don’t Let Me Down.” “Jim’s ‘A Day in the Life’ was so interesting because he talked about how he realized that that song really struck him as an actor — that you didn’t have to be exactly like the person you were acting with, that you could complement each other and have it bring different styles to something and make it even better than it would have been with one style,” Linvill explains. “And he talked and he related that concept to ‘A Day in the Life.’ Which was fantastic, to hear him relate his own art to their art and how that influenced him.”
“Lou was so pleased with what he got that there might be a part 2,” she adds.
Simon indeed confirmed to Billboard on Monday the station will air more of the commentaries recorded with the cast members and Lorre. “They did so many for us I couldn’t use them all in the first show. So I used about half of them, leaving me enough content to create a second show. I’m going to hold that until the spring. I haven’t picked a date yet, but it’ll coincide likely with the last episode of the series.”
The show, now in its 12th and final season, has only nine more episodes to film. Linvill says she doesn’t know what will happen in the last nine shows: “I don’t what’s in store. I know they know how they’re going to end the show… The writers have decided but they’re not telling anyone outside the writers room.”
“Everybody is getting emotional about it,” she adds. The last season’s shows have been a hot ticket with those for the entire season gone in December. “I’m pretty sure they’re heading towards the end that they’ve cooked up.”
The “Big Bang Beatles” series runs until Thursday on Sirius/XM’s The Beatles Channel (Channel 18). Here are the remaining times: Tuesday (Feb. 5) 11:00 a.m. ET; Thursday (Feb. 7) 12:00 p.m. ET. The show can be heard free on demand on the Sirius/XM app.