EXCLUSIVE: CBS‘ The Big Bang Theory is a big step closer to making the new Aug. 6 production start date for Season 8 — I’ve learned that stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco have agreed to new three-year contracts. The deals for Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco came after marathon negotiations between Big Bang producer Warner Bros TV and reps for the actors over the weekend, with Parsons’ pact closing first on Sunday, followed by the Galecki and Cuoco under “most favored nations” terms, ensuring the trio have financial parity with each other. WBTV declined comment and reps for Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco could not be reached for comment, but I hear the trio are in the long-rumored Friends salary territory, scoring paychecks of $1 million per episode for the 72 episodes the show is slated to produce in Seasons 8-10. What’s more, I hear the door has been left open to a potential 11th season.
I also hear that the complex deals go well beyond per-episode fees and also include larger pieces of the show, signing bonuses, production deals and advances towards the back-end — perks associated with talent deals on shows as big as Big Bang. In addition to tripling their most recent salaries of $350,000 an episode, I hear Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco also quadrupled their previous ownership on the show, which has gone up from 0.25 to more than a point. I hear Parsons’ pact includes a production deal that spans TV and features and possibly theater, with Galecki and Cuoco also getting producing arrangements. Galecki produced a comedy project for WBTV last season, No Place Like Home, which went to pilot at Fox.
All in, I hear Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco are poised to make at least $90 million each over the lives of the deals, with some observers noting that the total could conceivably rise towards $100 million if Big Bang continues to be as strong in syndication and auxiliary markets. With the big payday for Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco and the windfall for top profit participants, WBTV still is expected to clear $1 billion in profits, with some projecting that Big Bang could contribute to Time Warner’s bottom line twice that over its lifespan. (more…)