Five stars of the CBS sitcom hit “The Big Bang Theory” reportedly are offering to take lower salaries in order for two lesser-paid cast members to get raises.
Variety said original series stars Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar and Jim Parsons each are willing to take a $100,000 pay cut in their estimated earnings of $1 million per episode so that Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, who each make an estimated $200,000 per episode, can be better compensated. The contributed $500,000, split two ways, would raise each actresses’ pay to $450,000 an episode.
Variety said the pay-cut offer was made in contract-renewal negotiations that began late last year, and that talks on Bialik’s and Rauch’s salaries are only beginning in earnest now.
Bialik, 41, and Rauch, 36, joined the sitcom about socially awkward physicists in season 3. The show, perennially TV’s highest-rated comedy, is in its 10th season, and the raises would go into effect with the upcoming 11th and 12th seasons. Bialik has been nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series each year from 2012 to 2015.
Representatives for CBS, producer Warner Bros. Television, and Rauch did not respond to Newsday requests for verification. Bialik’s spokeswoman said, “At this time there’s no news to share.”
Production of season 8 in 2014 had been delayed a week while Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco negotiated raises from the estimated $350,000 per episode they had been making, and Helberg and Nayyar reached deals to increase their salaries from their estimated $100,000 each, according to trade reports.