Billy Gardell was once a regular presence on the small screen thanks to his starring role on the CBS sitcom Mike and Molly. Despite sometimes irregular scheduling, the series never failed to bring the laughs thanks to the comedic stylings of Gardell and co-star Melissa McCarthy. Sadly, Mike and Molly came to an end in 2016, and fans lost Gardell on network television. Now he's on his way back with a brand new role on a brand new comedy. Yes, Billy Gardell will appear in the first season of CBS' Young Sheldon.
On Young Sheldon, Billy Gardell will play a character by the name of Herschel Sparks, who is the father of Sheldon's childhood nemesis Billy Sparks. The pilot episode of Young Sheldon featured Billy Sparks terrorizing poor Sheldon with his pet chicken Matilda, and it seemed to be a regular occurrence. If Billy gets away with tormenting Sheldon long enough to land a place on Sheldon's all-time enemies list, the odds are pretty good that Billy's dad doesn't usually step in to stop his son from acting up. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if he encourages Billy's behavior. EW reports that the role of Herschel Sparks will be guest-starring, so we can't say just how much of Billy Gardell we'll see.
Young Sheldon debuted on September 25 as the long-awaited Sheldon-centric spinoff of The Big Bang Theory. Despite featuring arguably the most famous character of The Big Bang Theory, the two shows were clearly going to be very different, and nobody could say for sure how audiences would respond to the series. Well, the early response to Young Sheldon was quite positive, as it was a major hit in the ratings for its series premiere.
The first episode of Young Sheldon scored impressive numbers, with 17.21 million people tuning in and an enviable 3.8 rating in the all-important 18-49 age demographic. CBS responded by ordered a full first season of Young Sheldon only two days after the first episode hit the airwaves, which was a significant show of faith in the freshman series. If the numbers for Young Sheldon keep up and the Coopers don't move away from the Sparks (and Billy's chicken), Billy Gardell could have a pretty sweet gig back on the network TV circuit.
This won't be the first time Billy Gardell returns to television since the end of Mike and Molly, however. He stretched his dramatic acting muscles in the CMT scripted series Sun Records, which was originally called Million Dollar Quartet. It should be fun to see him get back to his sitcom roots on Young Sheldon. Now we can only cross our fingers that Melissa McCarthy somehow agrees to appear as Mrs. Sparks.
Young Sheldon will return to CBS on Thursday, November 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET for the rest of its first season. Be sure to tune in to see Billy Gardell back in primetime for a CBS sitcom. For your other options now and in the coming weeks, take a look at our fall TV guide.