The popular American comedy show, The Big Bang Theory, is set for a two-season renewal, and five of the seven lead actors- the highest paid comedy stars on US television- have reportedly decided to take a pay cut so the other two can earn a bit more, Variety reports.
Actors Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, who play Amy and Bernadette on the show, are demanding a higher pay as the two stars currently make just 20% of what the other five leads on the show earn.
Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg, who earn $1million per episode, have each decided to take a pay cut of $100,000 per episode. The five actors have been on the show since its first season, and while Mayim and Melissa joined the cast in season three, they have been an integral part of the show ever since.
According to Variety, the five original cast members agreed to take a $100,000 cut from their pay cheques for the coming two seasons, during the contract renewal talks last year.
"If Bialik and Rauch split the $500,000 from their co-stars, both would rise to nearly $450,000 an episode, or more than $21 million for the two-year, 48-episode deal. The question now is whether the two will hold firm for parity, or at least closer to parity, with the other stars. Negotiations on Bialik and Rauchâ€™s deals are just beginning in earnest this week," the report states.
Incidentally, during the last contract renewal of the show, it was Simon and Kunal who got raises that put their salaries at par with that of Jim, Johnny and Kaley.
The hugely popular and equally successful sitcom made its debut in 2007 and there has been no looking back since.
(All images source: www.cbs.com)