Fans of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” can sleep a little better tonight.
“Production on season eight of ‘The Big Bang’ Theory will begin Wednesday, August 6, with contract negotiations now having been concluded,” Warners said in a statement.
The deals with Helberg and Nayyar bring an end to the behind-the-scenes contract drama that enveloped the nation’s top-rated sitcom. With key cast members coming up for contract negotiations, the stars held out for megabucks paydays in light of the windfall profits the show has generated in syndication.
On Monday, stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco sealed new three-season deals that will pay them about $1 million per episode, plus increased backend points and other perks. Helberg and Nayyar will see their paydays jump to the mid six-figure range, from around $100,000 per episode in recent years.
Sources said Helberg and Nayyar negotiated jointly through a lawyer who pushed hard for salary parity with the other trio. But during the past 48 hours the studio made a take-it-or-leave-it offer and a deadline of 3 p.m. PT today. The actors’ rep was advised that their characters would be written out of the series if a deal could not be reached.
Sources said it was not just the studio playing hardball. Exec producers Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro were so frustrated by the prolonged negotiations that they were in the process of preparing a script that did not involve Helberg or Nayyar’s characters in order to move forward with the first table read of the season.
The contract strife forced the studio to delay the start of production, which had been set for July 30. “Big Bang” is expected to complete its 24-episode order for its eighth season, despite the lost week.