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While the television landscape may look completely different than it did 18 years ago, the money-hungry dealings behind the scenes will probably never change. After being delayed for a week, production on The Big Bang Theory’s Season 8 will continue on Wednesday now that the two remaining holdouts have signed new deals. Everything can once again be hunky dory in the CBS comedy’s nerdly world, and who knew it would only take just a tad more goading and an awful lot of money?
According to THR, stars Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar have signed new contracts with Warner Bros. Television, teaming up for the negotiation, which reportedly led to “sizable raises from their $100,000 per episode contract.” Helberg and Nayyar respectively play Howard and Raj, the super-smart friends of Jim Parsons’ character Sheldon and the rest. Howard is an aerospace engineer and Raj is an astrophysicist, and I’m pretty sure neither of those occupations nets the kind of money that acting on a hit CBS sitcom does. Also, I wonder how many spacecraft designers can pull off this wicked Nicolas Cage impression.
The two actors were the last of the show’s cast to finish their deals. Earlier this week, Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco all signed on for lucrative three-year deals where they’ll be pulling in Friends-level salaries of around $1 million per episode. The trio’s deals also included back-end percentages, ensuring their adulthoods will never be in want of anything. Last September, co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch secured their own more financially appealing deals, though nothing close to the central three.
It’s easy to balk at news of sitcom actors demanding more money for their work, but it’s worth remembering that The Big Bang Theory is a top-rated series in an era where the ratings of classic shows is damned near impossible to attain. Roughly 20 million viewers tuned in each week for Season 7, and the incessant reruns on TBS will often pull in more eyes than first-run dramas and comedies on the basic networks. So if anybody on TV deserves to be paid this kind of money, it might as well be the ones doing the most successful job.
The week-long delay will have no effect on The Big Bang Theory’s premiere date, which is still set to happen on Monday, September 22. CBS is hoping back-to-back episodes will lure in a big audience for its freshman drama Scorpion before moving Big Bang Theory back to its Thursday night home after the NFL has finished its Thursday Night Football run. For all this money, it'd be a good year for the series to win its first Emmy for Outstanding Comedy, though I doubt that’ll happen.