Last month, E! News reported the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” was asking for “Friends” money ahead of their upcoming eighth season, and this week, they got what they wanted.
Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco scored “paychecks of $1 million per episode for the 72 episodes the show is slated to produce in seasons 8-10.”
In total, Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco are each expected to make at least $90 million and, with syndication earnings, that number could reach $100 million.
Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar are still negotiating a raise from their $100,000 salaries. Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch locked their own deals last fall.
Prior to the deal, the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, spoke to E! News and explained that, despite the production delay caused by the salary request, he was confident in the negotiation process.
“Warner Brothers has done this before,” Lorre said. “Everybody should be very successful and happy and rich. They earned it. It’s a great cast. … It’s their time.”
“The Big Bang Theory” is just one of the many casts who’ve come together in the name of a salary increase. We put together a list of five of the most famous deals we’ve seen in recent years.
In 1996, the cast of “Friends,” including Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and Matthew LeBlanc, demanded $100,000 per episode, plus a percentage of syndication profits. Years later, prior to the show’s final two seasons, Aniston, Cox and Kudrow became the highest paid TV actresses of all time after they, along with the men of the show, received salaries of $1 million per episode. Before their negotiations, the cast’s individual salaries weren’t equal and started at just $20,000.
2. “Modern Family”
Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara made a reported $65,000 per episode, and Ed O’Neill was paid $105,000, for season three, but after entering into negotiations with the network in 2012, their salaries increased to $170,000-$175,000 per episode, including bonuses.
As part of their deals, the “Modern Family” cast added an extra season to their deal.
“It’s no surprise, but I’m of course thrilled and I cannot wait to get on stage Monday morning and start making the show again,” “Modern Family” co-creator, Steve Levitan, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Also in 2012, the child actors of “Modern Family” successfully teamed up to increase their salaries. Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould and Ariel Winter met with 20th Century Fox, requesting their paychecks see a boost, but the exact amount of the raise was never disclosed.
3. “Duck Dynasty”
Before season four of “Duck Dynasty,” the Robertson family engaged in a negotiation standoff with A&E, delaying production.
Months later, they received a raise of $200,000 per episode, split up between the nine adults and 11 children on the show. The salary increase was four times more than they previously earned. As part of their new deal, the Robertson’s added at least two additional seasons of the show.
4. “Party Down South”
In March 2014, CMT’s “Party Down South” cast demanded a raise after the show’s success. During season one, they each made just $500 per episode, but then each cast member requested $7,500 per episode.
Weeks later, the network gave into the cast’s request and offered them a raise. However, according to TMZ, the “Party Down South” stars received $2,000 per episode for season two, not the $7,500 they were hoping for.
5. “Jersey Shore”
The “Jersey Shore” cast came together in an effort for more money, and before signing on for season two, requested $10,000 per episode – a major increase from the reported “hundreds” they received for the series’ debut episode. Before heading to Italy for season four, the cast teamed up again and eventually landed a six-figure deal.
While it may be crazy to think that a bunch of fist-pumping guidos and guidettes were getting paid six figures to party, or to think that an actor or actress could make nearly $100 million for one season of a television show, Lorre summed it up nicely when speaking of “The Big Bang Theory” saying, “They earned it!”
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