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'Big Bang Theory' stars push for major raises

By
KATE STANTON, UPI.com
Cast of The Big Bang Theory (L-R) Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, Simon Helberg, Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki appear backstage after winning the Favorite TV Comedy award, during the 39th annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on January 9, 2013. UPI/Jim Ruymen
Cast of "The Big Bang Theory (L-R) Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, Simon Helberg, Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki appear backstage after winning the Favorite TV Comedy award, during the 39th annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on January 9, 2013. UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo

Taking a cue from the "Friends'" cast successful salary negotiations in the 1990s, "Big Bang Theory" co-stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parson and Kaley Cuoco have banded together to demand big-time salary increases from their bosses at Warner Bros. Television.

All three already earn $325,000 per episode, but Deadline reported Wednesday that industry insiders expect them to get more than $500,000 per episode when contract negotiations end.

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The Hollywood Reporter says their expectations are even higher, reporting that the three leads could be asking for up to $1 million.

Co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch made the first move, successfully pushing for significant pay raises of $60,000 each per episode, up from their current $20,000-30,000 per-episode paychecks. Their salaries will eventually increase to $100,000 per episode.

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Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, who play Howard and Raj respectively, are also likely to negotiate as a unit.

While the large pay raise requests might seem like a lot of money, the success of the Chuck Lorre sitcom has proved a powerful bargaining chip for the series' stars. "Big Bang Theory's" sixth season has been a major ratings success -- -- both on CBS and in syndication on TBS -- and Warner Bros. stands to rake in plenty of cash from advertising revenue.

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CarterMatt.com explains:

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This is the highest-rated comedy on television by a good distance, and it is also a monster in syndication with Warner Bros. making a ton of money from its various airings across broadcast and cable TV (where it airs on TBS). You may be shocked at the money, but everything is relative, and if we are looking at a gigantic pie here, then the actors deserve a sizable piece of it.

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