With production postponed on CBS’ hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory” as its stars renegotiate their fees, observers of Hollywood business deals are settling in for a white-knuckle ride. Everyone is buzzing about whether a deal will be reached, when it will be reached, how big a slice of the pie the cast is asking for, and whether it will affect the future of the series.
TheWrap is here to tell the hand-wringers of the world; unclench, everyone. Everything’s going to be OK.
Yes, production on the series — which was due to begin Wednesday — has been delayed for the time being. But the show isn’t slated to premiere its new season until Sept. 22, and of course a deal will be reached. As CBS’ highest rated series, “The Big Bang Theory” is a cash cow for the network, reportedly topping the 30-second ad rate over everything except NFL programming last year, fetching $326,260 a spot.
CBS’ commitment to the show is so strong that it renewed the series for three seasons last year. No doubt they want to keep the same cast members aboard for those seasons.
Besides, we’ve seen all this before: Cast, studio and network sit down at the table to hash out terms. Snags are hit. The clock ticks. The world collectively holds its breath. And in the end, a deal is made, no matter how bare-knuckled the negotiations. Because in the end, if there’s no show, nobody’s getting paid.
Don’t believe us? Here are five previous TV negotiations that had America sitting on the edge of its couch before everything turned out the same as it ever was.
The fate of NBC’s mega-hit seemed to hang in the balance as protracted negotiations made headlines nationwide. With a mere two days left before the network announced its fall schedule, a deal was struck, with the show’s stars — save for Jerry Seinfeld, who’d already negotiated his own $1 million-per-episode fee — reportedly receiving pay bumps from $150,000 to $600,000 per episode. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
NBC found itself in the middle of another high-stakes round of negotiations in 2002, with the popular sitcom “Friends.” David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow had already expressed having interest in departing the series. To paraphrase Chandler Bing, could it get any more tense? Maybe, maybe not. But NBC wasn’t about to give up the flagship show of its popular Thursday night lineup. And in the end, the six main cast members walked away with $1 million per episode.
The hit ABC comedy is no stranger to tense negotiations. A 2012 contract dispute led to the abrupt cancellation of a table read, and a lawsuit filed by the cast members against 20th Century Fox Television. Guess what? The show’s still on!
As Fox’s venerated cartoon comedy approached its 25th year on the air, things certainly got animated between the show and the voice cast as negotiations threatened to silence the voices behind Homer, Apu, Chief Wiggum and the rest of Springfield’s population. But three years later, the show is still going strong — even if the voice cast reportedly had to take a pay cut. D’oh!
“The Big Bang Theory”
Yes, even the series at the center of the current controversy has been to this dance before. In 2010, series stars Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki reportedly received a pay bump from $60,000 to $200,000 after contract negotiations. Can you blame them for going after an even bigger bang this time around?