After taking things day by day on Wednesday and Thursday, I’ve learned that Warner Bros TV has tentatively slated production on Season 8 of The Big Bang Theory to start next Wednesday, August 6. That is a week after the CBS series’ eighth season was originally supposed to kick off with a table read last Wednesday, July 31. Of course, holding the postponed table read on August 6 will be contingent on the five original cast members closing new deals. I hear talks continue with Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, Helberg and Kunal Nayyar. The contracts of all five expired at the end of last season. The only Big Bang cast members who have deals in place and available to start work immediately are Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, who renegotiated their contracts last fall.
For now there is no danger of Big Bang not being able to make its hourlong premiere on September 22. There is talk that the delay might lead to a minimal order reduction from 24 to 23 episodes, but I hear that could be avoided by shortening planned hiatuses or extending production in the spring. Like the 2010 salary renegotiations, Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco would likely end up with equal pay, more than doubling and likely tripling their most recent salary of $350,000 an episode as well as their current back-end ownership, said to be around .25 point. Helberg and Nayyar, who are once again negotiating together, raised their per-episode fee to more than $100,000 an episode in the 2010 renegotitions. I hear they may be looking to close the salary gap with their three original cast mates.
The Big Bang cast negotiations are going on during the Emmy voting period. with co-star Parsons seeking his fourth win for best actor in a comedy series and the show looking to score its first best series win. (Bialik also is in the running for best supporting actress.) The 2010 salary renegotiations also coincided with Emmy voting. There was no impact as Parsons scored his first Emmy that year. Similarly, the dramatic 2012 salary renegotiations for the cast of Modern Family, which concluded just before the second phase of Emmy voting began, were not a factor as the show won both acting categories it was eligible for — supporting actress in a comedy series (Julie Bowen) and supporting actor in a comedy series (Eric Stonestreet) — as well as best comedy series.