Production of The Big Bang Theory is finally set to get underway after stars Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar are offered bumper new deals. While the pair failed to get parity with the show’s other main actors on America’s number one sitcom, their pay packets will leap to the ‘mid six-figure range’ from their current fee of around $100,000 per episode.
Warner Bros told Variety in a statement: ‘Production on season eight of ‘The Big Bang’ Theory will begin Wednesday, August 6, with contract negotiations now having been concluded.’ Sources told the website the duo had negotiated jointly, with their lawyer pushing hard for salary parity with Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. However they ended up accepting a final take-it-or-leave-it offer after they were told their characters would be written out of the show if they did not agree to ink the deals by 3pm on Tuesday.
The show’s exasperated executive producers Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro went as far as preparing a script that did not involve Helberg or Nayyar’s characters so they could to move forward with the season’s first table read. The making of the new series had already been held up for a week as Kaley, Jim and Johnny ramped up the pressure, which led to them being handed new three-year deals with even bigger pay increases. The trio are tripling their salaries from $325K per episode to ‘about $1 million per half-hour and an increased cut of the back-end.’
The CBS show’s two other original cast members – Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar- are still in talks but expected to reach an agreement by week’s end. Last week Warner Bros.Television delayed the start of sitcom’s eight season after the five cast members failed to return to work for a scheduled table read.
Famously following in the footsteps of the Friends cast years ago, Cuoco, Parsons and Galecki negotiated together and were able to successfully land the seven figure payday. The new contracts are said to include $1 million for each of the 72 episodes over the next three seasons, a greater percentage of the highly successful show’s back-end as well as overall production deals. According to Deadline.com, the three actors stand to earn around $90 – $100 million each over the course of the three years.
Meanwhile, Helberg and Nayyar – who currently earn $100K per episode – are said to be ‘close’ to signing their deals. Co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch had already inked new pacts and reportedly secured large raises, but nowhere near the range of Kaley and company.
The show’s creator Peter Lorre didn’t see the contract negotiations as a big problem and seemed hopeful for a resolution. ‘There are people at Warner Brothers Television and people representing the actors who have done this before,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter. ‘This will work itself out. I think it’s great; I want them all to be crazy wealthy because nobody deserves it more than this cast. It’ll work out.’
The Big Bang Theory is currently the number one comedy on television with an average of 20 million viewers per week and is routinely one of the top shows in syndication. The eighth season is set to premiere with an hour-long episode on September 22.