9:50am PT by Lesley Goldberg
CBS Boss "Confident" in New Contracts for 'Big Bang Theory' Stars
CBS president Glenn Geller was on the hot seat Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour where he was grilled about the network's lack of diversity as well as the future of TV's No. 1 comedy, The Big Bang Theory.
The cast of the series, which ranks as television's top dog among the key adults 18-49 demographic, is under contract through the upcoming season 10. The Warner Bros. Television comedy, from Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady and Steve Molaro, returns in September with stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch all up for new deals at season's end. Sources say the cast are all seeking pay raises from their historic contracts reached two years ago when the show was picked up for a three-season renewal.
"We are very confident that everyone involved wants more Big Bang past year 10 and I know Warner Bros. will make those deals," Geller told reporters Wednesday.
Emmy-winner Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco negotiated together in 2014 and were seeking big salary increases. Sources at the time told The Hollywood Reporter that the trio secured about $1 million per half-hour with an increased cut of the show's backend from 0.25 percent to 1.25 percent. The deals are said to bring the three into the Friends region, with that cast negotiating together and locking in $1 million per episode with studio WBTV. (Big Bang Theory is a massive hit in syndication, with TBS' repeats regularly topping the weekly syndication ratings.) The pacts also included overall deals and more. Co-stars Bialik and Rauch previously inked new deals with WBTV, with both earning big raises two years ago when the cast's contract talks began but before Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco's rich deal.
Negotiations with the cast are currently underway. Last time, production on the series was delayed as the cast refused to return to work without new pacts. Production on season 10 is expected to resume soon.
For his part, showrunner Molaro has noted that the producers have thought about an end-game but are focused on the upcoming season and have repeatedly stressed that they are not approaching 10 as its final bow.