TV

The Reason Big Bang Theory Cast Took a Pay Cut Was Incredibly Sweet

Image credit: Legion-Media

With Thanksgiving Day practically upon us and the rest of the holiday season nipping at its heels, it seems a perfect time to share a story about goodwill and "doing unto others".

When checking out the latest celeb hookup rumors and bad behavior gossip, it's easy to forget that no matter their follower count or tax bracket, for better or worse, stars are people too.

Everyone's witnessed stars on the rise whose taste of fame left everyone else with a bitter taste in their mouth. Unfortunately, we live in a society that often rewards bad behavior. With the right publicist, an arrest can earn a celeb career opportunities— book deals, endorsements, you name it.

In a time not so long ago (the 90s), in a land of make-believe (Hollywood), a sitcom about a certain group of friends was the hottest thing around. Each season brought more offers of acting roles, including several big-budget movies. With this as leverage, the cast brought production to a grinding halt until their salary demands were satisfactorily met.

Maybe they thought the only ones hurt would be those with the deepest pockets. That's far from the truth. All crew members, whether they occupied the director's chair or manned the makeup chair, suffered. Janitorial staff, easily and unfairly the most underpaid, went from low salary to no salary. The "stars" of the show would agree to salary negotiations, and then refuse to sign the contract if they believed another cast member was earning more or being otherwise favored.

The cast of Big Bang Theory are the direct antithesis and are known for being genuine, down-to-earth folks. Rumors of a backstage tug-of-war for the title of World's Most Entitled Diva? Nope. Not even one.

When BBT premiered, no one knew how popular the show and its cast would be. Debuting in 2007, the show was paying the actors $1M per episode a decade later. Not all the castmates, mind you, just the OGs; Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, David Galecki, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar.

Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, who joined the season 3 cast, were receiving $100,000 per episode. Stories were circulated that the original five cast members had taken a salary cut to level the "paying" field.

In response, Bialik told People, "I think in general, don't believe everything you read."

Although not the $2.4M pay cut reported by some sources, the actors did willingly take a cut in pay. Production costs had risen to $9M per episode, a majority of which was salaries. The show couldn't survive much longer if this continued.

Whether it was the spirit of solidarity and fairness or a way to delay the inevitable final curtain, we'll never know. But in the spirit of giving, considering how close the actors remain, this writer will be giving them the benefit of the doubt.

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