Millions for Kaley Cuoco and Company.
For most of the actors in the series, such salaries are only a dream: One million dollars (about 750,000 euros) will be paid to three stars of the TV series “Big Bang Theory” per episode in the future, at least according to the American industry editorial office ” Deadline”. 72 episodes in the next three seasons have been agreed with Jim Parsons (Sheldon), Johnny Galecki (Leonard) and Kaley Cuoco (Penny), plus shares in the production and other paid TV appearances. For days the salary dispute had held up the shooting of the series – now the three have approximately tripled their salaries and it can start with the eighth season.
With the salary dispute, the three have achieved a salary that hardly anyone else gets. Only eleven actors have reached the million threshold before them – six of them were the main actors in the series “Friends”.
This must not be a coincidence: “Friends” is the “big bang theory” of the late nineties: a sitcom with short episodes about the lives of young adults. Friends” was more about urban life in New York, while “Big Bang Theory” is about the lives of two physics nerds in California and their beautiful neighbour. “Big Bang Theory” is almost as popular today as “Friends” was back then: in the UK, the number of physics baccalaureates has risen by 20 percent in the two years since the series was launched. The series could earn the media company Time Warner more than a billion dollars over the years.
The sitcoms with their short, funny episodes are apparently especially suited for high salaries: With longer series, even big stars can’t drive their salaries that high. Claire Danes, the CIA agent from “Homeland”, is estimated by the American magazine ” TV Guide” at only 250,000 dollars per episode. This series is just entering its fourth season. But even Ellen Pompeo, as the “Meredith Grey” title character of “Grey’s Anatomy”, is only estimated at around 350,000 dollars per episode – and the episodes in these series are about twice as long. The best earning actor in the series these days was Ashton Kutcher, who earned 750,000 dollars per episode of “Two and a Half Men” – also a sitcom.
The sitcom stars are moving closer to movie actors with their income. Just recently, the American magazine “Forbes” declared Sandra Bullock the best-earning Hollywood actress of the past year. With the film ” Gravity” and other projects she is said to have earned a total of 51 million dollars. She earns more in a single year, but her salary fluctuates more.
If the salaries of series and film actors continued to converge, it would be no wonder. Since more and more people watch the seasons of TV series in a row and the first series like “House of Cards” are no longer produced for TV, but directly for online streaming, the character of the series has changed: They become more important for their fans, the stories become more complex and interesting for Hollywood actors. This trend, however, does not necessarily begin with the well-paid sitcoms.