The stars of CBS's hit show "The Big Bang Theory" want more money. A lot more money. They are asking for triple their current salary, and want up to $1 million per episode plus other compensation.
Filming for season eight was supposed to begin on Wednesday but has been delayed by the negotiations, which reportedly took studio Warner Bros. Television by surprise.
According to Hollywood Reporter, it is not clear just how long production will be on hold.
Stars Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper), Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter) and Kaley Cuoco (Penny) are negotiating together, asking for their $325,000 per episode salary be boosted to $1 million each. Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz) and Kunal Nayyar (Raj Koothrappali) are also seeking "hefty" raises, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Co-stars Melissa Rauch (Bernadette Rostenkowski) and Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler) signed new contracts last year.
Actors typically sign seven-year contracts when they begin a show, and that appears to be the case here. After season seven, the "Big Bang" cast began negotiations for another three years.
"The Big Bang Theory" is currently the No. 1 comedy show on television. During season seven, more than 20 million people watched the show each week. It is also a hit in syndication on TBS. In fact, some of the repeats on TBS often top some of the major networks' original shows.
The production delay was apparently a surprise for the studio. It was previously reported that they were confident that negotiations would be concluded by now. Negotiations began last September.
This isn't the first time that the stars of a hit comedy show has asked for hefty pay raises. The cast of "Friends" was given $1 million per episode in 2002 after demanding more money.
The cast of "Modern Family" renegotiated their contracts in 2012, extending them to eight years. The new contracts also steadily increase their pay of $150,000 per episode to $350,000 per episode by the 8th season.
"The Big Bang Theory" is set to return to CBS with new episodes on Monday, Sept. 22, before moving back to Thursdays on Oct. 30.
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