Here’s Why The Cast Of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Was Actually Underpaid

08.05.14 4 years ago 41 Comments


The core cast of The Big Bang Theory, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons, now have enough Bazinga Bucks to buy every ironic, nerd-pandering t-shirt in the world after the contracts they signed yesterday, which will pay them $1 million an episode for three years. PLUS, “bonuses and back-end fees,” which could make this a $90 million CHA-CHING. That’s more money than I can even comprehend, and yet, there’s a convincing case to be made that they should have earned more.

The cast of Friends was the original $1 million-an-episode bunch, but that was in 2002 — according to Vulture’s Josef Adalian, “To match the payday earned by Ross, Rachel, et al., the Big Bang cast would’ve had to hold up Warners for just over $1.3 million in today’s currency.” He continues:

Every episode of Big Bang represents pure profit to the studio, since CBS is almost certainly covering the full cost of production on the show, even after the actors’ salary hikes. What’s more, syndication rights to the show generate at least $2 million per half-hour, piling on even more profit for Warners. The studio also makes money from DVD and iTunes downloads. But there’s a case to be made that Big Bang’s biggest paydays are yet to come. One day in the future, for example, a streaming service such as Netflix will undoubtedly back up a Brinks truck for online rights to the show. And shorter term, when the cable rights for Big Bang come up for renewal in the next few years, it wouldn’t be shocking if Warners were able to negotiate an even bigger price tag.

All of this means that if Big Bang had gone bye-bye, Warner Bros. would have been walking away from hundreds of millions in syndication money from the loss of what will now be 72 additional episodes. The tens of millions in extra salary now being funneled to the Big Bang cast seems a relative pittance when compared to what’s expected to end up being billions in profit. (Via)

To paraphrase the band that provides The Big Bang Theory theme song, “If I had hundreds of millions of dollars, oh wait, I do.”

Via Vulture

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