Deadline reports that Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco have gotten huge raises for their starring roles on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Much of Deadline’s reporting is unconfirmed, but the figures are gaudy: The three leads are getting their per-episode rate nearly tripled, from $350,000 an episode to about $1 million. (That’s how much the Friends stars made at their peak.)
As it turns out, though, the per-episode rate is just the tip of the iceberg—all three actors also negotiated for various other money-making pieces of the pie, like the percentage of ownership they have on the show and production deals beyond just TV for the show. The deal also may have opened the door to an 11th season of the show, according to the same Deadline report.
Estimates vary on just how much money Parsons, Galecki, and Cuoco will make—a lot depends on how well the show will do in its upcoming seasons, and in syndication. But given how popular the show is already—repeats of Big Bang routinely get better ratings on cable than first-run broadcasts of network dramas—it could easily be $100 million over the course of the contracts, which are all three-year deals.
The deal comes after contract negotiations for the leads delayed the start of production for the show’s eighth season by a week—and, scandalously, the cast didn’t show up to the Big Bang Theory panel at Comic-Con. There’s still work to be done: Of the five original series regulars, Kumal Nayyar and Simon Helberg are the two actors who have yet to wrap negotiations. (Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik are already in contracts that were made last year.)
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