Teamwork makes the dream work, y'all.
New reports about the Big Bang Theory cast's contract negotiations for a two-season renewal suggest that not all pockets of Hollywood live by the "greed is good" mantra. Though the CBS sitcom's original five cast members — Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg — famously make $1 million an episode apiece, Variety reports that they've each volunteered to take a pay cut in order to give costars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch a raise.
Bialik and Rauch, who play Amy and Bernadette, joined the show in its third season and are reportedly seeking raises that would bring their salaries closer to what their costars make. According to Variety, the actresses each make around $200,000 per episode.
Multiple sources told the publication that Parsons, Galecki, Cuoco, Nayyar, and Helberg are showing their support by offering to each take a $100,000 pay cut for a prospective 11th and 12th season. That would free up $500,000 in funds, pushing Bialik and Rauch to the $450,000-per-episode range, totaling more than $21 million if they agree to a 2-year, 48-episode deal.
There is a question over whether the women will push the studio for more money in an effort to gain parity. Costars Nayyar and Helberg were able to get the studio to match their salaries to those earned by Parsons, Galecki, and Cuoco in the last contract renewal cycle, so there is a precedent.
In a perfect world, the onus to establish salary parity would fall on the studio, and not the actors. Bialik has earned four Emmy nominations for her role as Sheldon Cooper's love interest Amy, while recent storylines have focused on Bernadette's (the character played by Rauch) marriage and family life with Helberg's Howard. Losing either actress would be a major blow.
None of the parties involved offered comments to Variety, but Bialik's latest Instagram suggests that she's got her mind on her money. Guess who's balancing her checkbook?