Big Bang Theory: Bob Newhart set to make final (?) appearance in season 12

Professor Proton will ghost Sheldon one last time on The Big Bang Theory. Sources confirm to TVLine exclusively that Bob Newhart will make what will presumably be his final appearance as Arthur Jeffries/Prof Proton during the CBS comedy’s upcoming farewell season.

A Big Bang rep confirmed the news, but declined to offer any details about the circumstances surrounding the late character’s return. However, if history is any indication, Newhart’s beloved professor will appear to Sheldon at a time of great need. The episode is expected to air sometime this fall.

This will mark Newhart’s sixth guest stint as Arthur Jeffries/Prof Proton. Despite the ex-science show host’s passing in Season 7’s “The Proton Transmogrification,” the character continued to appear to Sheldon in visions, most recently in last fall’s “The Proton Regeneration” when Sheldon was reeling from the news that his sworn enemy Wil Wheaton was named the new Professor Proton.

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Newhart’s Big Bang return was hinted at in TVLine’s Fall Preview Spoiler Spectacular, with EP Steve Holland telling us, “There are certainly people that we love that we want to see again [before the end] — like Bob Newhart.”

Last month, CBS and Warner Bros. jointly announced that The Big Bang Theory‘s 12th season — which is set to premiere on Monday, September 24 (8/7c) before moving to its regular time period on Thursday, September 27 (8/7c) — would be its last. At the time, the network and studio said they “aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close.”