EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that the stars of The Big Bang Theory are getting fat new paychecks just as the hit CBS comedy is getting ready for its big move to Thursdays next week. After almost 3 months of negotiations with series producer Warner Bros TV, Big Bang leads Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons have agreed to a major salary hike that would bring the trio’s salaries to $200,000 an episode for the upcoming fourth season, up from about $60,000 last season. The salaries will rise to $250,000 in Season 5, then $300,000 in Season 6 and 350,000 in Season 7. Additionally, they will each receive .25 point of the series’ lucrative backend and will be paid $1+ million as an advance against it now and another $1 million in Season 7. That effectively adds another $50,000 to their per-episode paycheck over the life of the deal.
I hear Galecki and Cuoco, who have been negotiating together, closed their deals on Monday in a face-to-face meeting between their representatives and Warner Bros following a powwow with the two actors and their teams on Friday where the studio’s final offer was presented. Meanwhile, recent Emmy winner Jim Parsons had been holding out for more money and had handled his negotiations separately despite the fact that he is represented by the same law firm as Galecki and Cuoco (Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman). I learned that Parsons was offered the same deal as Galecki and Cuoco and given a deadline to take the take it or leave it by today. He just accepted. Talk about hardball: I hear the studio, which had made it clear it was planning to do “favored nations”-type deals (paying all the stars the same), was prepared to table re-negotiations with Parsons until next summer if he had turned down the offer. (more…)