The Big Bang Theory had a huge eighth season on the network, and this week the creative team and a couple of the actors headed to Comic-Con, where they talked Season 8 and a few upcoming items. During the panel, executive producer Bill Prady told a story about how none other than Bill Murray helped the series to get an awesome Ghostbusters clip into episode. In order to do so, he had to yell at a prominent studio executive.
During the panel, writer Tara Hernandez mentioned that the team did a “fun little bit” with Ghostbusters last TV season. However, there was a problem. The team discovered at the last minute that there was a snafu and they couldn’t use the clip. So Bill Prady used his connections to try to work out a deal. Here’s what happened:
There was a piece about Ghostbusters, using a clip featuring Bill Murray that they discovered at the last minute they didn’t have permission to use--the studio wasn’t giving permission. [So]I think I can help. It was going to involve being really rude to someone I know. We know Joel Murray [Bill Murray’s brother]. I’ll call up Joel and ask him if he’ll call his brother. This is one of those phone calls where I’m being a horrible person. And Joel said, “Bill is really hard to get a hold of…sometimes it takes a couple of months.
That’s not a great start in terms of getting permission to a movie studio, but if we know one thing about Bill Murray, it’s that he’s kind of a rockstar. Apparently, Joel got in touch with his brother right away and Murray called up and hassled the unnamed movie executive, saying:
Why are you being so mean to the people who work at Big Bang Theory?
Later that day, Prady got a call that said the team had earned permission not only to use the clip from Ghostbusters that they had requested on The Big Bang Theory but that they literally had permission to use whatever they wanted from the film. The scene in question ended up being the hilarious clip of the team discussing how the science in Ghostbusters was wrong.
As if this story could get any better, Prady heard later that Murray had called Joel after talking with the executive and told him he didn’t think his little talk with the network executive was going to work.
As an audience, it’s a little hard to relate to the difficulties of putting together a TV series, but this Bill Murray story goes to show how getting what a show needs can sometimes be about who you know and taking a chance on inconveniencing someone. Obviously, these moments don’t always pay off for TV shows, and sometimes plots have to be changed when a show doesn’t have permission to use something, but taking a chance on Bill Murray paid off in a big way in the case of The Big Bang Theory. Considering this is the dude who popped up in an episode of Parks and Rec to play a dead dude, has a weirdo Netflix Christmas special in the works and totally crashed a fan’s karaoke party, I’m not surprised.
You can catch CBS' The Big Bang Theory when it returns for Season 9 on Monday, September 21 at 8 p.m. ET.