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'Big Bang Theory' actors land contracts worth $1M per episode

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After contract negotiations temporarily halted production of CBS’ hit show The Big Bang Theory, three of the program’s main cast members have worked out deals for the next three seasons and will be taking home some big chunks of change.

According to Deadline on Monday, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting have agreed to three-year contracts worth $1 million per episode, a hefty step up from the $325,000 per episode they had previously been making. It’s also a deal reminiscent of one NBC made in 2002 when the network agreed to $1 million-per-episode contracts for all six main Friends cast members for the final two seasons.

72 episodes of Big Bang Theory are scheduled to be shot for seasons 8-10 but when other payments such as signing bonuses and production deals are factored in, the trio could make upwards of $90 million in the next three years. Representatives for the actors worked with Warner Bros. TV and were able to secure a deal for Parsons first, followed soon after by Galecki and Cuoco-Sweeting.

The start of production on season eight was scheduled to begin last week with a table read but was pushed back to this Wednesday, assuming the final contract deals are hammered out by then. Co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik renegotiated their contracts last fall and are good to go for season 8, leaving Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar as the two stars working out contracts. They are said to be negotiating together and could possibly close their deals today or tomorrow.

It’s not clear how the production delay will affect the 24 episodes planned for this season, but CBS President Nina Tassler previously said she was “very confident” things will get worked out.

“These deals manage to get done miraculously somehow year after year," Tassler said during the TCA summer press tour last month.

The show was renewed for two more seasons back in March, bringing the projected total number of season to 10, but the new contracts are said to include terms that could potentially make an 11th season possible. Season eight is scheduled to premiere with an hour-long episode Sept. 22 on CBS.