Big Bang Theory fans can breathe a sigh of relief now. It looks like TV’s favorite nerds are here to stay for at least two more seasons. Negotiations with main cast members Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar are drawing to a close for a two-year contract with CBS.
According to an exclusive report by Deadline, if CBS and Warner Bros. reach successful negotiations, then the gang would be gearing up for Season 11 and 12. In the new contract, the original cast will have equal paychecks of $1 million per episode, under “most favored nations” terms. Three years ago, Parsons, Galecki, and Cuoco formed a trio to negotiate equal payment per episode. Later on, the trio went into talks of an increased ownership stake as well, allowing Parsons and Galecki to receive producing deals. On the other hand, rumors in the grapevine say that Kaley received monetary compensation instead.
Meanwhile, co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik will also get a pay raise since their roles as Bernadette Wolowitz and Amy Farrah Fowler have become integral characters in the sitcom. In fact, Bialik has so far received four Emmy nominations for her role as Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend.
Just last year at the San Diego Comic-Con, fans had already begun to speculate that Season 10 would be the last for The Big Bang Theory. This was because the cast’s contracts were expiring and nobody has confirmed any kind of renewal. Then, in September, when Kaley Cuoco guested on Jimmy Kimmel Live, she mentioned that after Season 10, a continuation for the series was “a very expensive question… for a lot of people.”
This prompted fans to assume that Season 10 would be the last, especially when news spread that Jim Parsons was producing a prequel called Sheldon. On the other hand, Galecki and Parsons had always rallied behind the continuation of the show, with the latter saying in an interview with Today that he will be “shocked” if the show doesn’t continue.
“We are very confident that everyone involved wants more Big Bang past Year 10. I know Warner Bros will make those deals… We’ll put it on for as long as everyone wants Big Bang on the air. I hope it lasts forever,” was CBS president Glenn Geller’s response to reporters during the Television Critics Association summer press tour months ago.
Presently, an episode of The Big Bang Theory costs $10 million, but this is a small price to pay for a series that has generated more than $1 billion in syndication revenue. The comedy is actually packing 14 million live viewers per original telecast. Moreover, it is the most-watched scripted show on television and has helped launch other CBS TV series such as Kevin Can Wait, The Great Indoors, Mom, and The Odd Couple.
Meanwhile, Johnny Galecki will be producing a new comedy at CBS called Living Biblically. The Big Bang star will be working alongside writer Patrick Walsh of 2 Broke Girls. This new series will be based on the bestselling book by A.J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically. In addition to Walsh, Galecki also has Spencer Medof and Andrew Haas, Vice President of Alcide Bava Prods, on board to co-produce the TV adaptation.
Living Biblically is about a man who decides to live according to the Bible after coming to a crossroad in his life. This meant trying to follow every rule ever printed in the sacred book, including not eating shellfish, not coveting stuff, and “stoning” adulterers with a pebble. As of now, there is no update on who would be cast as the lead and its supporting roles.
On the other hand, with hefty paychecks and new projects, it looks like Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper are off to a good year, and two more after that. What matters really is that two additional seasons of The Big Bang Theory means there’s plenty of time for a Penny pregnancy, a Sheldon-Amy wedding, and a Raj Koothrappali happy ending. And there’s no “bazinga” in that.
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