CBS is coughing up big bucks for the stars of The Big Bang Theory. Despite the show’s monstrous three-season renewal in March, stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting’s contracts had not been renewed yet. Production on the show’s upcoming 8th season was put off last week due to failed negotiations between the show’s producer Warner Bros. TV and the actors’ agents. The new production date was slated for Aug. 6 in hopes that the weekend would give all parties enough time to strike a deal– and they did!
Deadline.com reports that the stars will each earn nearly $1 million per episode for the next three seasons. Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco-Sweeting will each get a bigger cut of The Big Bang Theory’s syndication deal on TBS. That’s a big raise from their previous contracts which paid them $350,000 per episode. Last fall, we reported that the leading stars were seeking a big bump in their salaries, but that CBS and Warner Bros. TV would worry about the contract renewals after the end of season 7.
The new contracts, of course, put the three stars in Friends territory. The infamous NBC sitcom faced its own contract disputes during later seasons as the sitcom giant skyrocketed in the ratings. The Big Bang Theory is the number one comedy on television and isn’t slowing down. Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco-Sweeting will also have various types of production deals with Warner Bros. TV, including a potential theatrical deal for Parsons. All in all, they are expected “to make at least $90 million each over the lives of the deals.”
The show has one final hurdle before table reads can begin. Big Bang Theory cast members Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar are bargaining together for a pay raise. The two were earning $100,000 per episode and hope to make a solid pay leap now that their contracts have expired. If they strike a deal in time, the show will probably manage to maintain its 24-episode commitment to CBS instead of dropping to 23. Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, the female co-stars who spend a comparable amount of time on-screen as Helberg and Nayyar, renewed their contracts in the fall to make $60,000 per episode for Season 8. The Big Bang Theory returns with an hourlong premiere on Monday Sept. 22 before returning to its Thursday half-hour episodes.