Two of The Big Bang Theory’s main cast members would reportedly have been written off the sitcom if they hadn’t agreed a new deal with CBS.
Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco, who star as Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, and Penny in the hugely popular show, each agreed huge new contracts to continue on The Big Bang Theory yesterday. They are now believed to be earning around $1million per episode.
Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, who play Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrapali, have both agreed new terms too, but they’re pay increase isn’t thought to have been as substantial as their co-stars.
It’s now been revealed that Helberg and Nayyar actually tried to get themselves on the same wage as the aforementioned trio, but Warner Bros. Television decided that they weren’t worth as much as Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco so they made them a take-it-or-leave-it offer that they ultimately accepted.
According to ComicBook, CBS decided that their characters could have easily been written out of the show if a new contract wasn’t agreed.
Far from being a negotiating tactic, it has even been alleged that Nayyar and Helberg’s exits at one point looked a certainty and that the duo came extraordinarily close to not featuring in the first episode of its upcoming new season at all.
Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, the co-creators and Executive Producers of The Big Bang Theory, had become so tired by the elongated contract negotiations that they were prepared to get rid of Raj and Howard from the show just so that production could finally begin. It’s thought that they’d even prepared a script for the first episode that didn’t feature the pair just so that they could move forward.
Helberg and Nayyar, who negotiated jointly through a lawyer, were given until 3pm on Tuesday to sign the deal. Variety even reported: “The actors’ rep was advised that their characters would be written out of the series if a deal could not be reached.”
However the fact that a new deal was agreed means that production did resume yesterday, and a table-read featuring the entire cast took place today ahead of the shooting of the first new episode of the show.
The Big Bang Theory’s eighth season had originally been set to begin production on July 30, but this dispute means that it has now lost a week. However, despite this disturbance, the episode is expected to complete filming in time for its September 22 air-date.