‘The Big Bang Theory’ Delays Start of Production Amid Actor Contract Talks

Big Bang Theory

Warner Bros. TV is delaying the start of production on CBS’ blockbuster sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” because of its contract wrangling with five key stars, including Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco.

The “Big Bang” actors were set to return from their summer hiatus today for a table reading of the first episode for the show’s eighth season. But with no new deals in place with the show’s core trio, plus Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, Warners had little choice but to table the table reading rather than add to the tension between the studio and the thesps.

“Due to ongoing contract negotiations, production on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ — which was originally scheduled to begin today — has been postponed,” WBTV said in a statement.

Talks between Warners and the actors’ reps has been on and off since January. The offers on the table for Parsons, Cuoco and Galecki has topped the $1 million per episode mark, plus a larger sliver of the show’s backend, for a three-season commitment. “Big Bang,” from the prolific Chuck Lorre Prods., is projected to gross more than $1 billion in syndication sales for the studio, thanks to mammoth first-cycle deals with TV stations and cabler TBS and strong advertising sales.

But the negotiations have been complicated by the fact that Parsons’ team is said to be angling for a bigger payday than Cuoco and Galecki, while those two are insisting on parity with Parsons. Helberg and Nayyar are said to be unsatisfied with offers that are lower than those for the other three.

Parsons is a three-time Emmy winner for his “Big Bang” role, and he’s a two-time nominee this year for “Big Bang” and for his work in the HBO telepic “The Normal Heart.”

The back-and-forth has made for long days on the Warner Bros. lot this week. The hope is that the studio can come to terms with the thesps before too long or risk having to trim its 24-episode order for the coming season.

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  1. Veg says:

    Why don’t you whatch them in the internet? You may save on cable TV this way)))

  2. Frank says:

    Doesn’t it bother anyone that we are subjected to 5-7 commercials every 10 minutes per episode AND that we paying ever increasing fees for TV cabling services? How about they all take a “cut” in pay and reduce those commercials and cable fees. Greed. Plain & simple. By the way, I love this show.

  3. Bob Philippi says:

    give them all raises since you will recover monies in syndication/dvd sales and other merchandise gimmicks, they all have earned raises since the show is so popular

  4. Kinoeye says:

    What about the crew members who bust their butts to make the show every week? These few actors already make hundreds times more than the crew (and work fewer hours, besides being pampered left and right with all kinds of perks). Glad to see that they’re trying to cash in some more while the crew members that make them look good have to sit around unemployed until this gets resolved. Hollywood hypocrisy: how much money is enough for these same people who complain about corporate greed? If they were fighting to make sure their crew also received pay raises and benefits, then I could respect them. But of course they’re only looking out for themselves, which goes against the self-professed “values” of the entertainment industry. You know, that whole “greed is bad” thing?

  5. Eileen Callahan says:

    I am so sick of this bid for more $$$ being compared to ‘Friends’…that show was so YESTERDAY!

    • Dunstan says:

      Eileen,

      I get it. You didn’t like “Friends.” I’m using it as an example to illustrate that when contract negotiations take place on a mega-hit like TBBT, it’s the actors who have the power, not the studio.

  6. MarinDem says:

    Without Jim Parsons aka Sheldon there is no Big Bang Theory. End of story. He has earned the right to earn the most money. The other players are all just wonderful but indispensable and should be grateful to ride on Parson’s coattails all the way to the bank, just a littler bank :-)

    • Eileen Callahan says:

      You’ve got that right.

      • Troy says:

        Roy you’re missing the point. What MarinDem is trying to say is that the rest of the cast can be replaced, but Sheldon cannot. He IS TBBT.

        You can replace all the others for some better looking actors and most people won’t mind, because they will get better looking actors in return. Imagine Penny being actually hot instead of of the average looking Penny we have now. Not many would say no for Scarlett Johansson to pick up that role for instance.

        Replace Sheldon with someone better looking and it just doesn’t work because nobody will do Sheldon like Jim Parsons does. He made the character his own.

      • Roy says:

        I love TBBT and watch it in first run and reruns. Sheldon is extremely funny but without the rest of the cast he would become just a total a**hole with a great IQ.

  7. Dave Andrews says:

    Sigh. I guess 24 million base pay plus options just isn’t enough. Life is tough!

  8. BBT Fan Since 2007 says:

    Considering what Charlie Sheen was being paid per episode at the height of his TWO AND HALF MEN tenure (reportedly well over $1 million per first-run episode), the vastly more accomplished (and lucrative) Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco should stick to their guns.

  9. ravengirl57 says:

    Cancel the show. It’s been on long enough and the reruns are on every stinking minute. I’m sure these “stars” can survive on the residuals.

  10. Dunstan says:

    This reminds me of a somewhat similar situation with the ensemble cast of “Friends.” I know TBBT cast is very well paid but this is when they have the leverage and I hope their reps take it to the limit. David Schwimmer of “Friends” did something smart back then. He got the cast together and said they should be united in what they each want, resulting a million per person per episode. I have a feeling something very similar will happen here.

  11. haroldamaio says:

    Hoe greedy can producers get.

  12. danny says:

    so grateful for the work to gimeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  13. Start a the top and fire everybody at CBS and Warner Brothers says:

    CBS just can’t seem to get a lot of things “right” these days……….

    • valerie says:

      My friend and I look forward to seeing ” Big Bang” when the new season starts ,we watch reruns too.
      although I think they should all be together to work for that raise ,they all deserve it ,maybe not that much but something.

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