There is a chance, however slight, that CBS may have to delay The Big Bang Theory‘s season eight premiere. Only two cast members, Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, are under contract for the September 22nd episode, while stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar are free agents, so to speak. According to Deadline, “I hear the two sides [CBS and the cast] are still far apart and there has been little dialogue.” But before you happily yell BAZINGA to the heavens, know that this standoff has happened before, and everyone will eventually sign back up.
For a whole lot of money.
Under their previous contract, Galecki, Parsons, and Cuoco earned around $350,000 an episode in season seven, 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. (Via)
That $1 million-per-episode settlement was for Friends last season, a deal that NBC would enthusiastically offer RIGHT NOW for Big Bang. In fact, Bob Greenblatt is already on the phone trying to trade with CBS. For one Big Bang Theory, he’ll give up one home-cooked meal from Hannibal, a Li’l Sebastian stuffed animal, AND James Spader’s hat collection. CBS is considering their options.