3:01pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Big Bang Theory' Stars Seeking Hefty Pay Raises
The stars of television's No. 1 scripted comedy are looking to cash in.
The Big Bang Theory leads Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco are seeking sizable pay increases, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The moves come after co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch recently inked new deals with studio Warner Bros. Television to guarantee their long-term presence on the series, securing raises in the process.
Sources tell THR that Emmy winner Parsons (Sheldon), Galecki (Leonard) and Cuoco (Penny) will negotiate together -- as they did in 2010 -- and are looking for a considerable bump in pay from their current deal. According to a TV Guide Magazine report, the trio currently earns $325,000 per episode and may seek up to $1 million an episode.
Original stars Simon Helberg (Howard) and Kunal Nayyar (Raj) also are said to be looking for increases and will renegotiate together.
The new deals for Bialik and Rauch, who joined the series midway through its run and were promoted from recurring to regulars, will see their salary jump from $20,000-$30,000/episode to the $60,000 ballpark, with increases each year taking them to $100,000 per episode by the end of their new contracts, sources say.
Warner Bros. Television declined comment.
CBS has renewed Big Bang Theory through its upcoming seventh season, which begins next week. The series on Sunday is up for the best comedy Emmy, with Parsons again in the running for best actor. (The show has yet to win in the comedy series category.) Comic legend Bob Newhart also recently collected his first career win for his guest appearance on the Chuck Lorre comedy and is due to return this season.
In its sixth season, CBS' Big Bang Theory rose to new heights, thanks in part to TBS' syndicated repeats helping to expand the show's viewership, and bested ABC's Modern Family to become the top scripted comedy on television in total viewers and among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic.