The three main stars of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" -- TV's top-rated sitcom -- reportedly have reached a $1 million-per-episode deal that may help end a nearly weeklong delay in starting production for season eight.
Deadline.com said Monday that Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting finalized negotiations on Sunday under "favored nations" terms that guarantee them equal compensation for seasons 8 through 10. Each had previously received $350,000 per episode.
Yet while co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik renegotiated their own contracts last fall, the site said, fellow stars Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar continue efforts to raise their fees from their current $100,000 an episode.
The sitcom's production company, Warner Bros. Television, hopes to complete negotiations in time for the season's first scheduled table reading Wednesday.
Taking inflation into account, the new salaries do not match what was then the record $1 million per episode negotiated for each of the six stars of NBC's "Friends" in 2002.
The stars of "Seinfeld," in their own widely publicized contract talks in 1997, prior to season nine, had negotiated a $1 million-per-episode fee for Jerry Seinfeld and a jump of from $150,000 to $600,00 per episode each for Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards.
Season eight of "The Big Bang Theory" -- about a group of stereotypically geeky young physicists and their friends and co-workers -- is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 22.