The main cast of Nielsen ratings and CBS cash-making machine The Big Bang Theory is about to get a hefty raise next season. According to Deadline, only Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik are under contract for the season 8 premiere on September 22nd, leaving the contracts of Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar still up in the air for negotiation. Production for the new season is slated to begin on July 30th, but a source told Deadline that both the cast and network “are still far apart and there has been little dialogue.”
In any case, Big Bang’s three-season renewal back in March was cast-contingent, which gives the stars the upper hand in their negotiations that might lead to “Friends territory”:
Under their previous contract, Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco earned around $350,000 an episode in Season 7, with each owning 0.25 point of the series’ lucrative backend. Given the enormous success on Big Bang, a blockbuster network and off-network hit which some estimate could generate up to $3 billion for Warner Bros TV, Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco could go into Friends territory with new salaries in the neighborhood of $1 million per episode, plus a bigger piece of the backend.
The Big Bang cast had similar contract negotiations back in 2010, so this holdup is nothing new; apparently “the two sides are finally engaging, with real back-and-forth likely to begin within the next week or so.”