With 19 million viewers, CBS will probably pay up than lose their most successful show for an eighth season
It has been reported that the stars of CBS’ hit comedy, The Big Bang Theory, are demanding $1m per episode as they conduct contract talks ahead of production on season 8.
On set with the Big Bang Theory cast in 2013 (Getty/Kevin Winters)
Jim Parsons, an Emmy nominee this year for his role as Sheldon Cooper, Johnny Galecki, who plays his exasperated roommate Leonard Hofstadter, Kaley Cuoco, who plays Leonard’s love interest Penny Kaley, Simon Helberg, who plays fan favourite Howard Wolowitz and Kunal Nayyar, who plays the shy Raj Koothrappal are all working together to secure a significant pay rise.
The first three – arguably the most marketable stars of the franchise and currently earning $325k per episode – are reportedly angling for the biggest increases of $1m per episode, while Helberg and Nayyar are looking to boost their pay packages alongside them.
The cynical amongst you won’t regard this as news, either because you believe The Big Bang Theory to be an inane, waste of TV, or because you know as well as I do that 19 million viewers on the regular for CBS means $3m per episode to three huge stars isn’t really a problem. Nor is it rare. The Friends cast each grabbed $1m per episode for the sitcom’s last 2 seasons.
Any such deal would make the trio the highest paid stars in television, inching ahead of Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer in Two and a Half Men. TBBT has been an unmitigated success for the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, who has become one of the most revered show runners in television today.
With two more seasons of the hit comedy already commissioned, it’s difficult to fathom a world in which CBS didn’t factor this kind of request into their thinking. You can expect a deal for around $800k (rising to $1m in season 9) to be signed in the next few days.