12:05pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Big Bang Theory' Near Two-Season Renewal as Contract Talks Close In
CBS' The Big Bang Theory is cementing its future.
Sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that TV's No. 1 comedy among the all-important adults 18-49 demographic is near a deal for a two-season renewal as the show's five stars — Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayaar — are also close to signing new contracts to return.
A formal deal has not yet been closed, and CBS and producers Warner Bros. Television declined comment. At the moment, there are no talks of an end-game for the series, currently in its 10th season, for its potential 12th season to be its last.
CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves confirmed to reporters Wednesday during the company's earnings call that they're "very very close" to the two-season renewal.
Insiders note that Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco would remain in the $1 million per episode range, with Helberg and Nayyar also being bumped up to the show's top tier.
Should the two-season renewal come through, it would be the latest multi-season pickup for the comedy created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady and overseen by showrunner Steve Molaro. Big Bang Theory has scored a pair of three-season renewals, with the last one coming as part of a new contract with the key stars that briefly delayed production on the multicamera comedy. At the time, Galecki, Cuoco and Parsons negotiated together for massive pay raises that put the trio in Friends territory. All three scored increased points off the show's lucrative syndication back-end (from .25 percent to 1.25 percent), with Parsons and Galecki each landing development deals with WBTV. (Helberg also has an overall with the show's studio.)
Co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik previously negotiated together and secured raises. Both are expected to get a huge bump this cycle as their characters have become key members of the show's ensemble.
For this round of negotiations, CBS is expected to cover most of the show's $10 million per episode production costs. CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller told THR in January that he was "guardedly optimistic" about securing the cast for new deals and that contract talks were continuing through the "tough but normal" round of negotiations.
In its 10th season, Big Bang Theory remains a key property for CBS and WBTV. The network uses the comedy as launchpad for new half-hours. CBS also is teaming with Lorre and Molaro as well as Parsons for prequel Sheldon, about a young Sheldon Cooper. The project, which remains in development as the script continues to be reworked and fine-tuned, has already cast its star in advance of an official pilot order. Meanwhile, Galecki also scored a pilot pickup this season at CBS for comedy for Living Biblically.