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'Big Bang' geeks out with Nimoy, Hawking

The hit CBS show lines up an impressive pair of guest stars

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How do you achieve nerd nirvana? Book Spock and the smartest guy on the planet for cameos. The Big Bang Theory was already enjoying its most watched season to date (16.3 million) when it exceeded expectations by luring Leonard Nimoy and physicist Stephen Hawking in the same week. ”These are two fantasy gets,” says co-creator/executive producer Bill Prady. ”Nimoy hits that level of pop culture fandom, and Stephen is the heir to Einstein. It’s a thrill beyond thrills.” Since the men are heroes of Jim Parsons‘ character, Sheldon, Parsons had the privilege of doing scenes with both — though Nimoy participates only via voice-over as Sheldon’s conscience on March 29. As for Hawking’s April 5 cameo, Prady will reveal only that Sheldon’s meet-and-greet doesn’t go as planned. Adds Parsons, ”Stephen speaks through his computer, so there was a possibility we could just add [the voice] later, but he didn’t want that. He wanted to be the one doing it during the scene. It was really touching.” The high-level guests now leave the cast and crew in a bit of a pickle: How do they top this? ”George Lucas, maybe?” Parsons suggests. ”Sheldon would want to give him a piece of his mind for certain episodes of Star Wars.”