"The Big Bang Theory" is without a doubt among the biggest sitcoms on television these days. Now in its tenth season, the gang of nerds and their "less intelligent" neighbor found sitcom success not seen since the iconic "Friends."
Following in the footsteps of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, the cast of TBBT are also calling for pay cuts to ensure that the central cast gets paid the same amount.
Back in 2014, the show's original stars - Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar landed the $1 million-per-episode paycheck - a feat that few comedians can arrive at. However, according to People, two other cast members who joined the series in later seasons, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch made as little as $200,000 per episode, which is only a fraction of what the rest of the cast is making.
Now that the entire cast is in the middle of contract renegotiations for the 11th and 12th seasons - a feat not even "Friends" managed - the original five cast members are reportedly taking a pay cut, if it means that their co-stars could earn more than they do per episode.
According to News Australia, the five original cast members each offered to drop their pay from $1 million per episode to $900,000, and the money saved from their cut could be split between Malik and Rauch, and would raise their pay to $450,000 per episode each. Considering that the two actresses are the only ones who haven't renewed their contract for the potential next two seasons, the cast is hoping that the raise will convince them to sign on.
Of course, while similar in spirit, the "Friends" cast actually took their paycheck game to the next level, making negotiations and signing on as an ensemble cast - ensuring that they were all paid the same per episode for eight of the show's ten seasons. Their paychecks, which started at $22,500 an episode on season one jumped to $75,000 in Season 3, with a massive increase between seasons 6 and 7, from $125,000 to $750 per episode. Not only that, decades after the show ended, it seems as though the cast is still getting at least $20 million a year from syndication.
It was a smart move for "Friends", and TBBT cast seems to be following in their footsteps, although the $1 million per episode paycheck may not be as "ridiculous" now as "Friends" creator Martha Kauffman once said about her cast member's salaries in the early 2000s.
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