Big Bang Theory and Negotiating TV Star Salaries Redux

Following up on an earlier post, it appears that cast negotiations for all of the lead roles in the hit comedy The Big Bang Theory have been completed.  Simon Helberg, who plays Howard Wolowitz, was reported by Deadline Hollywood to have secured a salary bump from around $40,000 per episode to in the range of $100,000 per episode.  Kunal Nayyar, who plays Rajesh Koothrappali, is also reported by Deadline Hollywood to have closed a deal for a salary bump to around $75,000 per episode (headliners Sheldon, Leonard and Penny are reported to be in the $200,000 per episode range).  At twenty-two episodes per season, that means that Nayyar would be grossing north of $1.5 million.

As discussed in the earlier post, these negotiations (and their reported results) are fascinating from a variety of standpoints, but particularly because of the dynamic at play amongst the various actors.  It appears from reports that the three leads closed their deals either simultaneously or around the same time – and that either the offers extended to them or the demands they made were on a “favoured nations” basis (that is, all three were getting the same terms).  Interestingly, Wolowitz and Koothrappali (sorry, I have trouble using their real names) evidently elected not to take a favoured nations approach, at least vis-a-vis each other – which seems to have worked out particularly well for one of them.

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Bob Tarantino

About Bob Tarantino

Bob Tarantino is Counsel at Dentons Canada LLP and focuses his practice on the interface between the entertainment industries and intellectual property law, with an emphasis on film and television production, financing, licensing, distribution, and IP acquisition and protection. His clients range from artists and independent producers to Canadian distributors and foreign studios and financiers at every stage of the creative process, from development to delivery and exploitation.

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