The five main stars of "The Big Bang Theory" -- Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg -- are not asking for another raise, but they are offering to take a small pay cut so two other cast members can get more. But will it be enough?
According to Variety, the last hurdle to TBBT getting a two-season renewal is finalizing the contracts for Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler) and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette Rostenkowski). The actresses both joined the CBS show in Season 3 and became series regulars in Season 4. Their characters have had more screen time recently, with Amy as Sheldon's (Parsons) live-in girlfriend and Bernadette married to Howard (Helberg).
Sources told Variety the five original stars offered to take a salary cut of $100,000 for the prospective 11th and 12th seasons to free up $500,000 raises for Bialik and Rauch. The actresses are currently said to make in the $200,000-per-episode range, compared to their co-stars $1 million-an-episode.
As Variety noted, if they split a $500K raise, that would make their salaries around $450,000 an episode, which is about $21 million for the two-year, 48-episode deal. So now it's a question of whether they will hold firm for total equal pay or accept a hefty raise ... that still gives them less than half of everyone else. The contract negotiation timing is less great for Bialik and Rauch than it was for Helbert and Nayyar, since the show isn't at the height it was three years ago when the actors got their raises to reach $1 million-an-episode parity. But it's still a massively successful sitcom that makes insane amounts of money.
All of this $$$ talk is way out of the leagues of The Rest Of Us, but TBBT's big piles of cash will be going somewhere, so you could argue they should go to the stars who have been asked to do increasing amounts of work over the years to keep the show such a hit.
"The Big Bang Theory" Season 10 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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